I recently got the chance to talk to Sam Hoare about his role in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. Here, Sam talks about what it was like working with Chris Evans and Joe Johnston on-set, and about how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Sam. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ is currently in UK cinemas as of 29th July 2011.
For anyone not fully versed in the Marvel comics, how would you sum up the plotline?
Well, essentially I guess it is a story about hope and bravery and never giving up. The story concerns Steve Rogers, a man who is used to being pushed around and has learned to abhor bullies. As such he is desperate to join up to the Armed Forces to fight the Nazis in Europe but keeps being denied on account of his size and poor health. Finally Dr. Erskine who is working on a ‘super soldier’ serum sees something in him and Rogers becomes selected as the first (or maybe second!) recipient of the serum. His size and facilities vastly increased, Rogers becomes known as Captain America and is soon on his way to fight the evil forces brewing in Europe.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film….
I play a soldier who is with Rogers as he seeks to enlist in the Armed Forces. Unlike Rogers my character has a few concerns about the dangers ahead.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I got a meeting through my agent, went on tape in London and once they had seen the tapes over in LA I got a call saying that had picked me to play this part. That was a good day!
Had you been a fan of the ‘Captain America’ comic book series before you signed on / were you aware of the franchise? Did you do any background research once you got the part?
I’ve always been a fan of comic books in general and had read a few ‘Captain America’ issues in my time. I also loved ‘The Avengers’ and am looking forward to that film very much. My role in this film was pretty small and occurs really before the super hero element has been introduced and as such that kind of research wasn’t quite so important. It was more about the atmosphere of the time of what was happening over in Europe and the sense of excitement – and also the danger and concern that was represented by the war.
The film stars Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving – and Joe Johnston is onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
I only met Chris Evans and Joe Johnston on-set but both of them were very nice and extremely professional. When you’re working on a project of this size and you are directing or playing the lead there is obviously a huge amount of pressure on you so its important to stay focused all of the time. Having said that they both seemed to be having a lot of fun too!
Captain America has a shield that he can use to protect himself from attack and also throw – can you think of any other practical uses for it?
I’m a big fan of breakfast in bed but don’t seem to have any trays at the moment so….
Let’s talk a bit about you Sam. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
It’s difficult to say. I think I’ve always loved stories and storytelling. When I was young I loved the theatre and films and TV and anything that could transport me away to another world. I’m sure that a lot of actors do it for some combination of escapism and attention seeking, maybe I’m about 50/50.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?
Make sure you really, really want to do it and you’re doing it for the right reasons. Thicken your skin, work hard and try to make sure that you have something else that brings you joy for those periods when the phone isn’t ringing.
We should point out that you’re also a producer and director as well – do you find it hard to juggle all these things or is it just another regular day at the office?
I guess as with everyone’s life there are periods of inactivity when you wonder what you should be doing next and there are times when everything is firing and you think you may be spinning too many plates. The great thing about directing, writing and acting is that I think they can all inform each other; there’s definitely things that I’ve learnt behind the camera that help in front of it and vice versa. But I’m also very aware of not over-combining them, for example I would never dream to give a director any of my thoughts on how he might set up when I’m acting, nor when directing would I want to give my actor any exact line readings. Best to wear just one hat at a time.
If you could recommend a film or TV series to someone, what would you choose and why?
That’s an impossible question! Far too many possibilities to consider. I will go for ‘The Hour’, a new TV show just started over here that I am enjoying at the moment.
You had a number of different roles on a range of different projects – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and who has given the best advice to you?
Again, that’s a tough question, I’ve loved working with most people. I’m also terrible at remembering what wise things people have said to me over the years too; I should probably work on that. I recently did a play written by Sir Ron Harwood and when I mentioned to him that I was a writer he said that the only way to become a writer was practice and to write something every day, no matter how small. May sound obvious but very good advice nonetheless I think.
What does a Sam Hoare day usually consist of?
Wake up. Agonise over whether I should leave my bed or not. Check sports news while still in bed. Shower. Breakfast. E-mails. Writing/acting/directing/editing or whatever is on the cards that day. Lunch. Procrastination. More work. Hopefully see a friend or a film/play or both. Usually in bed by midnight, apart from the weekends of course, which seem to consist mostly of wedding, stags or music festivals at the moment.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
Last weekend our news was dominated by two very tragic stories, the death of Amy Winehouse and the awful attacks in Norway. A very sad time for all involved.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
Excitingly, I start filming next week on project called ‘Bert and Dickie’ about two Olympic rowers who won a Double Sculls gold medal at the fascinating 1948 Olympic Games in London. Matt Smith is playing Bert and I will be Dickie, it’s a great story and I’m really looking forward to it even if my rowing still needs a bit of fine tuning (I actually fell in the river on Thursday!). I also have my first short film, ‘Training Day’, that will be at the DC Short Film Festival soon and hopefully in a few others too. So busy times. Which is good.
Thanks for the interview!