Jul 19, 2013

    The Lone Ranger is part of my background

    Award-winning English actor Tom Wilkinson, who plays railroad magnate Latham Cole in The Lone Ranger, has starred in a long list of movies, television shows and theatre plays.

    But the 65-year-old veteran says his latest film by the team behind the Pirates Of The Caribbean blockbuster franchise is undeniably the biggest production he has worked on.

    Wilkinson talks about playing the baddie in The Lone Ranger, which is showing in cinemas now.

    What was it about this film that attracted you to the project?

    The Lone Ranger is part of my background. If you're my age, you may remember the TV series (which ran from 1949 to 1957) and, before that, you may remember the comic books, which I was brought up on while growing up in North America.

    How would you describe your character in the film?

    I play Latham Cole and he is, in a sense, one of the founding fathers of the United States.

    He is a sort of venture capitalist who has a vision of the US united by a railroad. He is a railroad builder.

    It's not only an opportunity to make money, but also - as far as Cole is concerned - part of a vision. There's a sense that there was a potential for a unified greatness in the country, which the founders of the US wanted to hasten.

    Is there more to Cole than meets the eye?

    This is a man who is not overly fastidious about how he gets what he wants, and there is a certain sort of moral ruthlessness about him, in the sense that he will trample on people who attempt to get in his way.

    He's wholly negative and, certainly, nefarious. What he does, in every sense, is illegal. But he has to do what he has to do.

    What was it like working with Armie Hammer, who plays John Reid the Lone Ranger?

    Armie is a smashing guy.

    I first came across him in The Social Network (2010) and I was very impressed by his acting. I think he's the perfect casting choice for the Lone Ranger.

    Did the recreation of the American West in the film affect your performance?

    A set in itself doesn't change your performance. If it's going to be a bad performance, it's going to be a bad performance, regardless of where you are.

    But what (the team) have created is just mind-blowingly spectacular and the design values and stuff that you see in this movie are just incredible.

    How would you describe working with director Gore Verbinski?

    The organisation of thousands of people and the fact that he can do it with such equanimity is amazing.

    At no point did you see him fly off the handle or sulk - he just deals with any problems.

    What did you think of the scale of the movie?

    It's big and it's meant to be big.

    When you are making a movie, you have no idea what it's going to look like and the grandiosity of the vision.

    You can guess it, but it's only when you see it up there (on a screen), that you think, "Oh, that's what I was doing for all those months. I get it now."


    The Lone Ranger is showing in cinemas.