After seeing the movie, we went back to Manhattan to interview the movie’s stars Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman. We met them at the Fox offices.
Taron, did you learn to ski jump for “Eddie the Eagle”?
Taron: I learned how to ski for “Eddie the Eagle.” I never skied before. So I had to go out to Germany a couple of weeks early and make sure I could ski. Ski jumping, no, because it’s so dangerous that we had to get some professionals to do it for us. But they were very good. Crazy. You’ve got to be crazy, right?
What was your favorite scene to film?
Hugh: I think my favorite scene was the training sequence. Basically I had to watch the whole time, him training and so yell at him. It was really fun, but we laughed a lot.
Taron: We laughed a lot.
Hugh: All that stuff is real. All that stuff you see is what the real film guys do. They have more modern equipment, but we got it all off the Internet. Like if you look up training regimes for ski jumpers, the stuff I do is kind of amazing.
Taron: That was my favorite scene as well. It was my favorite scene because I was doing a lot of silly things and it gave me an opportunity to look very silly. When I look very silly Hugh laughs a lot and ruins the scenes. There’s nothing that gives me greater pleasure than ruining a scene or making Hugh mess up a scene.
Did you do your own stunts?
Taron: For this, for the ski jumping thing, you got to leave that to the professionals, but I do. There’s another one called “Kingsman: The Secret Service” where I do a lot for that. For that, I do most of it because the man who directed it, Matthew Vaughn, who also produced “Eddie,” he’s very insistent about doing as much as possible because it looks more real that way. So all the fighting is me. I’m doing fighting training at the moment for the next one.
What is the scariest part of auditioning?
Taron: I think that you have to trick yourself into really wanting to be there and really enjoy it. Because if you don’t enjoy it, it’s not going to happen. I have been in auditions where, because you’re always scared before, but if you let that scared feeling get the better of you or become too much, it could ruin your audition. And that happens to all of us at times, but I think if you could convince yourself that a) if you haven’t anything to lose and you’re not going to be any worse off and b) that you’re the person to do this, then you can go in and have fun, and that’s when it goes well.
Do you think this movie can inspire more people to get off the couch and have courage to try different sports?
Taron: I really hope so. I’m just so proud of it. I think about the movie, it’s got so many different qualities to it that are unusual and fun and it’s very funny as well as being very uplifting and inspiring.
In the movie you’re pretty funny. Is it harder to be funny or serious in a film?
Taron: I don’t know. I think it depends. Things are difficult for different reasons. There’s nothing that freaks an actor out more than knowing that you’ve grown quiet and could be pretty scary. I think funny can be harder if you’re not having a good time, but if you’re happy and enjoy your job as I was on this movie, having such a fun time, it never felt like it was difficult to be funny because Hugh was being funny, our director was being funny, we were having jokes with the crew. So it just felt like part of the day. It happened to be when I was being funny they had a camera on me. Because everyone was having fun, it didn’t feel hard on this one.
Hugh: I think he’s underplaying it. What Taron does in this movie is really difficult because at times you have to really feel, and you’re like cheering from your feelings, nervousness, at times you’re laughing with him, at times you’re kind of laughing at him a little bit and it’s a really fine line to get right. You could play it too goofy or not funny enough. It’s really difficult I think. What you pulled off is really amazing.
What was your favorite role to play?
Hugh: I do movies and I do theater. I love them all. For me the moments on stage when it’s all working is the kind of high you can’t replicate anywhere else.
As you prepared for the role, did you have to do a lot of research?
Taron: Yeah. For me, it was about watching videos of him. He got so much press attention at the time that there were quite a few interviews with him in Europe. Obviously I met with him. He also wrote a book about himself in 1980. So I read that. And then there was a lot of time trying to figure out how I was going to make myself look a bit different, look like him.
Hugh: Most of the movie I’m kind of the same. Trying to get rid of him, but eventually I play his coach. So I had to do a little bit about difficulties, but a lot of it was in the script. The writer had done a lot of research. Now he was checking that it wasn’t sort of wrong. Most of it was there and the rest of it I had to play an alcoholic. I just pretended that bit.
Did you both meet the real Eddie?
Taron: Yeah. I hung out with Eddie quite a bit. We met him before we went out to Germany and we sat in London and we drank tea and ate a biscuit — custard cream to be specific. I got to talk about his life with him, asked him all sorts of questions, about what it felt like to be there, why he wanted to be there and it was great. I never had that experience before playing a real person and then being lucky enough to get to meet and talk to them. For an actor that’s such a gift. I also watched the movie. The first time I watched the movie was with him the first time he saw it and that was just about the scariest thing I ever had to do as an actor. But thankfully, by the end of the movie he was quite emotional and was as proud of it as we are, which is great.