In The Heart Of The Sea – Cast & film maker Q&A

HOTS-01742QUESTION: Were you really eating those hardtack ship biscuits?

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: Can I say something about that? The hardtack was amazing; it tastes like gingerbread or something.

TOM HOLLAND: Yeah, it was so good.

BENJAMIN WALKER: It was heavenly, buddy.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: They were props, so you’re not meant to eat the props or the set food. And it comes out, and they’ve got this little box of it, and in the scene we have to break off a piece, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is delicious.’ So, in between the scenes, I was thinking, ‘This is awesome.’ Then the props guys would say, ‘We don’t have much, stop eating it.’ We’d say, ‘It’s fine,’ and then just keep sneaking more and more of it [laughs]. And then later, once I’d eaten, I’d had a taste of it and thought, ‘This tastes horrible.’ So in that state of being starving, it was delicious, but it probably wasn’t to anyone else.

TOM HOLLAND: I was lucky during that scene because I was the first person to take a piece, so I would just take the biggest piece from the pot.

RON HOWARD: And there were a lot of takes [laughs]. ‘Could we do another one, Ron? I think I can do a little better.’

TOM HOLLAND: ‘Just one more take.’

QUESTION: Ron, you talked earlier about leadership. Can each of you talk about how your own leadership abilities informed your directing, and how Chris’s informed his performance?

RON HOWARD: Well, that aspect of my job varies from movie to movie and cast to cast because my job is to channel everybody’s efforts and fulfill possibilities of the story. And in doing so, I’ve learned over the years to identify fairly early what various actors need. It’s not always cohesive and consistent, but I try to create an environment where the talented people in front of and behind the camera can inform it, and I shape it. So it’s a little bit more like being an editor-in-chief of the talents that they have to offer here.

Early on, I had to let people know that this was important. In the early auditions, when the exercise regiments and the dieting began, I had to be aware and let people know that living up to this was a job requirement. But, very shortly, particularly these Chris and Ben, and also Cillian Murphy, were so committed and dedicated to it that I didn’t have to keep watching it or pushing it as we went through the movie. I could concentrate on helping them create, despite the difficult circumstances, and to give great performances and fulfill the possibilities of these scenes, and it wasn’t just the leads. There’s an element of it that’s ensemble, and everybody kind of had their moment or two or three. I felt like the whole group was really inspired in the way that they would acknowledge that this was a scene built around another character, and they were there with the emotions and the support to make it happen. So, to be honest, I will never forget the commitment that these guys, and the entire cast, made on behalf of the characters they were playing in this movie. It was really inspiring.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: It’s interesting, I remember Ron saying, early, before we started shooting, ‘You’re going to need to be the example. Everyone’s going to be hungry and tired and so on, but I need you to help lead the charge and keep everyone positive.’ And I actually turned up late in the piece. These guys had already been together for probably three or four weeks, and I’d been shooting something else. So I definitely felt a little anxious about being the new guy at school yet having to play the kind of leader of that group. But I’ve got to say, I didn’t need to do any of that because there was already such a commitment from everybody. Everyone had the same passion and excitement, and wanted to the story justice. I felt like a part of a great, tight unit.

RON HOWARD: Of course, little did I know, he was sneaking frickin’ hardtack on me [laughs].

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: It’s because I was fed, yeah [laughs].