While journalists flocked to hang on Hardy’s every word, Edgerton had lots more time to call his own. But this asymmetry on the star-ometer is misleading for three reasons.
Firstly, Edgerton is a massive star in his native Australia, so can relax and enjoy the relative anonymity he experiences in London. He’s not lacking in self-confidence by any means, no doubt helped by Hardy’s recent admission that, if it came down to it, the Aussie could “take” the Brit any day. And finally, because, if a cool breeze is blowing through his publicity sheet, it could all be about to change.
“It’s the year of the Bs,” says Edgerton, confirming he is set to star in Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial planned drama about Osama Bin Laden.
“Before that, I’m back to Australia to film Baz Luhrmann’s remake of The Great Gatsby. So this is the year, but then I’ve been saying that for about ten years now, so no prisoners.”
It’s true, Edgerton has done his time. Since climbing up the TV pole with popular drama The Secret Life of Us, the man listed in IMDB with “defining feature: cheekbones” has spent the last decade to-ing and fro-ing across the Pacific, appearing in a diverse catalogue, from
Aussie epic Ned Kelly (alongside his late pal Heath Ledger) to a don’t blink part in Star Wars: The Revenge Of The Sith. It seems he’s loving the whole thing:
“The best part of being an actor is that flexibility, the chance to experiment with a safety net. One minute, I’m learning how to fly a space machine, then I’m learning to play polo for Baz, or spending months training to be a martial arts expert.”
This brings us to Warrior, a genre action film, where two brothers, torn apart by family dysfunction, both take up their lost skills in martial arts in order to conquer personal demons, enter a lucrative contest and ultimately meet – who knew? – in the competitors’ ring.
Edgerton is a celebrated quasi-hippy in his outlook – once photographed with Ledger on an anti-war march in Melbourne – so how does he reconcile this stance with the inevitable blood flow in Warrior?
“I’m a pacifist,” confirms Edgerton. “So this kind of fighting has to have its place. And that’s not on the streets or the yards where people are neither marshalled nor protected. This way, it becomes about skill. I spent months training with guys who fight competitively, and their motivation is actually the opposite of violent. It’s about channelling it somewhere – it’s almost art.”
Edgerton’s curiosity about all things film has extended behind the camera. Three years ago, he teamed up with brother Nash to make feature-length drama The Square. This was well-received by critics in Australia, but failed to light box office fire, despite a formidable marketing effort. Has he been burnt by the experience?
It has its place,” reflects Edgerton. “We learnt so much from the experience. My brother and I are best friends, so to have the chance to work together was precious in itself. And we didn’t technically lose money... so I guess you could call it a creative working holiday. Plus, it’s given me so much more insight and respect for the directors I’ve worked with since... just invaluable.”
But back to the current day, life in front of the camera and, with it, travel across the world. “It’s a period in my life when I’m single, footless and fancy free, I have no responsibilities, no anchors. Work, friendship and self-improvement, that’s me.”
Warrior is in cinemas across the UK this week. Watch the trailer below: