Being young, blond, hunky and the leading star of a major new fantasy film doesn’t exactly endear one to a jaded reporter. Nevertheless the fresh faced Edward Speleers comes with a surprising humility and ability to laugh at himself. Unlike many young actors his age trying to appear more than they are, Speleers is still very much his age and very British with his tastes. Speaking in “London”, he talks about his turn in a major new franchise.
Question: How easily did you relate to the story given you are the closest age to the author?
Speleers: That is why I loved the book so making this movie so much because I was at that age and on the process of going from a young boy to a young man. I’m sure I was a pain at times because I was going through that transition at the same time.
Question: What was it like when you saw yourself riding on the back of the dragons for the first time?
Speleers: The thing is when I imagined the dragons, I imagined a combination of my mother and my best friend. So I was kind of glad when I saw them and obviously I didn’t see my mother standing there. Although they do have similar qualities! It is amazing to see what the guys have done. For so long I had to put up with tennis balls. It was hard work but to see it come together and to see all the emotions of it. This dragon is a masterpiece. It is what sets Eragon aside from any other fantasy movie because the dragon is so emotive.
Question: Have you met the author?
Speleers: I met Christopher two or three weeks ago in New York. He’s 22 now and we do have a lot in common. We both like the same kind of books. He has been so successful and he had lots of things to say and share with me.
Question: How have you reacted to things that have been said about you by the very distinguished cast John Malcovich has compared your impact on the female audience to that of Leonardo DiCaprio?
Speleers: The impact is probably not for the same reasons as others. He might be talking in terms of appearance. The impact I’m want to have on young girls and not just young girls is that I can perform my craft and I can push myself for my craft.
Question: What was it like working on a major Hollywood film?
Speleers: I was learning the language of film all the time. I had a great acting coach who was helping me through all the steps. I was not familiar with anything at all, so it was a bizarre experience. I turned up on the set and it was a bit of a shock. There were about 200 people running around with equipment – make up and hair people, technical people – it seemed like there were people everywhere, it was overwhelming. I thought: ‘this is crazy’.
Question: Being your first role, did you have a mentor on set and what was the best advice they gave you?
Speleers: I think I was quite lucky because the cast were a big bunch of mentors for me and each day I was working with people who had such great track records. I don’t want to blow his trumpet too much! But Jeremy was fantastic and he was there for me the whole way through. I don’t know whether it was because he was missing his sons and I was missing my dad but we kind of had that connection like a father-son relationship. So I don’t know whether it was method acting or it was genuine, I think it was genuine. But he was there for me the whole way through and the whole cast were in general. It was just a real special bond because we were working so closely together..
Question: How do you view the character of Eragon?
Speleers: He is a young man who has to make a journey. At the start he has innocence, he is a naive young guy and like every teenager, he is not quite a man and not quite a boy either.
Question: But he does not want to be a boy or a man.
Speleers: I think the reason why the story and book are so successful is that Christopher Paolini was probably going through all those emotions and feelings at the same time, when he wrote the book, because he was in his teens at the time. He might not have had those exact pressures – he wasn’t trying to save his country, but essentially it was the same thing.