Warcraft: The Beginning, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s global phenomenon World of Warcraft, is in cinemas now.
The blockbuster is directed by Moon and Source Code’s Duncan Jones and stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Rob Kazinsky and Daniel Wu.
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home.
So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.
We caught up with Travis Fimmel (Anduin Lothar) and Paula Patton (Garona) to discuss all things Warcraft!
Were you both familiar with the concept of Warcraft?
Travis Fimmel: No, we both weren’t familiar with it, but we’re lucky because Duncan Jones is a fan of the game. And then there’s Rob (Kazinsky) who plays one of the Orcs who was in the top ten in the world at one stage. Playing 18 hours a day!
Travis Fimmel: Yes, he was single at the time!
Was there a lot of physical training involved for both of you?
Paula Patton: Yes, there was quite a bit. I mean, for me they wanted me to look like I could potentially be half-Orc, so aesthetically that began with a bit of training. There was a lot of protein that I had to eat and then two-and-a-half-hours of training per day. Then we added the stunt training and that’s what turned out to be so beneficial – I had to do the swords and sticks and riding a horse… which all helped with the feeling of being a warrior, and finding the character.
You’re the only one (of the Orcs) who’s not in a motion capture suit…
Travis Fimmel (about Paula Patton): A real six-pack…!
Were they going to have you as motion capture at the beginning?
Paula Patton: I don’t know, I heard rumours of that but when I was asked to read it, it was always going to be me… as far as I knew.
That’s what scared me. I just remember that director Duncan [Jones] and I had this great meeting and in the room we both said, I really wanted to be involved in it. And then I got in my car after the meeting and [gasps]… ‘What have I done?! This is so scary – I don’t know how I’m going to be half orc, half human’! And I’ve heard these horror stories about hair and make-up and all of these things and I’d be scared to death. But then this has become a role that changed my life in every way you can imagine.
Travis Fimmel: There’s going to be a lot of teenage boys with green posters on the walls (laughs)… and some adults too!
And how comfortable were those teeth to have in all of the time? They looked really uncomfortable…
Paula Patton: They were something that I had to get used to… (laughs). There was the leakage problem… a bit of dribble, and speaking clearly… so I wore them quite a bit beforehand to stretch my mouth out, so that I could talk reasonably well and not dribble everywhere!
Did you have any injuries?
Paula Patton: You know it’s funny, I got myself a couple of times. You certainly don’t want to have dry-mouth when that’s going on. You have to keep it lubricated. It was uncomfortable and then it became something that I loved and I didn’t feel that I was Garona until I had them in.
Is it weirder now that you don’t have them in?
Paula Patton: Oh gosh it’s been a while now. I wish not that I kept a pair because it makes you feel different – I would do certain calls.
Travis Fimmel: Kah-kuh, Kha-kul!
Paula: Or that!
How did filming Warcraft compare with something like Vikings?
Travis Fimmel: Well, with Vikings you’re lucky as you’re on real boats and you shoot it and the job is finished. They edit and put music on it, but this was such a long process. We’re so lucky though as we’ve got Toby Kebbell etc who we’re still acting with most of the time.
I was blown away when I was acting with Toby and he’s got his pyjamas on and that sort of stuff – the motion capture suit and then you see the film two years later – and I was just blown away with what they can do… and these creatures… you really feel for them because there is a human playing it, and it’s his really eyes… and I think it makes a big difference.
Duncan made a choice not to make a typical bad guy and a typical good guy so there’s good and bad on each side and there are great characters to root for on both sides. It’s not one dimensional in that way – well, it’s three-dimensional isn’t it!?
Toby Kebbell must have been quite a help because he did Planet Of The Apes?
Travis Fimmel: I think that a lot of the other actors who had to wear motion capture suits went to him for advice, yes. He’s such a good actor too.
What was he like on set?
Travis Fimmel: Oh, he was a wanker on set! (laughs).
So much is special effects but there were so many amazing sets that were built. We’d walk into these sheds in Vancouver – these big warehouses – they had built these forests with trees in it, twelve feet wide or whatever and you get to ride horses through them all day. It’s such a different experience. With Vikings you’re sort of… well, you have to hike up a hill and it’s pissing down with rain, and you just want to go home, but this – you’re indoors, not getting rained on. It’s nice!
Paula Patton: It’s like an Alice in Wonderland moment. You open up a tin door and suddenly you’re in another universe. It’s quite outrageous but surreal and you’d have lunch and forget you were actually in Vancouver in a parking lot.
Travis Fimmel: It was six months inside. In the shed.
Paula Patton: The people who built these sets were just magnificent artists. For the props to the paintings to the…
Travis Fimmel: … set designs…
Paula Patton: Unreal… and the costumes! It takes an army. It’s collaborative art-form filmmaking and it takes all of those people doing their jobs at the best they can that either makes a film good or bad – and that way there’s no science to it. It’s the magic that happens… all these personalities, all these talents and gifts come together and create this collective dream.
Of course you have your director – and I really loved working with Duncan, but it was just watching the movie that I realised just what a magnificent job that he had done – it’s really impressive! All the decisions… I’d always seen Orcs and they’d been ugly, and he makes them beautiful somehow and attractive, and all of it. There was a choice in the way it looks – the way you feel where you’re in a theatre – you feel like you’re flying sometimes – you feel that you’re at this odd… I tried to explain to him how I felt when I watched it… because it felt so unique.
When did you shoot it?
Travis Fimmel: A couple of years ago now.
It must be amazing to be in that environment and then see it on the screen. How weird is it?
Paula Patton: It’s very weird. It’s surreal!
Travis Fimmel: My Griffin thing – the flying turkey – was half the time just a broom-stick with a bit of foam on the end and some poor fella wondering what he’s doing with his life. He’s poking me with it, and we’re both trying not to laugh!
ILM, the company out of San-Fran – it’s amazing what they can do. It’s tremendous, and how real the creatures look too. I really think people will get immersed into a different world when they watch the film – well, I hope they do anyway!
You talked about the guy poking you with a stick – were there any other fun moments on set?
Travis Fimmel: It’s always fun when there’s a group of actors on horses. Unfortunately I was the only one who fell off, it was embarrassing. I was the only one who had owned a horse and I was the only one that fell off.
Travis Fimmel (to Paula Patton): Had you ever ridden horses?
Paula Patton: Well no. I think someone pulled one along at a show or something, but no, never.
Travis Fimmel (to Paula Patton): Had you ever killed anyone before? (laughs)
Paula Patton: That I will keep a secret!
Travis Fimmel (to Paula Patton): Have you ever fallen in love with an Australian before?
Paula Patton: Actually, in fact… no I haven’t!
Are you both interested in doing a sequel? Are you signed up for it? When would that likely happen?
Travis Fimmel: I’m broke dude! No, if it goes well it would be great. She (Paula Patton) won’t kiss me off-screen so… may as well make another movie! (laughs)
Warcraft: The Beginning is in UK cinemas now. Watch the trailer for the movie below: