Sam Claflin’s film career off to such a big-budget start, having gone from “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” to “Snow White and the Huntsman” to “The Hunger Games.” But the young British actor finds his latest, the Hammer horror film “The Quiet Ones,” a welcome change of pace.
Hammer Films has quite a legacy in the horror genre.
Despite the fact that I hadn’t seen many of the classic Hammer horror movies that they’re kind of famously known for, obviously I’d heard of Hammer horror. So being under that umbrella, I felt like there was a safety net. “OK, I’m safe here. I don’t think it’s going to be an awful movie. If they’re behind it, it’s got to have something to it.” And that was even before I’d read the script. And also what they’ve done over the recent years with “Let Me In” and “Woman in Black,” two films that I hugely, hugely enjoyed and connected with, and realized that especially with what seems to be my kind of target audience at the moment [Laughs] it seems quite fitting.
How does that feel, having a target audience all of a sudden?
It’s really strange. It’s something you can never get used to. There were some girls discussing if I would speak at their funerals or write a eulogy for them — these are, like, 12-year-old kids. It’s scary how obsessed and sort of hungry — obsessed in a positive way! I didn’t mean like literally they would kill themselves if I get ill. But it’s nice to have an incredibly loyal fan-base and people that will go to see my movie even if it’s rubbish. [Laughs]
Do you find you have to avoid things online more now?
So, I have Twitter and I have Instagram, and I also have other forms of social media that I only keep specifically for my friends. What’s amazing about Twitter and Instagram — I’d never put it down — is I feel it’s great for someone who’s in the limelight to have the ability to kind of connect with fans on a daily basis. I mean, I’m not that guy who literally says, “I’m now having a coffee, I’m now sitting down with my coffee, I’m putting one sugar cube in my coffee. Here’s a picture of my coffee. Here’s my coffee drunk.” [Laughs] I just feel like occasionally it’s nice to keep people in the know. But I don’t ever say, “I’m going to be here at this time, please come see me.” I think that could get out of hand.
That’s just asking for trouble.
Yeah. The thing is I’m making myself sound like I have such a huge fan base and that they’re all psychotic. [Laughs] But the people that do kind of dedicate their lives to following my career, it’s amazingly touching and I’m hugely grateful for it. I don’t know, it’s hard to talk about, because I hear myself talking about fans, and I just sound like a douchebag. [Laughs]
I think just having that thought process means you’re probably not.
Oh, good. I don’t know, this is the first time I’ve ever spoken about it. This is a first for me!
You’ve found yourself in some big movies from the start. Was that planned?
“Pirates” was basically just an audition like any other audition, and most of them I wasn’t getting because I wasn’t a name. I wasn’t Robert Pattinson, so I’m not getting that part, or I’m not getting this part because it’s Andrew Garfield, and this one’s Eddie Redmayne, so it’s like, “Ah, I can’t compete, I can’t compete. I’m never going to get cast.” But then “Pirates” just came really out of the blue. I remember walking out of the audition and speaking to my agent and going, “You know what, man? I’m not going to get this. It’s, like, ridiculous. Never going to happen.” And then two days later I got asked to fly myself out to Los Angeles. But still I wasn’t ever expecting to have the opportunity to see that follow through. It’s just kind of organically happened. I mean, “The Hunger Games,” I was a big fan of the first film and didn’t know they were based on novels. But then when I found out who my character I was auditioning for was, I was like, “Wow, this is an opportunity you can’t miss.” But where I go from here is the real challenge.
And now there’s some actor in England going, “Well, I’m not Sam Claflin, so I’m not booking that part.”
And that’s the horrible thing. I hate being that guy. [Laughs] Because my little brother’s an actor, and he’s sort of just starting out. I remember him first of all asking, “How difficult did you find it?” And I said, “Me, I was very lucky. I walked into a room and it was the right moment at the right time. And it’s going to happen with you.” And it has now. He’s very much on his way, and he’s not stopped working. Everyone has their own little pathway, and mine’s been very, very blessed in some way.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick