Most people may recognize Adewale Akinnuoye–Agbaje from his roles in HBO’s Oz or the TV series Lost, but the actor is continuing to expand his acting resume even further, most recently with the prequel film The Thing.
The film is a chilling horror story that follows the journey of a team of Norwegian and American scientists who discover an alien buried under the ices of Antarctica, without realizing the creature is very much alive and they’re in some serious trouble.
We got a chance to catch up with Adewale and get his thoughts on shooting this creature-filled film without the usual CGI effects, his heroes and inspirations.
Find out these tidbits and why the actor feels he has a long road ahead of him in Hollywood below!
GlobalGrind: One of the best scenes in the movie is the part where you’re by the ice bar. Were you really scared when that happened, because that was good acting!
Adewale Akinnuoye–Agbaje: (Laughs) The funny thing is, I watched the premiere the other night and as many times as I’ve seen that, I jumped out of my skin, it’s just such a classic moment. Was I scared? I had to find the emotion of surprise, that’s what it is. And to do that you really go into what you’re looking at and you get lost in it, so that when someone does come up and spook you, then you really are caught (off guard). I told him to take his time, whenever he wanted to come in he should, so I was never expecting. But we did do one take where the whole crew shouted ‘Boo!’ and that really made me hit the roof.
What is your favorite part of the film?
My favorite part was the inspection of the teeth, because it was all going down and people were afraid, and friends were turning against each other. I found that really intriguing because at that point you didn’t know who was the Thing. Even watching the movie and knowing I’ve been in it, I was still saw different things. It could’ve been this person and the way it was juxtaposed and set up, I thought that scene played really well. I love the suspense element of that scene.
And of course, the big scene when the two-headed creature comes out. I have never seen anything as amazing as that! First, in terms of special effects, but it wasn’t even the special effects, they went into painstaking detail to actually create that creature right down to the skin texture. If you touched that skin, you would just shiver because it felt like a human and it was automated so it talked. Its mouth opened and it crawled towards you and blood would spurt, so it was really gross. That was great to see it merging with the face and actually see the Thing itself. That’s the thing that’ll stir nightmares.
When you see something that’s physically there, as opposed to CGI, how was it getting into that scene?
That’s the actor’s job and that’s the tricky thing, because however surreal or unreal the situation, it has to be believable to us who are playing it. The first time it’s always fresh, it’s a surprise and then you have to go somewhere else to get that surprise again. We had the luxury of having creatures, as opposed to a tennis ball at the end of a stick and that really helps your performance because it’s there. When the arm fell off, it fell off, the blood spurted and the tentacles were moving, so that helps you. No matter how many times you see that, it’s still freaky.
You played the trumpet on set during down time, what songs would you play?
Old school jazz. It’s more like kind of Blues, Miles stuff. I like Cuban jazz because it’s a little funkier on African percussions and I was really heavily influenced by Fela Kuti. That’s really what inspired me to pick up the horn really. The way he used to play it was as if he was speaking to you. I tried to emulate that with most of the old school stuff and hip-hop and what have you and just twist it up a bit.