Jude Law isn’t too sympathetic if you’re an American having trouble grasping his Scottish accent in the new English submarine picture “Black Sea.” “Imagine what it’s like for us when we watch your films,” he playfully charges back. “American accents are sometimes so hard. You have to listen harder.” Humor is important when it comes to “Black Sea,” a dark thriller in which down-and-out mariners take to a rusty submarine to hunt for Nazi gold on the sea floor. But it never quite got Law down.
How Law adjusted to working in tight confines: “It may sound straightforward, but it’s a sense of knowing you can’t let people get on your nerves. You have to let go of personal space. As an actor and with a piece like this, it was incredibly helpful. It added a wonderful element and solved certain issues; this is the space, play it as real. There’s a big difference between being in a room this big and playing a drama and [a movie like “Black Sea” on a sub].”
He likes challenges: “Every part in every film has its hurdles. That’s often part of the fun. It’s not like I said I’d do this film but I don’t like confined spaces. … I love the physical stuff. It was nearly a week we spent on the sea, and towards the end we were getting rather wet. I loved all that stuff. It was hard work, but it’s like being a boy, pretending you’re on a submarine. I got to do it kind of for real.”
That time Law spent time with actual submariners: “There was a lot of singing, a lot of very rude language and insane humor. A lot of ribbing. I went on a royal naval submarine. There was a way they communicated with each other. It was mostly incredibly derogatory. They’d put each other down all the time. But you’d have to laugh at it. You couldn’t take yourself seriously. Weirdly, that started to seep into us as a team.”
Did anyone pick on him?: “No one took the Mickey out of me —at least not in front of me. Dear Bobby [Schofield], who plays Tobin [a teen who joins the team] —it was his first film. He got a lot.”
That accent: “It’s a very specific Scottish accent. … I like the idea of hinting at where he came from. It made sense that he didn’t sound like a Southeast Londoner, which is my accent. Nor indeed did we want him, for obvious reasons, to sound rather generally upper class. We wanted him to come from somewhere coastal. I liked that he was an echo of his father’s experience at the hands of the powers-that-be. Aberdeen is this coastal town, actually called Granite City, known in the ’70s for having this huge dock that was shut down by the government. I had this idea that his father was one of those guys who lost his job and his dignity, and now it’s happening to him.”
Does he have a favorite role?: “It’s always the last one I play. In truth it really is. Because it’s usually the one I remember best. [Laughs]”
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