Directed by Farren Blackburn, Hammer of the Gods is a visceral tale set in 871 AD that sees young Viking warrior Steinar sent by his dying father to find his long-estranged brother, who was banished from the kingdom many years before. As the quest continues and Steinar’s journey becomes more and more perilous, he gradually starts becoming the man his father wants him to be – a ruthless, unforgiving heir to the throne.
Flicks And The City recently got a chance to chat with the film’s star Charlie Bewley ahead of its 24 August debut at FrightFest and its UK cinema release on 30 August. Here he talks about how much fun he had filming, how working on TV’s The Vampire Diaries compared to making movies, and his upcoming projects.
What’s it been like filming your first lead role?
It’s been a perfect lead role for me really. It’s a very low budget movie. You’ve just got to have that knack of making really good movies but with a small budget using cast, directors and crew who are up-and-coming and really want a solid first foray into their roles. I was really lucky to work with Farren Blackburn, who is such a prospect in directing, and I was with a great cast as well as with such a good group of people, some of whom were theatre-trained British actors. I was completely schooled by a few of them but I think I held my own [laughs].
There’s loads of stuff to get my teeth into both in terms of physicality and in an acting sense as well; there was so much meat on the bone here it was a bit of a no-brainer for me. I’ve always wanted to do period stuff. I’m also very physical – I used to play a lot of rugby and I love a good fight. Vikings have that mythology that surrounds them. The great thing about Steinar is that he’s part of that, but he also has these different ideals in life which tend to get him into trouble. He is the voice of reason amongst this band of savages.
You’ve done some TV work before with The Vampire Diaries. How would you compare that experience to working on a film?
The Vampire Diaries has been going for 4 or 5 years now. The show will always go on no matter what. You realise that yes, you are a player in this, but things aren’t contingent upon you. Movie making is so fast. Nobody is quite sure whether or not it’s going to work half the time, and there are always problems on a daily basis which tend to be ironed out in the TV world.
Even on a scale like this, you definitely get that sense, that warrior spirit. It’s very easy to get into that frame of mind. To be thrown into a world that once existed, and to be part of it, is such a wonderful privilege as an actor. I think probably Gladiator is number 1. They really nailed it. When I first started acting, I looked at Russell Crowe as a big inspiration and certainly Gladiator was part of that. His performance is so understated.
The next film we can see you in is The Rules of the Game. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
We actually just shot it in Argentina. Basically it’s sort of a cross between Hangover and Deliverance. Four guys are out in South America on a stag-do and get into all sorts of trouble, play jokes with each other. To downplay it a little bit, it gets wayward. It’s a good little British cast, really fun shoot. It shouldn’t be too long until that gets picked up because it really does tick a lot of boxes in terms of popular demographics. It’s a drama but it has a lot of thriller and some comedic touches to it, so it doesn’t take itself too seriously.