Eragon Interview |
December 8, 2006
actors with an artistic bent, Jeremy Irons occasionally needs to make
money-spinners. But for every Die Hard:
With a Vengeance and Kingdom of
Heaven, there are flops such as
The Time Machine and
Dungeons & Dragons.
latest big-budget fantasy adventure, Eragon,
looks a cut above those latter films.
He arrives late
to our meeting at the Venice Film Festival, having been at a party for David
Lynch's Inland Empire, in which
he plays film director Kingsley. Sitting behind dark glasses to maybe conceal a
hangover, he takes out a nifty role-your-own machine and starts to make a
actor with the rich, clipped voice is keenly aware of the minuteness of his part
in Lynch's long and incomprehensible film, but he knows that
Eragon is a different story.
an audience that I haven't reached in a while. I'm playing a fairly conventional
character," he says, "what I call the Alec Guinness character in
Star Wars, the man who's been
there, done that, seen it all and who's teaching the young man. Brom [Irons's
character] appealed to me because he has a wryness and fierceness but at the
same time he's a good man."
A kind of cross
between The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter
and the CGI creatures in Jurassic Park,
Eragon is based on the first book in a trilogy by 23-year-old
Christopher Paolini, whose imagination was sparked by growing up amid the
spectacular vistas of Paradise Valley beneath Montana's Beartooth Mountains.
set in a world where flying dragons once brought peace and harmony by bestowing
their riders with special powers, bristles with special effects from George
Lucas's company Industrial Light & Magic and New Zealand's Weta Digital, which
worked on The Lord of The Rings.
The serenity of
this fantasy world has been disrupted by the mean and nasty King Galbatorix. Our
young hero, dragon rider Eragon (played by 18-year-old British newcomer Ed
Speleers), aided by his trusty dragon Saphira (voiced by Rachel Weisz), must try
to restore the old order.
Brom, one of
the old dragon riders, has been a broken man since the death of his dragon and
is resigned to the rule of the evil king (John Malkovich). Brom has become a
storyteller, which allows Irons's well-honed tones to come to the fore, and he
finds new hope in helping our young hero.
nurturing me out of the kindness of his heart," Speleers says, "but at the same
time so much of Brom was in Jeremy."
admits to being perennially young at heart. "I maybe look a bit younger than I
am, although I am a lot younger than I look in my head."
He seems to get
along with everyone - including Casanova
co-star Heath Ledger, whom he calls "a sharp young man".
But he has had
practice with his sons - Sam, 28, and Max, 21 - who have both appeared with him
in movies - Sam in Danny the Champion of
the World and Max in Being
Irons rose to
fame in cinema classics such as The French
Lieutenant's Woman and The
Mission. He won an Oscar for his portrayal of Claus von Bulow in
Reversal of Fortune, although many
believed it was awarded because he missed out the previous year for his eerie
incarnation of twin gynaecologists in David Cronenberg's masterful
that other cinema iconoclast, Lynch, was something similar. Irons equates making
Inland Empire to "being in a
kind of Hieronymus Bosch painting".
and Lynch alike? "Maybe their hair is quite similar," he says, blowing out some
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