With its on demand release at the end of the week, Hammer of the Gods, sets the stage for its star Charlie Bewley to become king among Vikings as well as the movie screen.
Set in Viking Britain in 871 AD, Hammer of the Gods is a visceral, intense tale set in a world whose only language is violence. A young Viking warrior, Steinar, played by Charlie Bewley, is sent by his father Bagsecg, the king, on a quest to find his estranged brother, Hakan, who was banished from the kingdom many years before. In his journey to find his brother, Steinar also finds himself, and the strength to become the leader of his Viking tribe.
Hammer marks the feature film directorial debut of award-winning television director Farren Blackburn. It is also the first starring role for Charlie Bewley, best known for his work in the Twilight films and his recent guest role in the television series The Vampire Diaries. Bewley leads a star-studded cast including James Cosmo (Bagsecg) from Game of Thrones and Clive Standen (Hagen), of Vikings.
Bewley was one of the first actors Blackburn saw for the role of Steinar, “We did see a lot of other guys for ‘Steinar’ but I always for some reason came back to Charlie as the sort of very first guy I met so it was meant to be I suppose!”
On his character ‘Steinar’ , Bewley has said, “He starts very much conflicted, for want of a better expression-odd one out in ‘viking-ville’. And because he’s a prince he kind of gets away with it. He gets away with the fact that he doesn’t believe in typical Viking methodologies, the way they go about their business. And it’s only because he‘s a prince that he gets away with that, and he has a band of brothers, who are there almost to protect him from himself, and what he believes in. The real journey my character goes under and takes on, it’s almost compromising between his beliefs and the darkness that he sees. He’s calculated when he has to be very ruthless, but it doesn’t run in tune with his character and the rest of the movie, he spares people; he’s merciful. He does not condone death in a sporty fashion like the rest of the Viking’s do, which gets him into a lot of trouble. There’s kind of a contradiction in the way he fights, because it is just ruthlessly efficient and it’s just an absolute pleasure to be able to play that guy.”
On working with Clive Standen, who plays Hagen, Steinar’s oldest friend, “He’s a character man, like I watched on you tube some of the fighty stuff he does, and he’s clearly very competent. It looks great on camera, just a very, very solid actor who is physically gifted. Having done lots of Thai boxing, he’s formidable in terms of his technique. I think the way that we complement each other is that I have that red mist and he has the technique and somehow we come together and just make one awesome fighting component. Really there was some kind of competitiveness there, but there was also a massive amount of mutual respect, I don’t feel like Clive and I are in competition, it’s just like that sort of moment-to-moment competition. He’s just a wonderful, wonderful guy.”
On working with Blackburn, “Farren is an extraordinary character. I can’t believe this is his first feature number one. The way he just knows what he’s doing already in features – he’s now a BAFTA winning, TV director. He is brilliant at the business side of things; he will pull together a production he could produce very, very easily. He writes, he’s multi-talented – I wouldn’t call him a control freak, but he kind of his. (Laughs) I get on with him so well, the relationship between him and I was seamless. Either he was being really nice or he didn’t do too much wrong, like I was pretty much on the money with this character. I met him a long time before I was even cast and we had a great relationship. All I can say is I hope I can work with him again in the future.”
Bewley’s cast mate Clive Standen seems just as impressed with the actor as he was with him. On working with Charlie, “Charlie Bewley is a force of nature! What was great about this film was rather than being put up in hotels, we all made a decision for the lead actors to stay together in a cottage in Wales so not only were we filming together we were living together and we were working out together and pretty much just living in each other’s space for three whole weeks before we moved locations and then we moved into hotels but it was a good way for me and Charlie to bond because the relationship that Hagen and Steinar have is quite a deep-rooted one and um, we found the easiest way to get to know each other was by doing crazy workouts. Charlie is a bit of a fitness fanatic and um we’d be out every hour of the day that we had off, doing push ups, doing crazy workout routines and there’s nothing better I think to bond as men than a bit of testosterone and putting the world to rights while lifting up heavy weights! We did a lot of chaos training, which is just never doing the same routine again, lifting up everything from kettle bells, sandbags, using our hammers and our weapons as tools to kind of use instead of weights, and Charlie and I bonded quite well during that time which hopefully you’ll see on-screen. Charlie’s great, Charlie’s really dedicated he works really hard to kind of get the character across on-screen – physically and emotionally – We had many a good conversation at four in the morning over a bottle of whiskey talking through our characters and it may seem funny but it’s actually really beneficial for the film and for Charlie and myself relationship together on the screen.”
Why you should watch this film, Bewley says, “How can you not enjoy this movie man! Even if you just slice it up and take each scene as it comes, because we shot completely out of sequence, I can’t even start to put pieces together myself. But even if you take each scene as it is you would be massively entertained by a bunch of abstract Viking sketches of violence and debauchery, what more could you ask for, for a civilian.”
Magnet Releasing‘s Viking epic Hammer of the Gods will be released on demand May 30 before its theatrical release on July 5.
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Note: all quotes used with permission and unedited. Quotes are property of Magnet Releasing & Vertigo Films