The Riot Club: Interview with Ecran Noir

                Sam was interviewed by Ecran Noir during The Riot Club Press Junket in France.

Lots of interviews for
Sam Claflin, but he doesn’t let fatigue catch up with him… or maybe a
little… The actor enters the room smiling and bumps into a
lamp “oh sorry,” he says …to the lamp before sitting down
next to me. Charming and funny, favorite former Hunger Games tribute,
he is bright, beautiful and very professional. Our meeting…




The Riot Club [Posh] was a play before
it was a movie, have you seen it ?

No, I haven’t seen it. I heard about
it, you have to when you live in London like me. There are plays
everywhere and all the time. But I haven’t seen it because I
wasn’t in England when it was played. On the other hand, I have lots
of friends from drama school who were in the play.

The role of Alistair is at the
complete opposite of your usual roles. In your previous movies, you
are the ideal son-in-law, kind and caring, and there you embody a
true villain, weren’t you a bit reluctant when you got the script ?

In fact, I was asked to play Miles, the
best or nicest of the 10 Riot Club members, but I asked to audition
for the villain (laughs). I wanted to play Alistair ! He was the
kind of character I had never played before and it was a real
challenge for me. Unlike who I was able to play before, Alistair
isn’t a character that we love, it was a real challenge and I wanted
to seize the opportunity.




So how did you prepare for the role ?

In a very basic way in the end. I
learnt to speak in a posh way. I am so far away from this world, I
was born in the middle class, my family didn’t have lots of money and
we didn’t attend a posh school.



So I did do some
research to learn about this world that I didn’t know. About Alistair,
he has this dark and disturbing mind. You know, he’s a child who has
never been loved, he’s not different from children who end up in jail
for example, except that he has all this money to avoid jail. So I
prepared like this, doing research to find out why he is like he is.
He is a very very complex character and really hard to understand.

Did you also have to do some research on Oxford University ?

Yes, I didn’t have the chance
to attend this university or any other university that these
characters would attend. It was a new world for me, a new world that
I had to get to know. Fortunately you can find a lot of things when
you are doing some research.



Let’s go back to your character,
everything seems to end well for him…

At the end, yes! And he even smiled for
the first time in the movie (laughs)! This is the
harsh reality of life: many people do lots of bad things and come out
anyway. It’s pretty scary I would say!

 

What
is it like to work with Lone Scherfig? Max Irons told me she is like
a mother?

A mother, yes exactly! You know she is a phenomenal
woman! She had this maturity with all of us on set, she led us to
perfection, leaving us some freedom to completely get the character.
We had our say. There are many lines not initially in the script.
Lone is a fantastic director, amazing on set, she is a source of
inspiration.



What’s your favorite
scene in The Riot Club?

I
think my favorite moment is the trashed restaurant. And I believe the
others would say the same thing. It was a true opportunity to play
this scene. Basically, one person tells you « Tear that
apart, break that… ». It was a very funny day on set.
Of
course, we had a choreography to follow so that the camera could
track our movements. We were a wolf pack! It was really fun
.

So the filming was like a huge party…

Sometimes, we were real animals !
Like I said we were lucky to be able to do that. But at the same
time, it was very professional. There really was an incredible
atmosphere on set. It was fun to play with nine other
people who are the same age as you, who have the same temper, the same way to
work, the same passion. We were 10 lucky guys and it was a really
really amazing experience.

You also have this chemistry in real
life…

We hung out a lot outside the set. We
became our own club.




Let’s imagine, The Riot Club really
exists, could you name an actor or an actress that you would like to
see as a member ?

Wow ! (Laughs) There are so
many… Well, I wouldn’t change them, I would keep the same members
but without me (laughs). To take my place, I would nominate my little
brother who is also an actor.

If you had a friend like Alistair what
kind of advice would you give him ?

I will never have a friend like
Alistair (laughs) ! But well, if I had one, the idea would be to
him talk about his feelings, the same way you talk to a child.
Alisair is a guy who thinks too much, he has never been loved or
cherished. He was never given the opportunity to be listened to. You
know everyone needs a friend, or needs someone somewhere.






Concretely, he has no one and he’s very
weird in the presence of a girl…

He is anti-social, we can say it
(laughs) ! He has no friends, no family he can talk to. He’s
alone and I think that’s the problem. Being alone, this feeling of
rejection, it doesn’t urge him to be sociable.



And his parents treat him like a child,
I’m thinking about the scene at the beginning where they pick his
room at the university…

Yes, his
father treats him like he’s still a child just like his mother who
is, according to the script, probably an alcoholic. That’s why he
doesn’t talk to her the way you talk to a mother. He
is alone and has probably never had anyone to tell him he had to grow
up.




Is there any actor
inspiring you?

Oh yes, there are a lot, but I specifically try not
to be the new “anyone” instead be the only Sam Claflin. Of course,
there are many actors who inspire me but each has his own career.
For example my friend Eddie Redmayne, I admire him and I think he is
a great actor and he deserves everything that happens to him.

Since The Hunger Games
saga, are you able to walk quietly in the streets or is it a bit
difficult just like your co-star Jennifer Lawrence?

I can walk
quietly in the streets (laughs). Yes Jennifer wasn’t blessed
regarding all this. Me, I’m lucky and I can say lucky because many
actors want to become famous and others like me want to be an actor
because they want to be someone other than themselves. I became an
actor because I want to be other people and thus play different
characters. Besides, this is what attracts me most: the characters
and how they are. I feel lucky to be where I am, able to play great
characters in amazing movies. Especially now I have many
opportunities. I can play different characters in different types of
films. I do not want to be Sam Claflin in the movies that I shoot but I
want to be everybody.

[Translation from french to english by us, please credit if you use]