July 2003
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen : An Interview with Shane West

Interviewed by Godfrey Powell

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: An Interview with Shane West

Shane West began his acting career on television with appearances on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Sliders. He gained greater exposure as the son on the critically acclaimed TV show Once and Again. Last year he starred with Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember. In an interview with blackfilm.com, Shane talks about being Tom Sawyer in his latest film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and hanging with the legend Sean Connery.

GP: Were you a fan of the comic, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

GP: I was after I booked the part. I mean, Iíd heard of Alan Moore and one of his books, The Watchmen. But I had no idea. When I read the script, I just did not get it at all. But I liked it because it was strange and I like strange. I read it two or three times. I got more interested after reading the comic book and seeing that my character was not in it, because I could take this as an opportunity to create something.

GP: Was there less pressure on doing this movie because you were hoping for Terminator 3?

GP: Yeah, thatís right. It was one of those things that if Iíd gotten the offer to play John Connors, Iíd have to do it. But also this time, thereís no James Cameron, sheís not scary at all (new Terminator) they made her too much of a model. There were too many ifs. But with League this was a first. It came at such a good time. I started auditioning for this at the same time as T3 and I think it relaxed me for the auditions because I almost didnít care. And thatís almost always how it works in Hollywood.

GP: Playing a character whoís not in the comic book and added just for the film, you must have worked a lot with the screenwriter, James Dale Robinson.

GP: James is cool. Heís a very cool cucumber. Heís got big shoes (Alan Moore) to fill in this case. I donít know how he handled it. I never saw him sweat.

GP: Your character was added to this film to be the All-American elementÖ

GP: Yes, it wasnít Guy Ritchie so we had to. They added the character not just for an American appeal but to appeal to everyone including the younger audience.

GP: Did you read Mark Twain in preparation for the role?

GP: Before I got the part and after it. Believe it or not before I re-read it, I knew Sawyer whitewashed the fence but I also thought Tom Sawyer took the rafting trip down the Mississippi which actually was Huckleberry Finn. But I re-read the books to see how much of a smart-ass he was growing up and then aged him a decade older. And heís a secret service agent which is perfect for him.

GP: You drive an incredibly cool looking car. Tell me about it.

GP: Well, I drove the car so I was in every single shot. The car is gorgeous. It makes the ďBatmobileĒ look really silly. But itís a piece of crap to drive. Steve Norrington (Director) was very meticulous. So we did some 17 takes of me driving the car. It was tiring.

GP: How was working with the legend, Sean Connery?

GP: Well, around Sean you gotta be smart. You have to be on your toes or else heíll hound you for the rest of the shoot. But heís a softie. He really is. He took us out to dinner a lot. He was always there if you had questions but you had to make sure the questions were smart enough. But I had a lot of teachers like that growing up. Heís very much a gentleman. Heís very responsible. He knows how things should be done.

GP: This is your first action movie. Did you do most of your stunts?

GP: Yeah, Iím still young (25). Iíve played sports all my life. It was just a matter of handling guns and looking like I knew what I was doing. The stunts were great. I did most of my stunts including a shot when Iím driving in the car w/ Sean and I tell him to grab the wheel and I start shooting. I did a wide shot which didnít have to be me and they had to strap me up. I had all these blanks firing at my face which made it hard not to think of the Crow (film in which Brandon Lee was shot and killed while shooting).

GP: What are you up to next?

GP: I am excited to do four independent films. And they all are serious character roles. One of them I play the leader of a punk rock band.