Armie Hammer's breakthrough role came playing the Winklevoss twins in the critically acclaimed fact-based drama, The Social Network. Hammer followed that up with a co-starring role in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar Hoover biopic opposite Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, a role that earned Hammer his second Screen Actors Guild award nomination (his first came as part of The Social Network's ensemble). And now Hammer's showing off a totally different side in Mirror Mirror, playing a prince who gets robbed and stripped of his clothing by dwarfs, falls for Snow White (Lily Collins), gets put under a 'puppy love' spell, and finds himself engaged to marry the evil Queen (Julia Roberts).
At the LA press day for the Relativity Media release, Hammer talked about the appeal of Mirror Mirror, licking Julia Roberts' face, and how this version of the classic Snow White story puts a feminist twist on the tale in which instead of the Prince saving Snow White, it's the other way around.
On saying yes to make a fool of himself as the Prince:
Armie Hammer: "My agent was terrified. He was like, 'You can not be a dog! You can not be a dog in a movie. What are you talking about? You're not going to do this? We're going to get that cut from the movie.' I was like, 'Come on, relax. It'll be fine.' It's the kind of thing where I guess if you have to do it you might as well go for it or you just look stupid."
"It was fun, man. It was fun just to get to go to that place where it's not like you're doing a heavy drama where you have to show up on set in the right headspace and focused on your work. You're making a movie where you're play fighting and you're playing with swords and dwarfs and giants and this and that. It was like a fun escape for the kids."
On licking Julia Roberts' face:
Armie Hammer: "I don't remember if licking her face was actually in the script or something that we just kind of came up with on the day, but either way that was the first day of work and my first day of working with her. So, I was like, 'Yeah. Nice to meet you. Are you ready?' That was basically it."
"I remember the first time that I licked her, she threw her heard back and did that iconic Julia Roberts laugh. I remember just being, like, 'Wow. Okay.'"
On being on the set with Julia Roberts:
Armie Hammer: "I think if you're intimidated by her it's because you look at her and you think of everything that she's done, all the movies, all the accolades, all the this and that, everything she's earned which is great. She has earned them all, most definitely, but when you work with her she's just professional. She's sweet. She's on it. She never didn't know her lines. She always knew exactly how she wanted to stand and how she wanted to do this. She was specific about everything. It was like watching a professional who's been doing something for a long time, but actively perfected what they were doing. She's smart. They'll put a lens on and she'll go, 'What size lens is that? Oh, okay, so I have to hold this up here instead of down there. Got it.' You're like, 'Wow, she really just knows everything.' It's like she's just paid attention since she's been doing this."
On this feminist twist and not getting to rescue Snow White with a kiss:
Armie Hammer: "[...]I never grew up reading or fantasizing about fairy tales. I was always too busy, like, outside being a kid. So, to me, I thought that it was interesting that you turn it on its head, Snow White kisses the prince. Why not? Why would she? Well, because the prince is tied to a chair at the time. It turns everything on its head, but it made it a more sort of like interesting Snow White than just the girl in the castle, this and that, the prince shows up, kisses her and saves the day. Hurrah. This was hopefully more fun to watch."
On the status of his career and how it's exploded over the last few years:
Armie Hammer: "Well, fortunately I've been so terrified by the work that I've had to do, like in terms of not messing up when I'm standing next to Johnny Depp or not forgetting this or doing a good job on this line. I've been so distracted by that I haven't been able to get caught up in all of that. So, fortunately, I've just been motivated by, like, the fear of failure, to not be distracted and just focus on the work."
On his attitude toward Hollywood and being an actor:
Armie Hammer: "I was having a conversation with someone on set about this where it's like if you're an actor on set someone will come up to you at some point during the day, it's a given, and go, 'Can I get you anything?' And they're not coming up to you to say, 'You're so special. You're so awesome. What can I, a humble servant, do for you?' What they're saying is, 'Look, as soon as they're ready to shoot this scene, if they have to wait five minutes because you ran off to craft to get a sandwich that's going to cost them $35,000 for just not shooting when they could be shooting.' There's a number for how much it costs per second and it's really high. So, you get these people on set who go, 'Can I get you something because you can't leave this spot?' So, someone will bring you a water or something like that. It's easy to lose track of the fact that they do that because they need to keep track of you and not because you're special. Then all of a sudden these people get off the set and they realize, 'Everybody should ask me if I want something. I want a Perrier. Not a Pellegrino,' or whatever it is. It's easy to see how these monsters are kind of created. So, I try to just step back from all of that and just keep it as a whole thing."
On the popularity of fairy tale projects right now:
Armie Hammer: "I know exactly why it's happening, because Hollywood has no imagination and if one fairy tale thing works, they're going to do a million fairy tale things at the same time. It's the same way that it was Armageddon and then Deep Impact and then the vampire movies and then the this and that. It's trends. It's all about trends. 'That trend is working? That over there, they're doing something right. Do that! Do that!' Then it's like, 'Yeah. We're three years late for that now.' 'Crap. Wait. New trend. Let's do that now.'"
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More on Mirror Mirror: Julia Roberts and Lily Collins Press Conference