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Armie Hammer thinks big beards are kind of gross

The actor talks about "Free Fire" and being one of the tallest guys he knows.
Armie Hammer
Armie Hammer Credit: Getty Images

Armie Hammer is humongous. He stands at 6’5” — a colossus with a booming baritone voice to match. He sounds big even over the phone. The actor (“The Lone Ranger,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”) looms over most of the ensemble cast of “Free Fire,” a dirty, violent, darkly funny action comedy, in which a dozen or so low-lifes congregate in an abandoned, dirty Brighton warehouse to hash out an arms deal. One thing leads to another, and soon everyone — including Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy and more — are shooting at each other until only one’s left.

Hammer, 30, talks to us about growing a gross beard, still getting recognized for “The Social Network” and his obsession with, of all things, ropes.

As a fellow tall person — who, sadly, is only 6’2” — I have to admit I’m automatically intimidated by the few people who are taller than me. Do you have that problem?
I don’t meet a lot of people who are taller than me. But when I do I am immediately suspicious and consider them suspect.

Who’s taller than you?
Joe Manganiello is almost the same height as me, maybe a little taller. He’s tall and he’s also built like a Howitzer. It’s a dangerous combination.

Are you the tallest person in “Free Fire”?
No, no, that’s Big Tom [Davis, who plays Leary]. He actually ended up being one of my favorite people, on top of being a massive human being. There’s nothing but love.

There’s also an impressive array of ’70s facial hair on all the guys. Though you have a beard now, the one here is pretty full and intense. Beards can be annoying.
It’s a lot of work, man. People think, ‘Oh, I have a beard, so I don’t have to shave.’ No. It takes a lot of work. You’ve got to shampoo it, you’ve got to condition it. I had to put oil in mine. You have to trim it, you have to keep it from looking messy. Honestly, it’s more work than just shaving.

And they’re itchy.
You wind up thinking about it all day. You’re playing with it, you’re touching it. It gets dirty, then you have to wash it again. It’s a really vicious cycle.

I read one unusual thing about you, which is that you’re really into ropes. You’re an aficionado. Tell me why people should get obsessed with ropes.
Ropes are one of man’s oldest tools. Humans were using ropes before they used the wheel. It’s really a skill that goes way back. I’ve worked on so many movie sets and been to so many countries and different cultures. Everyone uses ropes differently, whether it’s a fishing culture or they live in the mountains and it’s a climbing culture. Every culture has developed a different language, but ropes are universal. You could sit down and talk to anyone, anywhere about ropes and you’ll find things that are similar and things that are different. It’s a cool thing.

Admittedly, ropes rarely come up if you live in New York.
You guys really do live a very metropolitan, urban life. You lose touch with a lot of the primitive things that allowed us to develop as a species, to the point where we can build these giant cities. We used these primitive skills that got us where we are now, and now we don’t know how to use them anymore.

Returning to those primitive skills will come in helpful when the world falls apart or there’s a zombie apocalypse. Those of us who sit at computers all day would never survive.
[Laughs] Well, hopefully it never gets to that point.

Are you still being recognized for the Winklevi, the twins you played in “The Social Network”? Do people still think there are two of you?
I mean, let’s be honest: That’s the thing I get recognized for the most. I was walking through Customs the other day, and the guy says, “Wow, you’re really tall.” I was like, “Uh, yeah, thanks.” He said, “You play ball, right?” I said, “No, I’m an actor.” He goes, “Wait: Facebook!” That’s still the one.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

 

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