If you like to hate an excellent villain, then Danish actor Pilou Asbæk is your man. Whether he’s embodying a biblical baddie like Pontius Pilate within the 2016 Ben Hur, or tearing up the Iron Islands (and Westeros) as Euron Greyjoy in HBO’s Game of Thrones, he at all times leaves a chilling, lasting impression. And that streak continues with Bad Robot’s Overlord as Asbæk embodies the terrifying Nazi, Wafner.
Gratefully, we are able to attest that Asbæk is nothing just like the terrible characters he’s been enjoying in worldwide movie and TV tasks. In truth, after we sat down with him at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, the actor was somewhat cheery and triumphant (and a tad bit hungover) after the profitable premiere of Overlord the night time earlier than. Candid and charming, the Dane tells SYFY WIRE in regards to the methodology to his latest streak of villains, subverting clichés, and the way Game of Thrones has modified his life.
In Overlord, you play a Nazi, which is pinnacle cinematic villain territory. Did you come on the character from a analysis level of entry?
Pilou Asbæk: No, I did not put together very a lot with this one. The motive is that he’s a really “from outside, inside character.” It’s all within the uniform. So, it was essential for me to ascertain who he can be within the first 25 seconds. When we go right into a room, you learn the room with within the first 20 seconds pondering, “This person I’m going to talk to. That one, not interested.” We do the identical after we see movies.
Every type of Nazi has been portrayed in movie, but with Wafner, you handle to nonetheless shock the viewers and make us surprise for some time, “Is he awful, or not?”
Yes, that was as a result of after I met [director] Julius [Avery] for the primary time 9 months earlier than we might begin capturing the movie, I instructed him, “Julius, I actually wish to make this movie with you. And this has nothing to do with the script Billy [Ray] or Mark [Smith] wrote, however each single scene, we will do the precise reverse. The motive why we have to do it’s, it is going to be much more of a cliché. So, we have to work with the cliché. We have to make the cliché our energy.” There’s a motive why a cliché is a cliché, there’s some reality to it, we needed to flip it the other way up. We needed to make him charming and enjoyable, not like [Euron] in Game of Thrones.
Yes, Wafner could be very a lot not Euron.
It’s two very totally different characters. The solely motive why anybody would wish to examine them is as a result of they’re each evil. How f**king superficial is that? They’re each male. Okay, please, come on. [Laughs]
That begs the query, why have you ever taken on such diabolical characters of late?
I do not wish to be caught in the identical roles. I wish to change it. But this isn’t my residence court docket. That’s Denmark. So, every time I wish to do a hero, I am going residence and I do my drama. And what I take from the Danish cinema is that I act all the things for actual. No matter what sort of movie I’m doing, regardless of how foolish it is perhaps, I take the premise for actual. And I attempt to do it as three-dimensional as attainable.
It’s all about collaboration. I at all times say this after I do the “villains,” to put it so superficially, but I have a discussion with the main cast, and the director, and I say, “This is a crew effort. No one is best than the weakest hyperlink. You are the lead on this movie, due to this fact my job is to make you shine. For me to make you shine, I want a personality who shouldn’t be a f**king fool. Because the stronger the ‘villain’ is, the stronger you shall be.” There’s nothing worse than one-dimensional villains. If you may have a villain that could be a mirror, should you can have the antagonist being a mirror of the protagonist, that’s even stronger.
Did you will have a particular dimensional villain in thoughts whenever you performed Wafner?
One of probably the most horrifying characters I ever seen portrayed is in David Lynch’s movie, Blue Velvet, with Dennis Hopper’s Frank Booth. So, at one level he takes that drug or helium, or no matter it’s, and I do one thing within the scene with Chloe [Mathilde Ollivier] the place I wished to offer [Booth] an homage, as a result of I feel he is superb. And the leather-based jacket is an homage to Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Bastards. It’s me hinting, “Guys, we know we’re basing it on reality, but we’re going to take a detour.”
What in regards to the prosthetics that additional evolve Wafner within the movie. Was that useful in growing the evolution of the character?
Yes, my background is 4 years of theater on the National Prop School of Denmark Copenhagen. One of the programs, we needed to construct your personal masks, the place you’d sit and create a man, and with that masks you’d do a Commedia dell’arte. You do not have that custom in American movies. You actually do not work with these issues.
In Overlord, with the masks, it instructed me that I gotta change my physique. From him being “the cliché Nazi, with the leather-based jacket,” he can be extra like a monster on the finish. Not solely mentally, but additionally bodily. So, I had one-on-one classes with Andy Serkis.
Interesting. What did he provide help to with?
He was like, “Okay Pilou, what’s it you need?” And I was like, “Andy, I’ve by no means finished this sort of transformation, and you probably did all these unimaginable movies.” He was like, “It’s all about choices. The extra choices you make, the extra freedom you are going to have.”
You’ve gotten quite a lot of consideration in the previous couple of years together with your high-profile Hollywood roles. What’s been the most effective takeaway from these experiences?
I used to be so blessed. I’ve solely finished worldwide movies within the final three years. I labored with Morgan Freeman, I labored with Scarlett Johansson, and the principle forged on Game of Thrones, I labored with so many unimaginable, proficient folks. And you already know what all of them have in frequent? They’re very candy. Good those that simply wish to inform good tales.
You obtained to wrap up the Game of Thrones run this 12 months filming the ultimate season. What was it like bringing that sequence to an in depth with that forged?
I got here on board in Season 6, so I had two seasons, largely. Like Stanislavski, the daddy of all theater, stated, “There are no small roles, only small actors.” It would not matter the dimensions of a personality, it issues the way you do it. And you may see in Season 7, [Euron’s] influence. I’ve three or 4 scenes, however I’m driving them. I like him. I obtained some nice scenes subsequent season as nicely.
Have you felt the influence that these roles have had in your profession, or together with your recognition issue around the globe?
Ghost in a Shell modified quite a lot of issues, and so did Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones is so huge. I used to be in Chile, and I obtained pulled over in safety. I used to be like, “Holy s**t!” I felt like a felony, I hadn’t finished something, however I felt like a felony. And then they only stated, “We love you in Game of Thrones. Can we’ve got a photograph with you?” They closed the entire border! No one got here into the Chile airport for 10 minutes whereas I used to be taking pictures. [Laughs] It simply tells you, it travels in every single place. Game of Thrones is the most important present on Earth. Probably the most important present there’s ever been. But that was the second the place I used to be actually like, “Holy f**king s**t, man.” And I was a really, very massive fan of Thrones. I’d seen all of it. And the second I turned part of it, I’ve not seen one second since.
You stopped watching?
Yes. Not one.
Will you do a giant binge on the finish and watch all of it?
Maybe I’m going to be a type of egocentric actors that is simply going to observe my very own scenes as a result of I’m too lazy. [Laughs]
Overlord opens broad on Nov. 9, 2018.