Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief: I Talk To The Stars

At a fancypants hotel in London, I sat down with the cast and director of epic teen fantasy Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief. Slightly intimidated by the fact that Pierce ‘007′ Brosnan was in the room, I managed to not pass out with excitement long enough to ask him and the rest of the cast a few questions.

Sitting with Pierce was director Chris Columbus, Steve Coogan, Kevin McKidd, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson and leading man Logan Lerman.

My attention was turned from Pierce, whose voice was so delicious I wanted to sit on his lap, to the young cast members; Logan, Alexandra and Brandon, all whom were wide awake and quite chatty.

Logan and his all-American looks will soon have girls across the world screaming at the mere mention of his name and Alexandra will surely set hearts (and a few other things) pounding in the near future. You might not know the name but if you saw Tropic Thunder then you’ll know Brandon T. Jackson as Alpa Chino and I was surprised to find that in person he’s just as lively and twice as sweet as he is on-screen.

It’s hard enough to act against something that isn’t there, what’s it like to have parts of your body in CGI?

Pierce – I didn’t expect blue tights with orange spots. Chris was very clever, he sent me the script and he sent me this delightful reproduction of me as a centaur, as Chiron, it was very flattering with muscles and everything. But then come the reality of the day I had to get on fluorescent green painter’s stilts and put on the blue tights. You have to be a bold man to do such a thing. Especially then to have to walk out onto a set with 200 young people who are buffed and eager to show them and strut their stuff and you’re supposed to be this wise, bold hero. It was all in a day’s job though, I got through it.

Brandon – At least you didn’t have ballet shoes, I had ballet shoes! And I got tights and orange dots so they can draw the legs in and we had to create a walk like you’re walking on your tippy-toes. So we got all these beautiful people on the set and me and Pierce got on these blue tights so I’m trying to stay as cool as possible. It was good because Kevin [Scott-Mac, designer] did a great job of drawing the legs in.

Alexandra commented on the friendship between herself, Brandon and Logan.

“We’re all actually very good friends, because we don’t have time to have other friends. Just kidding. We’re actually very lucky. Because you hear nightmare stories all the time so we’re unbelievably lucky. We’d all go to lunch together and people would be like ‘Why are they all hanging out together? Is there a cast meeting or something?’”

And Logan had some kind words about Uma Thurman who appeared as the snake haired Gorgon, Medusa.

“We didn’t talk much at all, I kind of have a thing where I tend to dislike the people I’m supposed to dislike so in the beginning I was like, ‘I’m gonna hate working with Uma Thurman, it’s gonna be horrible. She’s gonna be the worst.’ But the truth is she was so sweet that it was kind of harder to get into the scene.”

Coogan seemed to be there begrudgingly, which is fair enough considering he only has about seven lines in the movie. He did still manage to give us a few giggles though. When asked what it was like to work with Kevin McKidd, star of Grey’s Anatomy, who played Poseidon, Steve replied, “Well we didn’t actually work together. We met earlier today. Obviously I’m a big admirer of Kevin’s. I actually am, I’m being forced to watch Grey’s Anatomy by my girlfriend. I get into it but only because she’s religious about it.”

But which is your favourite McDreamy or McHunky?
“I’m a heterosexual.”

And yet there were some nice looking snake-skin pants in the movie…
“You know I asked them about that and I don’t know whether they’ll give me them because they had to keep them back in case they do reshoots. And in case they do a sequel I won’t get to get them until the entire franchise is over, by which time they won’t fit me anymore.”

Kevin McKidd mused on what it’s like to only have a small role in such a big film. “Well sometimes you really work hard as an actor you know, you do but this one was not that, it was kind of all-out fun really. I could sit here and say ‘Oh I did this process…’ but really I just kinda showed up and enjoyed myself. That’s what’s fun about this job, one minute you’re doing some indie thing that’s incredibly intensive and you’re stretching yourself in ways that you really find challenging. This has it’s own set of challenges but it’s also really fun.”

With Percy Jackson being in fine Greek company this year with Clash Of The Titans, I asked Chris Columbus whether that posed any problems, particularly since they both include Medusa.

“Well I had a really good sense of artistic freedom in designing the monsters and for me, particularly with someone like Medusa, I just always felt that in Greek mythology Medusa’s always depicted as hideous. But that really wouldn’t be the case if she were someone who needed to be seductive to get you to look into her eyes. I liked this combination of Uma Thurman with her seductive quality along with the fact that she could potentially kill you as we saw in the Kill Bill movies.

But Clash Of The Titans I was only aware of because I had to be practical, that we had to be out first. I just felt that no matter what anyone did, it was extremely important that we were the first Greek mythology themed related movie in the marketplace.”

What about the links to Harry Potter?
“I honestly see all fantasy films as being connected in some way, whether it’s Spiderman or Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars or this particular picture or Potter. I think they’re connected at their heart by a hero who is sometimes severely flawed looking for this sort of emptiness within themselves and going on a journey or a quest to find answers.”

Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief opens nationwide from 12th February.


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