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August 2005
The Brothers Grimm: An Interview with Lena Headey

The Brothers Grimm: An Interview with Lena Headey

By Wilson Morales

Coming out on August 26th is "The Brothers Grimm", the adventure of legendary fairytale scribes, Will and Jake Grimm (Matt Damon and Heath Ledger), two brothers who travel around the Napoleonic countryside vanquishing monsters and demons in exchange for quick money. Along their travels, the brothers meet up with a local tracker, Angelika, played by British actress Lena Headey. Unlike in some films where the female is some damsel in distress, Lena's character likes to see herself as an equal to the brothers if not better. Headey's other films have included the romantic fantasy, "The Man with Rain in His Shoes" and the teen drama "Gossip" with Kate Hudson. In speaking to blackfilm.com, Ms. Headey goes over her character in "The Brother Grimm" and working with Matt and Heath.

Did you enjoy all the physical work that you did on the movie?

Lena Headey: I loved it.

Did you do any training?

LH: Yes. There were a couple of days of doing archery and horse riding, cause the last time I rode a horse I was dragged about 12 miles. So, it was like a few days, but not long.

Were you good at it or did you actually miss your mark?

LH: I was a genius at it. (Laughs) Every single time, a bull's eye. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.

Did you like how tough the character was? Although this is an old fashion fantasy film, she (the character) has that modern edge where she's not going to go down without a fight.

LH: Yeah. That's what attracted me to it was the part where you read - female women and historian and they are usually pretty predicable and that's what I loved about Angelika; the fact that she is headstrong and knows who she is and is quite happy it and self-reliant. But I think people who weren't portrayed centuries ago and this. I'm sure there are women that were like "Fuck that."

One of the scenes that might disturb some people is the rabbit scene. What did you use?

LH: Well, they had asked me to skin one and I went to watch and I wanted to do it and I couldn't.

Were you always a fan of the Brothers Grimm tales growing up?

LH: Yep. I had various stories and books and illustrations and all that stuff.

What was your favorite?

LH: That's an original question at this junket. I would say that I thought that The Three Billy Goats Gruff was great and there was a Grimm tale about dogs with big eyes and the eyes get bigger and bigger as you pass all the dogs. It was a long time ago when I read all these stories. But to answer you question, the rabbit was latex. It was full of condoms filled with blood.

What were Matt and Heath like to work with?

LH: They were pretty lovely, both obviously hideously ugly, so that was hard to look at them. (Laughs). It was like glaring into the sun. But they were lovely guys. You meet them and they are good human beings and that's always nice to discover.

Do you feel you held your own with them?

LH: Yeah. I think so. She a little character so I couldn't really not. If I had to scream for help, I don't think I would have done it.

How was it working with Terry Gilliam?

LH: He's pretty unique. He goes through his vision and commitment and passion with perfection and it sometimes frustrating when you have someone knows exactly what they see and it's way difficult to communicate that sometimes. There were moments weŠ yelling is a big part of what goes on. Some days you never know what you are going to walk into, which is good and bad. Otherwise it's dull. You don't want someone who says, ŚThings are great".

How was working on the set with forest?

LH: It was gorgeous. It was such a joy to walk on something that's there and tangible and the scene where I got to work, they were building the village and there were these guys with beards down. The village just appeared and that's old fashion where they can just make anything. You don't have to walk into a blue room and look for something.

What was the audition process? Did you have to show the physical side that you can accomplish this?

LH: No. I just had to do a few scenes with Matt, Heath and Terry in a room, which is just terrifying.

Which scene was it?

LH: We did a couple. We did a scene where they fall out and I had to slap Matt.

Did you really hit him?

LH: Yeah. Matt was like, "It's okay, you can do it" and I went, "Okay".

What did you think about the guy/gal wardrobe you had?

LH: I had a theory that Angelika was gay, seriously. I loved the costume and I thought it was beautiful, and again, it was another genius, Gabriella, who made all the costumes and she just found the smallest thread to make it fit. It was really magical, the whole production of it.

In your head, who was she more hot for?

LH: In my head, she wasn't. She liked the guys as brothers. She's like, "You're not really my type." She's like waiting for some chicks to roll into town.

In real life, are Matt and Heath's personality like the characters? Is Heath more of an outgoing guy?

LH: No, they're both very funny and I guess that's the only similarities between the characters. They also dressed better than the brothers.

How long ago did you make this movie?

LH: I think it was in 2003. It's been a long time coming but I guess all those big things seem to be coming out. There are a billion people deciding what and where.

What was the rehearsal process like?

LH: We did like a few and not a lot. There was a lot going on. He was obsessed with the shots, and the horse, and this and that. Most of the rehearsals were the riding and the physical stuff and that's what we talked about more than anything.

Were you sort of making up the acting performances as it went along?

LH: You always do. I think it just happens anyway. It's like being on stage for maybe two minutes instead of an hour. When you are there, you're there. You do what you do. Afterwards, you either go, "Ah shit" or "That was all right".

You sound as if he gets his ideas as it get along?

LH: Absolutely, which is great then you know you are not just repeating something.

You also have "The Cave" coming out? What was filming that like?

LH: That was tough. That was being wet for about three months in Romania, which is not a great combination; and being chased by a man in tights with a big monster head. What can I say? You have to try everything I think.

What else do you have coming up?

LH: There's "The Cave" and a movie called "Click". It's not the Adam Sandler movie. It's a British movie and all about love and timing and all that complicated stuff. So, they're coming out at the end of this year. At the moment, I'm doing absolutely nothing. Just waiting.

Did you move to LA or do stay in London?

LH: No, I stay in London. London is my home. I'm not averse to being here but I don't know if I can be here for a long time.

Have there been a lot of changes since the bombings?

LH: There are policemen with guns on every train platform and on the streets and that's never been done before.

THE BROTHERS GRIMM opens on August 26, 2005

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