Ray Winston stars in Beowulf, directed by Robert Zemeckis, as Beowulf, a warrior who must defeat the monster, Grendel (Crispin Glover), terrorizing a small town in Denmark during the 16th Century. Meanwhile, Grendel's mother (Angelina Jolie) tries to seduce Beowulf. All the visuals are in motion-capture CGI just like in Robert Zemeckis' last animated film, The Polar Express. Ray Winstone has previously acted in The Departed, Breaking & Entering, The Proposition, King Arthur, Sexy Beast and the BBC TV series Henry VIII where he gave a terrific performance as Henry VIII. I had the privilege to interview him.
Paramount Pictures releases Beowulf on November 16th, 2007 in IMAX 3-D, Digital 3-D and Conventional 2-D formats.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did you react when Robert Zemeckis approached you for the role?
RW: I was surprised that I got offered the part and he was surprised that I was surprised. His wife had seen me playing in [the show] ďHenry VIIIĒ playing Henry and turned him on to it, so thatís how it all came about.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Were you familiar with the story of Beowulf before taking on this role?
RW: I didnít know anything about Beowulf before I read the script. I never read the books, so it was something really special. I couldnít comprehend what the look of Beowulf was going to be like.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What kind of training did you do for this role?
RW: I didnít have to train, to eat the right foods or to go running. These geniuses put it together. My jaw hit the floor. When you normally go onto a film, there are beautiful sets built there and you get the feeling for the setting, they put your make up on and then you perform. With this, you go in and you perform, then they put your make up on, then they put your costume on and then they built the set. What that does is make you imagination explode.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How physical was your role?
RW: Itís the most physical job Iíve ever worked on in my lifeóespecially when youíre 48 which I was at the time. You have to do the stunts and walk like a 6í6Ē warrior with an 8-pack. Iíve always wanted to play a Viking, ever since I saw Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas do it in Spartacus.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How far did you have to step out of yourself portray such an arrogant, tough person? RW: I found it very easy being a cocky bastard. Itís me being nice that I find hard. [laughs]
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did you feel when the filming was finally over?
RW: I actually didnít want it to end when it was finished. We were only filming for six weeks and two years to put it together. I was feeling good about it. Once it was over, I felt tired because it was physically demanding. So, I went to Hawaii, but it was a big mistake because all I really wanted to do was to go home and sit in the garden.