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September 2004
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: An Interview with Jude Law

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: An Interview with Jude Law

By Wilson Morales

When it rains, it pours. In the coming months before the year ends, a number of films starring Jude Law will hit the big screen. It's funny to say that considering Jude made these films within a two year period. After being nominated twice in the last five years with "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Cold Mountain", Jude is pretty much a household name considering there isn't another actor with the same first name that has this much acclaim. In the first of many interviews to come, Jude spoke to blackfilm.com in regards to his latest film, "Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow", in which he plays an ace aviator.

Has this been the busiest time of your life? Seems like you have so many films coming out this year.

Jude: I made these movies in a period of two years. In London, we have this thing where you wait for an hour for a bus and four come at once. That seems to be my luck with the release of these films. I made the movies between 18 months and 2 years and now there are being release between 4 months of each other.

Do you have a favorite among the ones you did?

Jude: The thing that I'm most proud of is that they are all completely different; literally. There are all different genres, different characters, different directors, and they are joined by the fact they are all good.

The great thing about this film is that this is an action movie without being so much about the action. Is that why you wanted to do it?

Jude: You can call it an action adventure, but it came in a style that I used to love as a kid with a non-cynical side to it. There was a non-complex sort of seediness where it was about drug dealing and gun handling, and the bad guy was a crack addict. Do you know what I mean? Last year I played Errol Flynn for three days in the new Scorsese film. Me and Raff, my son, watched "Robin Hood" and "Captain Blood". These are some great movies and what I realized is that you can watch them with a 3 year, a 7 year old, and you get all the fun you would get from a swashbuckler action adventure nowadays and there was non of that cynicalness. That's what we were hoping to get with this film. There's a freshness to it, an entertainment value, a clarinet and cleansiness that tends to be forgotten these days. That was mainly what I loved about it and what I loved about the character.

Did you relate to the love story?

Jude: The thing I loved most was the relationship (between his character and Gwyneth). It reminded me of all those great His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, kind of (Katherine) Hepburn- (Spencer) Tracy, very Cary Grant. If someone can recognize that's what's important about a film and not about all of the effects. I watched films like Flying Tigers and Angels Without Wings and a lot of those thirties movies with that wonderful banter between the male and the female pal type characters where everyone is a wise guy. Was it a leap of faith or did you imagine that the film would work when you're acting in front of a blue screen?

Jude: You know what? It was and I didn't know it was a leap of faith until I saw it. When I finally saw how brilliant Kerry was, I knew and I got a real sense in my guts when I saw the six minute trailer

What was the challenge of acting against a blue screen?

Jude: My role as a producer was enabling Kerry (Conran, the director) to see his vision through. I had to hold my hands up when it came to the technological side. What I knew was that between Gwyneth (Paltrow) and Angie (Jolie) and getting everyone involved was that what we could add rather than being limited by the blue screen, rather than feeling îI could only look here,' was if we asked him to let us really play with it and give him stuff that he didn't even think he could get, then we'd have a film where we were actually living in this world and not looking at things with dead eyes. Whilst there's a kind of make-believe to it, I don't think you ever see us lost in a kind of wilderness where we don't really know what we're looking at. Your former wife Sadie Frost was a producer on this as well and she was on the set while the tabloids in London were covering your break-up. Was that weird? Jude: It was only weird because the tabloids in England are weird. We were just doing our job. We've remained friends. You just deal with it because of the job at hand.

Why did you decide to mess with a classic like Alfie?

Jude: That was my question. You forget that the life of Alfie went way beyond that movie. It had been played in the West End on Broadway, and was a well sold book. There was a character that was almost classic, iconic in his philosophy of life and of women and (it had) a device in talking straight to you about what you're really thinking and feeling as if you're the best friend a guy could have, and in that there was room somewhere to re-evaluate the sexual kind of territory of today. What Charles (Shyer, the director) really sold to me was this idea that this guy hasn't changed, there are guys like this still out there and we're all (if we're honest) still thinking like that. I wanted to play a Lothario and really play into that role. It's the jock thing here too, and yet the women have changed a huge amount. We are making a film about stronger women. You've been nominated twice for an Oscar and with four movies coming out back to back including The Aviator, Lemony Snicket, Alfie and Closer do you see yourself winning?

Jude: Gosh. I don't really think like that. If I start thinking like that honestly that jinxes any kind of progress or success of the film. That doesn't necessarily inform decisions I make.

Is your Errol Flynn in Aviator the happy go lucky Flynn or the dissolute Flynn?

Jude: If you blink you'll miss him but we squeezed everything into one scene. He arrives jolly and drunk and in the end he goes out slugging so there's about everything in one scene (if it's still in the film!)

Now that you've been on break since March are you the happiest guy in the world? Jude: It was great. It was partly forced on me and much needed. I was going to do a film in London called Tulip Fever and all the money pretty much disappeared because it was pretty low budget and so my break came a lot quicker than I expected. To be honest having done all of these (films) pretty much back to back I was really tired and there was a lot of stuff in my private life I wanted to sort out and I wanted to be at home. Even though a lot of these films shot in London, funnily enough, it's always nice to take the time back and be with the children, be at home and read books rather than scripts.

Are your children aware of your celebrity? Jude: They're very aware of assholes hiding behind trees with long lenses. (Laughs) I'm kind of in the process of suing but I can't really talk about it.

Do you ever wish you could just go somewhere where nobody recognizes you?

Jude: The dilemma in my family is finding somewhere that suits everyone in my family, not just me. I'd be out of there (London) like a bullet from a gun if I could, but my kids are very happy at school there so it's a tricky one.

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