Rhys Ifans and Tom Hollander star in “The King’s Man: First Mission”. On the occasion of the release of Matthew Vaughn’s film, a meeting with the two actors, who return in particular to the filmmaker’s vision and the singular filming conditions which nourished their game.
The king’s man : first mission, first threats
After Kingsman: Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Matthew Vaughn traces the origins of the London spy agency with The King’s Man: First Mission. A prequel set in the middle of the First World War and centered on the founding members of the secret organization, performed by Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Djimon Hounsou and Harris Dickinson.
In front of them stand several threats, among which the enigmatic and terrifying Grigory Rasputin, played by Rhys Ifans. In the service of a mysterious criminal, the alleged healer plays an important role in the conflict sincehe influences Tsar Nicholas II, to which Tom Hollander lends his features. The latter also embodies King George V as well as Emperor William II. Between these three cousins, tensions are accentuated and their diplomatic conflicts will have disastrous consequences.
For the exit of The king’s man, Rhys Ifans and Tom Hollander evoked for us their collaboration with Matthew Vaughn, the fact of changing times and the pleasure to observe a performance as crazy as that of the interpreter of Rasputin.
Meeting with Rhys Ifans and Tom Hollander
What convinced you to participate in the saga?
Tom hollander : We didn’t need to be convinced, because Matthew Vaughn is a very talented man and it’s already a very exciting prospect. I think we’ve been offered some very interesting roles in a successful franchise. So these simple facts were enough to convince us.
Rhys ifans : We followed the scientific data. (Laughs)
How was the shoot with Matthew Vaughn?
RI : Well, I think making a film is always the same. “Learn your text, don’t look at the camera.” The process is the same. But Matthew is exceptional because he has a very clear and eloquent cinematic grammar. The images serve the narration, he has an obsession for symmetry, for balance in the frame. And he breaks that balance with action or violence. It’s as if he had a movie in his head and when he made his decisions, he managed to anticipate the outcome.
It’s amazing to find yourself next to someone so comfortable behind the camera. And he is surrounded by an incredible team with whom he has worked for many years. What I mean is you get the feeling that Matthew Vaughn does his movies the old fashioned way, the traditional way but his writing is bold and modern, and he’s having fun with the cinematic tropes we’re used to. . He manages to defy our expectations and create surprise, which is what is fascinating in all his films.
You’re both not in your first role as a villain. Is it more fun to play?
TH : Not necessarily. It is often more fun to watch. Whether or not a role is fun to play depends on several things in reality. Whether they’re good or bad, we want the characters to be interesting. Bad guys do things most people don’t allow themselves to do, so that’s fun. But there is also something quite mundane about playing people who don’t care about others. Sometimes it’s more interesting to play characters who don’t just feel love for themselves. There is more to play because there is more depth, more nuance. But watching a performance like Rhys’s is an unforgettable experience.
RI : I am sorry. (Laughs)
TH : I played a villain once who was just a bureaucrat. He was mean, but not particularly interesting. He was sort of an accountant.
RI : These are the worst.
TH : I think we want to play characters that we feel close to, if possible, with whom the audience can identify. If we identify with a character or understand what they are going through, then a bond can be created. And it can happen with a villain, as much as with a hero. And that may not happen with a hero.
As an actor, what does it get to change the era, the century, as is the case for The king’s man ?
RI : It’s fantastic !
TH : It’s like a trip to …