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The Last Stand - Jaimie Alexander and Johnny Knoxville interview

The Last Stand

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JAIMIE Alexander and Johnny Knoxville talk about some of the challenges they faced while making The Last Staand with Arnold Schwarzenegger, including resisting the urge to say too many one-liners.

Jaimie also talks about performing stunts and working with CGI, while Johnny recalls his appreciation for Arnie. They were both speaking at a UK press conference for the film…

Q. Johnny, you were a teenager during the days when Arnie was making his big action movies, was he a hero to you?
Johnny Knoxville: Absolutely. I signed on as soon as I heard that it was an Arnold Schwarzenegger film. I was very relieved after signing on, when I read the script… I was very happy to work with Kim Ji-woon. He is a brilliant director. But Arnold was the main reason. I was a huge fan growing up, as I am now.

Q. Did Kim allow you to push your character? He’s quite crazy…
Johnny Knoxville: Yeah, he’d do the first take or two off the script and then I’d just kind of wonder off the page and he totally supported that. I know it drove Arnold and Jaimie crazy sometimes [laughs] but they were very kind about it.

Q. Jaimie, Arnold has just described you as a great action hero. The last time we saw you in Thor you were levelling a small American town, and here you’re levelling another small American town. What do you have against small American towns? And how was working with Arnold? Was he an idol of yours?
Jaimie Alexander: I grew up in one in Texas. So, I think they thought ‘I think she’ll feel at home here’. No, we actually shot Thor about 30 miles from where we shot The Last Stand, so it was great to be back with some of the same crew. I can’t think Arnold enough for sort of mentoring me on set and gave me a lot of courage to do what I do now.

Q. Johnny and Jaimie, was it difficult not to accidentally drop in one of the catchphrases?
Johnny Knoxville: No, I didn’t step into too many catchphrases on the set. I was doing my best to remember by own lines. But he was very generous on the set and kind to evertyone/. I was very intimidated when I first met him because of all the things that he’s accomplished. But he just goes out of his way to make everyonre comfortable. So, when someone is so generous, he doesn’t want to hear me do his catchphrases and I’m very bad with accents anyway.

Jaimie Alexander: I did it! Not when he was listening because I’m actually terrible at it. Zach Gilford would do it a lot and one evening he had come in during the scene where we were supposed to check for tyre marks. I don’t know if Zach was tired or what but he just started going off into his voice. I was like [motions ‘stop, stop’] because Arnold was right behind him. But he kept doing it and I was like ‘okay, dokey!’. But Mr Schwarzenegger has a great sense of humour and I think he’s OK with people doing that. It’s what people love and what makes them happy, so you do it out of joy and respect as well.

Q. What line did you do?
Jaimie Alexander: [Blushes] Run, get to the chopper!

Q. How many takes did you require for the telephone poll scene?
Johnny Knoxville: Oh man, I’ve had so many concussions that I really can’t remember!

Q. Did you ever get to work out with Arnold on-set?
Johnny Knoxville: No, I didn’t. He would go to the gym and I would go to the bar!

Q. And Jaimie, did you do much training for this?
Jaimie Alexander: It’s a lot of work. I did two hours of weight-lifting for the first Thor and eight hours of stunts every day, so it was 10 hours of physical activity and it was hard to keep weight on. It’s a lot of work. Arnold is right when he says that you do have to have a goal. And my main goal wasn’t aesthetics, it was strike, because my weapons were very heavy and there were times when… I actually sat down one of the times and started crying because I was very, very tired and very disorientated and the beginning because I wasn’t used to that kind of training. But then you get used to it and you remind yourself every day of why you’re doing it and just keep going.

Q. What are your thoughts on the use of CGI in action movies?
Jaimie Alexander: I think when it comes to fight sequences I don’t really appreciate CGI as much but you take more measures to be safe because you’re actually fighting another person. I think if you have creatures and that sort of thing you have to use CGI. But with The Last Stand I really enjoyed that every fight that we all had we actually did ourselves and had to really make sure that we knew what we were doing. I grew up loving that kind of stuff. I was in my high school wrestling team…

Jonny Knoxville: Didn’t they have an all-male wrestling team?

Jaimie Alexander: Shut up Johnny! In the beginning, yes! But I enjoy learning all the choreography and doing all the stunts. I’ve never been a dancer but for some reason if you give me a sword I can do it.

Q. Do you have a favourite Arnie catchphrase?
Johnny Knoxville: Fuck you, asshole!

Jaimie Alexander: Mmm, I think I said mine. [In Arnold accent] Run, get to the chopper!

Read our interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger