‘Overlord’ actor talks J.J. Abrams and new film
The new Paramount Pictures dramatic thriller “Overlord” recounts D-Day from the side of the American soldiers, but with a sci-fi twist. The soldiers soon realize that their initial mission to dismantle a radio transmitter is no longer the main objective. Having discovered alarming experimentation occurring in a Nazi-occupied town, the American soldiers now make it their priority to combat the living dead.
Wyatt Russell, the film’s leading actor, took time to chat with The Hofstra Chronicle and other college journalists regarding the new film.
Russell made clear that this movie is not at all meant to be political. He described it as being a “popcorn movie,” meant to be enjoyed by viewers and help relieve the chaos of life. The goal of “Overlord” is not to reinvent this sci-fi style, but rather give an original spin to this part of American history. Russell even acknowledged that the classic film “Saving Private Ryan” is the best World War II movie and that it changed an entire generation’s vision of how they perceived the war. Russell himself has always been interested in World War II. He clarified that the only historical aspect of this movie is that it takes place during D-Day. According to Russell, “If you can’t take it, don’t watch.”
Knowing that this movie was being produced by J.J. Abrams was a true selling point for Russell. Abrams has been involved in creating some of the world’s most iconic sci-fi movies to date, such as “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.” By working with this legend, Russell feels that he has “moved up a league” in his acting career.
When discussing his character, called Ford, Russell found many things he both likes and dislikes within his role. He dislikes Ford’s stubbornness the most. The actor spoke about how in life it is sometimes necessary to have your mind changed and that eventually Ford does go through a change of heart in the film. A characteristic that he likes in Ford is his leadership. Playing Ford was very fun for Russell, and he hopes to always learn from any character he plays.
Although Russell enjoyed his character, playing this lead role came with its own set of challenges. To prepare, the actor attended a boot camp, which lasted about five days. He described the camp as being more mentally taxing than anything else. Throughout boot camp, he was able to get into the mindset of what it felt like to be an American soldier during World War II. For Russell, the boot camp training made the movie-making process more fun as he was able to make stronger connections with his fellow cast members. Not only was this role very taxing on the mind, but it was also physically demanding. To make matters worse, Russell was faced with a case of mono while filming, which made this already difficult role even more challenging.
Russell seemed very carefree with his responses to the questions. He laughed at a few of the questions being asked and was very nonchalant with his answers. When asked if he felt this movie would have any impact on his acting career, he brushed it off and simply responded that he really doesn’t care about those types of things and just likes to be a part of movies. His tone made it seem as if being in movies was just a hobby. Russell spoke about his love for science fiction films; however, what he enjoys more than anything about being in movies is working with amazing actors and directors.
Overall, Russell’s main hope is that people enjoy the movie. He feels that moviegoing has greatly changed due to the easy accessibility of online movie streaming services like Netflix. While nowadays most people enjoy movies from the comfort of their homes, Russell hopes audience members can sit back, relax and enjoy this movie in a theater with friends.
“Overlord” is rated R and out in theaters nationwide.