A/V Room









The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Martin Freeman

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. Arthur Dent, cult figure, did you go back and look at the TV, or listen to the radio, or read the book? How did you go about putting your stamp on Arthur Dent?
I went back to the books but I didn't revisit the television series, or the radio series, because I grew up knowing the TV series and I knew what Simon Jones did with it - and very fine it was too. It was part of the reason I thought initially I wasn't going to be good casting for Arthur because I am so different from Simon.
But when it transpired that wasn't what was required, and what was required was a different take on it, once I got the part, I just knew that if they liked what I'd done in audition, that was pretty much what I should bring to the film.
And I think that you've got a pretty good map in Douglas' screenplay; if you follow it, you shouldn't be given a dumb steer. So my job, really, is to get the hell out of the way and let the story come through and facilitate the telling of that story with that character.
I'm obviously aware that this is a character that's very beloved, in this country especially, in a book that's very beloved, so you carry that weight of knowledge but you don't take it to work, otherwise you can't work.

Q. How did you find the experience of working with CGI?
There was a lot of lovely CGI work in the film but not that much of it encroached on the actors.
Garth Jennings: You only had four days of blue screen work.
MF: Yeah, exactly, but for the most part all the stuff that was there, that you see on the film, was there - the Vogons were there, the other strange aliens were there. So it didn't really hamper us, I don't think.
We had to do a bit of pretending to get slapped in a Welsh quarry, but who hasn't?
It wasn't too much of an encroachment. It was still fun for us. The CG stuff is truly breathtaking, I love the CG stuff, but my main stuff was with Bill on the planet factory, and that was hard at times, because I felt a little bit hammy at times (I'm not suggesting Bill did!). But there was the danger of going 'oh look, there's Ayers Rock', and it could be a bit amateur hour, but thank God, we got away with it.
Aside from that, it was either other normal human beings or Sam! No!

Q. Have you found any coincidences or parallels between your life and the actual comedy of Hitchhiker's?
I think the parallel for me was that Arthur was stuck in a world of aliens and people he didn't know, and I was with a load of Americans! It's true, there's nothing wrong with them, but f**king hell, they come over here! [laughs], I can't even say what effect that has, but it must have some effect, mustn't it?

Q. What's it like wearing your pyjamas and dressing gown all day? Does it lull you into a false sense of security?
It's good in one way and bad in another. It's good in the way you can just go to lunch and lie down and no one's going to worry about your thing getting creased. And it's bad in another because Sam, Zooey and Mos all had pretty cool costumes, so you do after a while sort of end up having a grass is greener scenario.
I'm sure Sam probably looked at me and thought, 'oh you lucky..' because it just takes me two minutes to get it on, whereas he had to put his wig on, button himself up, tuck his piece in and all that! And I just had to put my pyjamas on.
But you do get a bit envious after a while because everyone else looks a bit glam and a bit spacey and at the end of four months you do feel like a bit of a slob!

Q. Did you want to dress up?
Exactly, I was wearing dinner jackets at all available opportunities.

Q. Would you be interested in doing a sequel?
I reckon I speak for all of us when I say that if it was going to be the same team, if it was going to be the same cast, and if it was going to be done with the same intent, then that would obviously be very attractive.
But given that the first one has taken more than 20 years to get to the screen, I'm not viewing it as imminent. If it was imminent, then I think we would have to worry about quality control.
But I had a thoroughly good time for a third of the year, when we were filming, and that doesn't happen every time. And I wouldn't mind repeating that if it was done for the same reasons, I guess, and not just becoming 'oh, it'a franchise now and you'll be doing this until you're 45'.
I always think, well let this film come out, and hope it's good and hope people like it and then let's see.

Q. Bruce Willis has apparently said that he'd be interested in doing something with it, what do you think about that?
I think it's fair enough because I'm well up for Die Hard!

Q. If you discovered the world was going to end in ten or 12 minutes time, how would you spend those minutes?
I think I might be looking through my telescope at Bill's flat. He's going to have a better time than anybody!

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