Garrett Hedlund doesn’t tend to do silly. He does brooding (“Tron: Legacy”) or laconic (“On the Road,” “Inside Llewyn Davis”). With “Pan,” from “Pride & Prejudice” and “Hanna” director Joe Wright, he kicks things up a gear. The pricey fantasy is a Peter Pan origin story, and Hedlund plays the younger Captain Hook, here given the first name James and not only more of a cowboy — and still sporting both hands — but a good guy who befriends Levi Miller’s Pan upon his first, hectic trip to Neverland. Hedlund gets to act oversized and speak in a ridiculous voice. Considering how much he gets into character, he found it a nice change of pace.
I spent a good stretch trying to think what the voice you’re doing here reminds me of, and eventually I decided it was John Huston. Am I even in the ballpark?
I have a funny story about that. When I first met with Joe, we talked about how Hook would sound. He saw Hook as someone who would have been out of a John Ford film — who would have been happy if he wasn’t in Neverland but on a horse on a prairie. But when I first met with him, I thought about when I was doing “Troy.” Peter O’Toole [his co-star], I was so fascinated by him and so in awe of working with Peter O’Toole. He would come up to me and say, [slips into spot-on O’Toole voice] “Garrett, my boy…” I think I was trying to do some of that. And Joe said, “ It’s wonderful! It’s like a classic old American!” And I just kept my mouth shut. It’s toned down, watered down. If I was to say I was just doing Peter O’Toole people would say, “You are a horrible actor.”
Peter O’Toole is not a bad meet for your first big film.
I was given “The Ruling Class,” with Peter, by Brian Cox [another co-star] to watch. He said, “You’ll get a kick out of this because Peter’s dancing around, flamboyantly prancing through this field. You’d get a kick out of seeing him then versus now.” Peter would be smoking a cigarette and walking up the stairs, and somebody would say, “Peter, do you ever think about quitting smoking?” He’d say, “Maybe I should quit stairs.”
Do you tend to be watch a lot of movies anyway?
I grew up watching “Bonanza” and stuff like that. It wasn’t films. We had one movie theater in our town that played one movie every weekend, and it was really behind on the times. I think “Men in Black II’ is just coming out now in my town. My dad would spend money on trying to provide for his kids, so that didn’t include paying for films. Because you could watch it on television.