Mundie Moms

Saturday, August 24, 2013

TMI Press Junket Interview: Jared Harris as Hodge

1009035_511188912291187_1070279545_oIn our final interview from The Mortal Instruments we sit down and talk with Jared Harris. He plays Hodge. Find out all about the character we hated to love, and loved to hate.

What you did with Hodge is really amazing. Hodge to me is one of those characters that you kind of get shocked by what he does. At first you think, what a jerk I can’t believe he did that, but you made it believe. Like you saw what he was battling between. He knew stuff but he was stuck in this Institute. You made me kind of feel bad for him where I’d never felt bad for him before.

Jared: Well that’s good. That was part of the appeal of playing the character is that he is conflicted. He knows the right thing to do but he doesn’t do it. That’s always interesting to watch. We’re put in that situation as people all the time. You know what the right thing to do it and you hope you’ll do the right thing. And of course the thing that Harald added to it was that. In the book there is that long scene where he explains why he’s done what he’s done. It’s like nine pages long and you couldn’t have a nine-page long scene in the movie at that point. He decided that it’s almost that Hodge went back on himself over what he’d done, and he decided to dramatize that and use that in the movie.

So Hodge actually steps up and does the right thing in the end. And it was just another interesting twist. Harald, who is the director, loves the character. I think that’s another reason why Moriarty worked is that (Sherlock Holmes director) Guy (Ritchie), he loves villains. He’s interested in them and understands them. I’d say at least half of the success of that performance was down to Guy. He really understood. I think there is an edited version of that movie where probably I made some pretty bad choices and luckily he didn’t use those because he understood how Moriarty was supposed to come across.

I almost want to call him an evil genius. You understood that he believed so strongly in his convictions even if they were wrong. You got that he was so passionate about it. You got both of these characters so well.

The difference is that Moriarty has does not have a moral compass at all. In fact he thinks of it as being chains that constricts his actions and what he wants to do. Hodge definitely has a moral compass. He understands what it is. He’s just been twisted so far off course but he’s aware of how far off course he’s been twisted.

What do you think is one of Hodge’s most redeeming qualities because I think there is a lot of him that we don’t get?

I think, and  this is again one of the discussions I had with Harald, was because he [Hodge] couldn't be around all the kids for as long he's around them and he's training them, he's responsible for their safety and not care about them. And that's sort of part of what motivates the way he turns is that he watches what Valentine is doing to the two of them (Clary and Jace) and at that point he decides, he's the only one who seems them being beaten up in that way and being abused or hurt, killed possibly. He is not brave enough to confront Valentine, he won't be able to best him so he decides to go and distort his plans. But that is something we talked about, you develop these really strong attachment to these kids because you watched them growing up and help them to understand what their role was going to be. Plus you know that their, the whole mythology in the story is that the bloodline is dying out because their losing the war and they won't use the cup to create more shadowhunters. So eventually the idea is that you want a pack full of people and over the centuries as slowly the numbers have gotten thinner and thinner. You also know that these kids are almost like the last of their kind and they're not going to survive either.

What scene was the most fun for you to do?

The fighting scenes? Because when I heard they were doing the fight, oh yeah I gotta get a hold of him and then he grabs it, it was an odd moment.

When you first got the script for Hodge, what was your impression of him?

He reminded me a little of ... I mean you start to play this game when you're taking on a role, who does he remind of you from people in your life and he reminded me of masters at school, when I was a kid at school, certain aspects of them and there was something to me in particularly in terms of the moustache and stuff like that where he sort of somewhere you gotta imagine these people living normal length lives. They wouldn't have lived 200-300 years. He's sort of the retired pilot or something, you know there's a different generation about him that those teachers had to me and a lot of them actually had experience in the Second World War, you know they were retired. There was a certain sort of brusqueness about them, but also that they had favorites amongst the students because they’d be there with the students for seven or eight years. They’d have favorite students and students they didn’t like at all. You’d never catch a break with them. You start to build things like that in your head about the character. For me what I liked about it that we talked about in the very beginning was that switches that you make. You get to make three impressions with that character which is really good and that’s structured into the story. You get to play with the audience and how they feel about your character. That makes for a memorable impression.

I have a question about Hodge seems a bit broken and defeated by outside forces and time and experience so is there anything that has happened in your life that you drew upon in this experience? I'm so sorry if that's really personal.

Are you qualified for this conversation? Do you have a PhD? I’ll hire you as my shrink. Yeah, I mean everyone has stuff you would draw on that you would sit down. And again that was one of the twists Harald made is that, in the book he [Hodge] is actually cursed and he [Harald] wanted to suggest that he was mental, that he cursed himself, that they may have cursed him they may have said, "this is what you're going to do". The suggestion from the story that it exists in his mind rather than some sort of spell that gets lifted in this CGI cloud that lifts up or something. He wanted, part of his whole approach to his story is he wanted the world to seem very real in that sense and that's why we have these huge sets and everything was built and all the stunts were done by the actors and didn't want there to be wires and stuff like that. So that the audience felt that this world was a very real world. And that was one of the sort of the key stones in that idea that it was in Hodge's head, that idea.

I wanted to get him a shrink and a prozac and like hug him, like you know what I mean. I felt bad for him, in the book I was kind of like "whatever" but you made me feel for the character I felt bad for him, in the book I kinda really was like "whatever" you know but you actually made me feel for the character where in the book I was like I can do with or without. Well your portrayal of him I mean, like he didn't see how good he was, like he didn't see how experienced and what a great thing he could've been, a good force he could have been.

Yeah right, that's the idea that he/we used to be, he was bad but there was something about that was again we pulled from the book was that they all came up together and their idea about how to save the world which is what they're literally doing. They had a different way that they thought they should go about it and it went horribly wrong and you had aligned yourself with that. And seeing it go wrong, you're responsible for that so yeah I think he, from that moment on that guy was crippled.

Yeah there's that scene, where Hodge is sitting down and he's like, "Well I got you the cup" and Valentine is like, "You didn't give me the cup." And your character just physically deflates and that's right then I was like, "Oh my gosh that really breaks my heart". And I NEVER felt like that for Hodge, it was just the intensity that you and Jonathan had together on the screen. I mean you brought that, it was amazing that whole scene. What was it like filming that with him?

Well I mean, that moment when he rises up out of the portal was just this whole new energy that started in the movie. It was just this sort of rage and malevolence that came out and everyone certainly went, "Holy s*** that guy has arrived, he's f****** crazy." And Jonathan is incredibly intense, you know he's totally 100% committed, if you could be a thousand percent committed, he would be. He really would work himself up to an intense state 30 seconds before he would start shooting, he would rattle everybody. Yeah well you know to get himself ready so when it's turned on, he's not that way in real life obviously. We worked together on "B. Monkey" so we had a good history with each other and in that sense it was like old mates, muckers meeting up again which worked for the story you know.

Yeah and I loved that they've released a little, couple weeks ago the pictures they have taken of the circle and I love that because you hear, you re-read about it, you mentally visualize it. But then seeing that and seeing that in the movie, it was so great to actually see the connection and the history that Jocelyn, Hodge, Valentine and all these people had, and even Luke, it's kind of heartbreaking to see the disconnect that's now been caused.

Which is, I think again that one of the things why the story works is t( lol at hat it is sort of an allegory  in that sense it's like looking at old family photos of your uncles and your cousins and your mom and dad and everything. They had this entire life before you've arrived and some of the people they don't talk to anymore and why is that and no one wants to talk about it but someone gets drunk at Christmas and start to find a little bit more about them *laughs*.

It's more of a comment that I feel like, I mean I know you know that you guys go into it to make the best movie possible but I think what we've told everybody coming in is that you know we're die hards, like we've been doing this since like 2007. And I feel like even though you didn't go into this [movie] to honor fans, you have done such an honor by staying true to the book and by delivering these performances that generally moved us to the point that we're like, we're not allowed to say anything but we literally wanted to shout into the rooftops and we stayed up until 3 o'clock in the morning talking in our beds and going, "oh my god do you remember this." So I mean a thank you doesn't seem like enough to us because what you did is you brought our dreams come to life.

That's so sweet of you to say that, that exact conversation was one that I had with Robert Kulzer, the producer and Harald and specifically about that first scene with Lily. Where we explained a lot of the mythology of the story and the world and we just kept going back to the book and saying if there's a line in the book that works instead of a line we've written let's use the line in the book. Because we must we wanted to honor the mythology that’s been created and it's really important to do that.


Shadowhunters, the TMI fandom is coming together this weekend to celebrate the release of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, by encouraging fans to go out and see it. We've been working together as a fandom to gather fan reactions, and letting fans know how crucial it is to go see the movie this weekend.

Join us for two weekend movie pushes:

Spread the word, tweet it, post it and join the fun!

We'd love to see the entire TMI series on the big screen. In order to do so, we need to support City of Bones, and help get the numbers where they need to be, to make it happen. Trust us, we know how busy everyone is, and that $ is tight, even spreading the word about this helps. Some fans who aren't able to make it back to the theaters have mentioned they'll be purchasing another ticket or two for showings to help boost ticket sales.

Anything helps, and we GREATLY APPRECIATE all this fandom has done to help us spread the word! THANK YOU!