They talk about everything from starving to the theme park from hell, and Chris Hemsworth is pretty damn funny.
Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth have teamed up for another film In the Heart of the Sea since their last success Rush, and we got a chance to talk with them, as well as co stars Tom Holland and Ben Walker and novel author Nathaniel Philbrick and screenwriter Charles Leavitt. The film put the cast through a very unique experience simulating being shipwrecked. Check out Chris Hemsworth and his co stars joke about eating as little as 500 calories a day, Ron Howard joke about funny takes, and the writers tell the story behind the stories they wrote. It’s a pretty cool conversation with a pretty cool and star studded cast. Check it out:
Talk about your physical transformations for the scenes.
Chris Hemsworth: The physical transformation, from the very beginning we all had somewhat of a goal of where we wanted to get to, was to look as skinny as possible and beat to hell as we could possibly make ourselves look. So we started on one diet which was a normal few thousand calories then each week we would reduce that intake to the last couple of weeks which was down to 5 or 6 hundred calories. Pretty ugly experience. I had some interesting mood swings and inconsistent patterns of emotion, my wife can vouch for it, but what was kind of great about it was we were all doing it together so it certainly helped form this great bond and camaraderie between us, one that we may not have found in such depth if we weren’t doing that, having that experience together. The stuff in the ocean I kind of loved. It was difficult in the whale boats, logistically getting on and off them was so difficult and tricky and that was when we were at our hungriest so we were just sitting in the hot beating sun soaking wet or dry and we’ve got the beard glued on and falling on and it was kind of uncomfortable, but, I’ve got to say that being out in the ocean during that period of the shoot, I did kind of love as well, as challenging as it was. The hardest part was in the tank in London because it was freezing. It was a lot of night shoots and we were basically, felt like a theme park from hell, being shot with water cannons and being flipped out of boats and there was a loud speaker and we couldn’t hear. So that was just sort of chaos. We thought the stuff on the ocean was going to be trickier but the stuff in the studio ended up being more challenging because you’re dealing with all the technical and machines and things and so on, whereas the ocean we just had to adapt to whatever the environment was doing and just get on with it.
What was the hardest day out on the water?
Ron Howard: I felt like out on the ocean it was actually working for the actors and anytime I would apologize to anybody before or at the end of the day and say yea this is tough, they just would say it’s just a fraction of what the real guys that we are playing went through and we get that. Secondly, it was good for the performances, I mean this is what we’re trying to play. But I did see a kind of the life draining out of these guys. I remember looking over one time and saying Ben, Ben, we’re going to have to shoot the thing over here and I looked over and Ben was just an unbelievably hard worker. He was like this scary and lost. By the end when we were doing the stuff on the deserted island the little pathetic snacks that would come out that everyone would relish so much was just like a cucumber with olive oil and like an almond on it. It was interesting because everyone would just kind of take it and hunch down and kind of eat it quietly, savor it, there was something. I felt both terrible and fabulous.
Ben and Tom, comment on the diet? Any cheaters?
Ben Walker: We kind of tried to make it as fun as possible by trying to keep an eye on who’s cheating and who wasn’t. In much the same way like you’re saying, it did kind of make our jobs easier. We were miserable, cranky, emotional, and eventually really kind of jaundice, translucent, and faint. If you could remember your lines, you were pretty good!
Tom Holland: The diet wasn’t really that bad for me because obviously these guys have to eat way more than I do and we were on the same diet throughout the whole thing. So I didn’t really have it that bad. Even though it was difficult we were doing it for all the right reasons. Cause everything that these people went through was real and they really went through this. Whatever was difficult on set, it felt right. So I guess the diet kind of really makes the movie what it is at some point.
What was that stuff you had to eat? Was it Hardtack?
Chris: Can I say something about that? The hardtack was amazing, it tasted like gingerbread. It was part of the props set, and you’re not meant to eat the props, and it comes out and they’ve got this little box of it and in the scene we’ve got to break off a little piece of it and I’m like, oh my God, this is delicious. Towards the ending of the scene I was like this is awesome and the props guys were like we don’t have much, stop eating it and I’m like, it’s fine, it’s fine. And later once I’ve eaten and I tasted it, I’m like, this tasted horrible. In that state of being starving it was delicious.
Nathaniel, what’s it like seeing your book turned into a big screenplay? What are you feeling right now?
Nathaniel Philbrick: It’s kind of surreal, for me it begins when my wife and I flew out of Nantucket in the 21st Century, a day later we were in Nantucket and 1819 outside of London. It’s out of body. It’s amazing. To have Ron involved in this, I was confident from the start there was going to be some real integrity applied to it. The fact that you guys went to sailing school, that’s just the kind of thing that really eased my concerns that there’d be a real attempt to try to connect with the material as it happened. Then applied their own artistic vision to it. So it’s been an immensely satisfying experience.
Charles, how long did it take you to write this?
Chalres Leavitt: It took me a while. First of all, even after reading the book research alone took months and then the actual writing of the script took the least amount of time because you have to do so much research first. It was pretty much 99% thinking and research and it took me about four to six minutes to actually write the script.
The film hits theaters this Friday, Dec. 11.