Today: April 16, 2024

Kit Harington Talks Spooks

Starring a heavyweight British ensemble cast including Peter Firth, Kit Harington, Jennifer Ehle, Tuppence Middleton, Tim McInnerny, Lara Pulver, Elyes Gabel and David Harewood; Spooks: The Greater Good is about a terrorist escaping from MI5 custody during a high profile handover, leading to a legendary operative being blamed for the snafu. Disgraced and forced to resign, Harry disappears without a trace. With MI5 on its knees in the wake of the debacle and facing controversial reform, former agent Will Holloway (Harington) is brought back from Moscow to discover the truth about Harry’s disappearance and, in doing so, uncovers a shocking revelation. Harry is still alive, has gone rogue and desperately needs Will’s help.

To celebrate the release on DVD and blu-ray, we chatted to Game Of Thrones’ star Kit Harington about his thrilling new role.

What can you tell us about your character?
Will is an agent gone rogue essentially. He’s a young man, who we learn in the story, has grown up initially with Harry as a kind of father figure. He’s got a pretty rough back ground. His father, died in an operation with Harry years prior to the film starting. I suppose he’s on a quest to find out how that happened. It’s always been kept secret from him. He’s obviously  a very talented young agent and he’s been brought in to try and track down Harry because he’s got this prior knowledge. He understands Harry in a way that MI5 don’t.

Were you aware of Spooks before you took the role?
I’m coming into this completely fresh. I’ve always been aware of Spooks because it’s always been a bastion of British TV and it ran for so long and it was so popular. [But] for some reason or another, I never watched any of it. I was encouraged not to watch too much of it because they wanted to bring a kind of freshness to the movie. To restart in some ways. So I’m learning as I go. I’m learning who Harry is, as Peter plays him, day by day.

I remember people saying that Spooks was always modern. It jumped on the idea of your enemy being someone within your own country and the fact that technology was changing everything and what’s interesting in our movie is that there’s a wiki-leaks problem. All of that that has come into play now, so I think it is very up to date and current – always has been. I think people live in boxes now. Community has changed and within communities, especially in London, people can slip through the gaps, especially with technology now and social media. And that’s what we play with. Who do you know who’s slipped through the gaps and who’s watching out for members of the general public. Is that MI5 and are they doing right by us?

What appealed to you about the role?
I’ve spent a lot of time in a fantasy realm or in a very archaic place in a lot of the work I’ve done on screen. So, for me, this is a time when I’m still enjoying action sequences. I still enjoy the physical aspect of acting and doing my own stunts and this way I could hold a gun and to read a script and speak dialogue which is a bit more relevant to who I am and who I am in life. It’s quite refreshing.

What was it like to be filming in London?
Being at the National Theatre was really fun actually. My first ever job was at the National. I did a play there, so to go back and do some shooting around the roof and everything was strangely nostalgic. I’m amazed it’s not used more. It has got such incredible views and it’s such an iconic building. But I’ve ruined so many takes in this film – not by doing anything wrong – but every few minutes I was on buses going round London, and my face would be on it, so we had to call cut. I think it went from being funny to not funny quite quickly. But It was a revelation working in London. The last job I had here was “Posh”, a play at the Royal Court and since then I haven’t done a film here. And that was another really important thing career-wise for me, as I’ve done a lot of stuff that is American based. I was really desperate to do some British drama and Spooks fell into that category. I’m a London boy. I’m a proper anglophile, so it’s really lovely to be working from home. Getting up in my own flat, coming to work, going home, cooking myself some food. It’s great not to be on that ‘living out of your suitcase trail’ for just a little bit. I’m back on it after this but it’s all fun.

It’s a very physical role. Did you enjoy that?
I think if a director is willing to take minimal risk and let an actor do a stunt that isn’t too dangerous, then they will always want to try and do it. Everyone moves differently and a really great stuntman will study the way you move and try and fight like you and move like you but it’s never quite the same as having the actor do it. I think it bugs directors seeing a stuntman do something and knowing it’s not the actor whereas the audience may never know. So I like to do my own stuff. I’m a bit foolhardy with it really, I’m always like “I’ll do that” but then someone steps in and says “no you can’t, it’s insurance you can’t do that.” There was one thing in this I couldn’t do – the falling out of a window onto a table. I did the jump out of the window – I jumped through a glass window for real. I got cut up pretty bad! (Laughs.) No, no , seriously, it was a CGI window!


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