In Me Before You, Emilia Clarke plays Louisa “Lou” Clark, and we get to know your character, Will Traynor, through her eyes. How did you find your way into this complex character?
The film is really Lou’s story, but Will is obviously quite a big part of it. And, as a character, his story is rarely told or indeed told so well.
How did you find working with Emilia Clarke?
Amazing. Emilia and I actually met about five years ago. We did a photo shoot for Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow, and we hit it off right from the get-go. Then our lives drifted apart, and she’s gone off and done Game of Thrones and I’ve gone off and done The Hunger Games! So, in the sense we already knew each other and we respect and are fans of each other’s work.
How useful was it for you to interact with Jojo Moyes, who wrote the best-selling book as well as the screenplay?
She was there on set every day, and for an actor, it’s a dream to have the source material at your fingertips
Jojo’s novel has moved millions of readers to tears all over the world. Do you think the movie will follow suit?
I hope so! I know that when I read the script and the novel, it was gut-wrenching. I watched the film with my wife, agent and publicist and they were all in flood of tears.
Will is quite a prickly person when we first meet him in the film. Was that tricky for you to navigate?
That quality was something I was very, very aware of when I first read the script; I took a real dislike to him! Not because of who he was, but merely because of the way he treated other people.
Can you talk about the physical challenges of playing a character who is confined to a wheelchair for nearly the entire film?
The physical side of the role was a real challenge. I’ve done very, very physical films up to now, and this was quite the opposite. There were so many restrictions to my body and movements.
Was the physicality of your character tough to attain, and did that process help inform your portrayal of Will?
Yes. I had a deadline to get in a certain physical shape and pushed myself to new limits to get there. It sounds odd but sustaining a certain position for periods of time was physically really hard work
What can you tell us about your next project?
It’s called My Cousin Rachel, which is a Daphne du Maurier book. Roger Michell directing and Rachel Weisz is playing Rachel. It’s the story of a young man and an older woman forced to get to know one another, following the death of the guardian to the younger man. It’s a romantic drama, I would say.
Me Before You releases July 08, 2016