Posted on Feb 20, 2014 by Stef under Game of Thrones, Interviews, Pompeii

I was hugely impressed with your fighting skills in this. You had so many different styles of fighting and so many different kinds of encounters and you were just on top of it all of the time. So how did you learn how to fight and were these different fighting skills or weapons than you had before?

I love it. I wouldn’t have done this movie if I did not like sword fighting but I know I am good at it. I think I am fine to say that. I really enjoy it. And it is a wonderful process learning to fight because I’d never done anything quite like this and so I had to go to gladiator school for training. It went on for four weeks and they gave me two weapons. I had to start learning the other hand on how to fight. What happens is you slowly learn these fights in stages, stage by stage and you build up and then they get so fast and so fluid that they just look like a dance where you are clocking steps and that is when you have to put the intention back in. You say to yourself, “I go for the strike here and now I see the opening there, and now I’m going to go for a thrust there.” It is a dance but it is also a dialogue. I find you can lose yourself in an acting sense in a fight far more easily than you can in a dialogue scene and I love that about it. We try as actor all the time, we strive just to completely sort of lose ourselves in the moment and we never quite get there but in a fight you can do it in seconds that is what I love about it.

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When you were growing up what were the movies where you said, “This is what I want to do?”

“Romeo and Juliet,” that was a big marker for me and seeing DiCaprio do that was fantastic. There is a brilliant movie called “25th Hour.” It was written by David Benioff who wrote “Thrones.” When I get drunk I always start quoting that speech. It was plays more than anything really and I saw two plays that were big markers in my career. When I was about 14 I saw “Waiting for Godot” and I absolutely adored it. I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and it made me pick up drama. The other one was “Hamlet” that I saw when I was 17 which made me want to go to drama school and that was Ben Wishaw playing Hamlet and he was just mesmerizing. He is the only person that has ever made me tongue-tied when I met him. I didn’t know what to say and went very red around the face and sort of had to walk off. He is a hero of mine.

Read the full interview on beliefnet.


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