Man of Many was lucky enough to score an Australian exclusive interview with Taron Egerton, the star and affable “Eggsy” of Kingsman: The Secret Service. We hear from him on the film’s set what he’s been learning from his co-stars and what it’s like playing a super-spy.
What has it been like working with these big names?
It’s been incredible. I think what’s wonderful about working with Colin and Michael and Sam is they’re these giants in the industry, but they all occupy very different fields. Colin is the English gentleman, Michael Caine’s a bit of a working class hero, and then Samuel L. Jackson’s the super-cool Yank. It’s truly incredible. They’re all real gents.
The really striking thing is how normal they all become very quickly. The first day I met Colin it was like, “Oh my God, it’s Colin Firth.” He’s one of my favourite actors, and has been for many years. But he’s just a lovely, normal bloke who has looked after me throughout all this, really.
Do you feel like a classic super-spy?
100%, yes. Completely. I went for a fitting and the suit really started to come to life. I texted my mum after saying, “I never have and never will look as good as this.” It’s incredible. It is James Bond. For a 24-year-old lad from mid-Wales, that’s pretty exciting. Those spy films; you’re raised on them. I’ve always loved espionage films. My dad’s a big film buff and he introduced me to them when I was young.
They always felt like a distant dream. They’re so otherworldly and flamboyant that all the elements in them – the gadgets and things – you don’t even process that they’ve been made to put into a film. All of a sudden I’m here and I’ve got gadgets. It’s amazingly exciting and it’s wonderful to be part of a genre that I’ve always loved.
Have you been tempted to steal some of the gadgets?
I’ve kind of done a bit of a ‘nudge, nudge; wink, wink,’ to Matthew a couple of times. I’m not sure he’s biting just yet. By the end of January I’m hoping to walk away with one of the watches!
What’s been the experience with Matthew?
Obviously, he’s my first experience of a film director, but to me, having been a fan of his films before, what strikes me is his amazing gift for knowing what is cool. He knows what appeals to the big kid in all of us. He knows what we all want to see. I read this script thinking that this was the stuff I used to fantasize about as a little boy. Elements of it are taken from Mark and Dave’s comic but there are little deviations as well.
The way it has been brought to screen: Matthew just knows what works aesthetically, what looks cool and what people feel excited about. He knows how to build something throughout a film, and tie in little themes. He has a great eye for detail. An eye for detail that, as an actor, is incredibly satisfying. There’s nothing worse than when you feel part of your process, or your journey through a project, has got gaps in. He doesn’t tolerate gaps. Everything is watertight. The way he’s spinning so many plates at once, I’m in awe of him. I’m struggling just to do my job!
Have you shot any scenes with Samuel L. Jackson at this point?
No, but I was doing a scene the other day where Eggsy gets himself into a bit of hot water with the police. I walked out – and the scene had gone OK, I was pleased – and I knew Mr. Jackson’s arrival was imminent. I turned around and looked at a monitor, and in front of it was the man himself. I think maybe because it’s someone who’s from across the Pond, and such an icon to meet and spend a day with him and chat to him was lovely. Such a special experience. As a young actor I’d pay to do that, let alone be paid to do it.
He was great and very chatty. He’s very down to earth. That’s been the really heartwarming thing to me. Before starting I felt quite justifiably scared and intimidated. All of these guys have made a real effort to be on a level with me, and Sam was no exception.
What makes Eggsy special?
I think what makes him special is that he’s come from a place where he didn’t have anything handed to him. He’s from a very rough area, from a family that although started off very nurturing and warm, kind of lost its way a little bit with the passing of his father. With a little bit of coercion from Harry, he manages to excel and become quite amazing. I think what makes him special is the fact that he’s able to triumph in the face of great adversity.
Have sequels and the possibly of stardom crossed your mind?
I’m tremendously excited. That’s a world that people only ever fantasise about occupying. For the time being, I just want to make sure I do a good job on this. Whatever happens as a result is what happens as a result. I didn’t become an actor to be famous. I’d love to have the freedom and luxury to be able to do the kind of work I want to do. in terms of walking down the street and people recognising me, I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.
What do you love about acting?
I left RADA a year and a half ago, and I’ve done some wonderful jobs since then – some great plays and a great television programme. It’s always thrilling and exciting when you’re in costume and on wonderful sets. These are things that feed you as an actor and bring the world to life. This is like that on steroids. The detail… I wear this watch in the film which has a tiny pink K that you need a microscope to see. That is the symbol of the Kingsman. All of that stuff is so, so exciting and it makes your job easier in a way, because you don’t have to imagine anything. It’s all there for you.
As I said before, Matthew’s eye for detail – which is how he makes films as wonderful as X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, and KICK-ASS and LAYER CAKE – leaves no stone unturned. If he doesn’t think something’s right, he won’t shoot it. That’s how he makes the magic he makes.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is now available on on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD available today.