Eddie the Eagle is the feel good story based on the true story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) an underdog British ski-jumper who overcame every obstacle to compete int he 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. In the film he’s helped by an enthusiastic coach, played by Hugh Jackman, who believes in his dream even if his nation doubted him along the way. Eddie won the hearts of sports fans around the world by making it happen against all odds and participating in the Olympic games. Jackman and Egerton sat down with us to talk about their love for the film, meeting the real Eddie and following real life dreams.
What drew you guys to this film? It is such a powerful film.
Hugh Jackman: I always loved the story. I was 19 I think when Eddie jumped and in Australia we were captured by this guy. He became a folk hero and I think this same reason I loved him there is why I love this movie. It taps into everybody’s desire to find the thing they love, to overcome whatever obstacles they are going to overcome to do it and as a parent now, I watch that movie and I am so thrilled my kids are seeing a movie that finally says you don’t actually have to win to be a winner. You have to give with your heart, you have to give it all you got, and you got to love it. That’s it. It’s okay. That’s enough. You don’t actually have to be LeBron James, you can be the school teacher down the road and be a winner. You know what I mean? That’s what I love about it.
Taron Egerton: For me, it was hard to find a reason not to do this movie. It presented a challenge in terms of the acting and I was a huge fan of Dexter (Fletcher), our director.His movies are brilliant. Matthew Vaughn (producer) who I did Kingsman with and of course Hugh, to work with someone who I admire so much was a great opportunity, so, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has been completely fantastic. It is a joy to be here.
Hugh Jackman: It’s a really un-cynical film too. It’s a rarity these days, right?
Taron, so your character obviously is real, but Hugh’s is fictional. What was the hardest thing that both of you had to do to connect to your characters?
Taron Egerton: I don’t know, it always felt very easy stepping into his shoes. It was in the script that he was a kind of, so kind of likeable on the page that it was someone that kind of, I just really wanted to connect with him and bring to life. It was inspiring reading the script. There was a point in London on a train where I was on the underground system in London opposite (Hugh). There are windows and because it is a tunnel wall behind it, it is totally pitch black, so you can spend a lot of time checking your hair out and being narcissistic, but I was practicing my, kind of trying to figure out what I was going to do, because there was a lot of talk about me having prosthetics and I really, really, really didn’t want to do it, so I was kind of trying to, you know, find a way of doing it without making a mess. So that was one. And then we did a big costume test on the server. I had to walk around with skis when we first got to Germany and there was something about that marching around, and then of course it comes you know when you do the first stuff with Hugh because it is really all in the friendship and dynamic between us.
When they talk about in the movie like, “When you were a kid, didn’t you ever have a dream?” Was acting your childhood dream? You are in the Olympics of acting now.
Hugh Jackman: (To Taron) You are there.
Taron Egerton: I started wanting to act in my mid-teens actually. I was quite late. I used to draw a lot when I was a kid, so I wanted to do animation. My dream was to work for Pixar, you know. I was not good enough to do anything anywhere near that specialist and brilliant. And then when I was about 15, I had friends who were in youth theater. I was always a bit of a class clown, the kind of kid with an answer for everything. I went along and fell in love with it, got the bug and auditioned for drama school a couple years later.
Hugh Jackman: I often pinch myself because I didn’t really start, I got my first job when I was 26, so I went to drama school when I was 22, so it was late, but I had always done acting as a hobby, so I don’t know, I’m like the weekend golfer when someone taps him on the shoulder at age 26 like “Do you want to come on the tour?” and I’m like “What?” I still feel like that. I pinch myself all of the time. I will always try to be careful not to use the word career, because I don’t think it is a right for any actor. It is a great privilege to work on any job and at any point so many brilliant actors out of work, it seems weirdly random and unfair and I’m very, very grateful and I don’t take it for granted. I know Taron doesn’t either.