Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin have had their share of blockbuster roles. This time, the two actors co-star in the Warner Bros. drama Me Before You, adapted by Jojo Moyes from her best-selling novel. The two actors spoke recently at a roundtable interview and here were some of the highlights:
On the worst jobs they’ve ever had:
Emilia: I’ve had a few. I think I speak for actors everywhere when I say we spend some time without the love of our job that we are trained to do and in catering or call centers or bar jobs or waitressing, and I’m crap at all of them, so all of them were bad. I did data entering for a while where I actually got fired because I was having too much fun. I couldn’t be confined to my chair. I used to have those wheelie chairs and we used to do fast food Friday which used to leave me really hyper so I used to wheel around the office.
Sam: I think being a paper boy was pretty depressing. I got up at 6 a.m. for 10 pounds a week. Like, why? I did it every day for like three years of my life. Then I worked at GAP clothes for a year in the stock room because I didn’t like talking to customers. Basically I find it very hard to lie, so if a customer came in and didn’t look great in a pair of jeans, I’d probably eek out, “They’re great,” and offend somebody so they stuck me in the stockroom.
On the difference between stage and screen acting:
Emilia: There’s a style for acting on stage and there’s a style for acting on screen. I think they’re two completely different things. The acting itself is miles apart really because on stage you have to physicalize absolutely everything you feel and the fluidity has a storytelling of its own when you’re on stage and you get to see it all together. On screen, it’s so intimate. It’s you and the camera and you need to be as honest with the camera as you can and that should reverberate to the audience. I like doing both.
Sam: I haven’t done stage professionally yet, but through drama school and previous experience, I enjoy being on stage because I think it’s a very different form. I think it’s because you feel the energy from the audience and that kind of boosts you. Not that you don’t get that on a film set, but I think there’s something about the feelings the audience gives you that boosts you.
On acting role models:
Emilia: For life, Lucille Ball is an idol of mine from about age three. And Julie Walters is also another one of my favorites. As actors, you go through life and experience a huge amount and you’re empathetic and sponge-like and you just sort of go through life absorbing things. So when it comes to the part, you don’t have to go to the part of, “My dog is dead. My dog is dead,” but you have that within the fabric of who you are. You have those things within you so when you read a story, you empathize with it because you understand it because you’ve lived it on some level.
On fellow cast members:
Sam: When [Brendan Coyle] got cast, he tracked me down on Twitter and sent me a private message to sort of say, “I’m so excited to work with you. I’m a big fan,” and I was like, “I’M a big fan of yours!”
Emilia: Charlie [Dance] is a dreamy, dreamy man. I remember at the end when he finished filming he was like, “Darling, this is brilliant and you’re brilliant,” and I was tearing up like, “Charles Dance just said all these nice things.” He was just dreamy and charming.
On taking on beloved characters:
Emilia: My track record is naively taking on much-loved characters and, you know, messing them up! I’ve done Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Terminator, Game of Thrones and now this. Genuinely every other project has felt incredibly daunting but this I felt so akin to Lou and I felt understood her so much that I was like, “No, I don’t care what you guys think. This is what I think about her,” and I felt very vindicated in that I was in agreement with everybody else whereas the other ones had been up on the mantle for a little bit longer so maybe they had a few more opinions.
Me Before You arrives in theaters June 3.