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Kit Harington On Playing Dane Whitman In Eternals – Exclusive Interview

Kit Harington On Playing Dane Whitman In Eternals – Exclusive Interview

The cast of “Eternals,” the newest edition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, boasts a cast so stacked that even the supporting roles are played by notable stars. Such is the case with Kit Harington, with the former King in the North now playing a normal Teacher in a Classroom. Harington specifically plays Dean Whitman, the human boyfriend of Eternal Sersi. He quickly comes face-to-face with Sersi’s ex-boyfriend Ikarus, played by fellow “Game of Thrones” alum Richard Madden.

Although Dean is only a small part of the story, his impact is felt throughout — from his grace about Ikarus returning to Sersi’s life, to providing a human point of reference for the Eternals throughout the story, all the way to setting up his own future adventures (What, you thought they’d cast such a big name and not have long term plans?).

Looper spoke with Harington about “Eternals.” He told us about why Dane’s so cool with a superhero stealing his girl, being a regular guy in a world full of superheroes, reuniting with Madden, and future plans for a certain Black Knight.

Why Dane's so chill

I’m going to start with a point you raised at the press conference yesterday, or was at least raised about you, which is Dane starts out by having his girl stolen by a superhero, and he’s just kind of cool with it. Why do you think he’s so cool with it?

I think that for me, Dane is a guy who, it was quite important, if I had limited time in the movie to establish him, it was important for me that he be someone you kind of warm to. Right? You need to believe that Sersi’s in love with this guy, that he represents humanity. That she would through him partially want to kind of look out for humanity. That he’d be a warm guy, a funny guy, someone you like. If he’s going to have issues with something he can’t compete with, you’re not going to like him. I made a very early decision, that one of the early conversations I had with Chloe is he’s got to be, have a light touch. He’s got to be kind of likable. I think, he’s got to be quite cool. He just takes this information in his stride, “Yeah, sure. You’ll have many thousands of years old. You’ve got a boyfriend or had a boyfriend that you’re going off with. Okay.”

You touched on it a little bit, but you mentioned how he was kind of cool with the fact that this person’s a superhero. Do you think that is a unique thing to the character? Or do you think that’s just a byproduct of living in the Marvel universe where you have superheroes everywhere?

I think it’s both, but I think when I first sort of was looking at this, I was like, “Wait a minute. How is he sort of finding out that she is this old and all of this without completely freaking out?” Because I didn’t want him to be that, and he wasn’t that on the page. To get around that you have to realize we’re not in this world. We’re in a world where Hulk exists, where Thor exists, where there was the blip. It’s not anywhere near out of the realms of possibility that she might be a demigod who’s thousands of years old. It’s just about the character and who he is as a person, and if he’s cool with it. I think that that’s the person he is.

Auditioning, a Game of Thrones reunion, and Dane's future

A lot of Marvel actors when they audition for these MCU rules, don’t know that they’re auditioning for a Marvel part. Did you know you were auditioning for a Marvel movie?

I did, because I didn’t audition, actually. It was a conversation that happened with Nate and with Chloe about this character. I was quite a late addition into this movie. It was more a conversation rather than, I knew it was a Marvel movie. I knew it was the “Eternals” that I was going into.

You’ve probably been asked variations of this question before, but since you were a late addition, what was it like finding a “Game of Thrones” co-star right across from you in a prominent role?

I mean, it was lovely. I mean, lovely kind of sums it up. He’s a friend and to work with friends is, it’s always a bit odd because you know them in a very different light and perspective. But look, the older you get in this industry, and the longer you’ve been in it, the more people you know who you’re going to be opposite with, opposite. With Richard, I felt very much, and it’s true, I felt this is Richard’s movie. I’m coming in to establish a relationship with Sersi. It was just nice to work with him.

I’m not going to spoil too much for our readers, or for anybody listening, but it’s clear that you and your character are going to have a future in the MCU. There’s a lot of rumors about “Secret Wars” and, I’m guessing you can’t tell me too much, but how much have you been clued in to what’s coming next for you?

I really, and I know that and people just won’t believe me if I say this, so I say it with a huge sigh, but I really don’t know anything. No one does. I Googled who the character is. I’ve seen stuff on the internet, but as far as who I’m playing in this, it’s Dane Whitman in the “Eternals.” I’ve not been privy to any more information than that. I hope I have a future. I hope that this is the start of a longer journey within this world because that’s really the hope that I signed up for.

Chloe Zhao, special effects, and closing thoughts

What is Chloe like as a director?

She’s pretty magnificent. I found the confidence that she exudes pretty amazing. She’s done some phenomenal movies, but this is a huge budget and a huge scale thing. I always felt in very safe hands with her. I mean, I was on this for only a couple of weeks, but in the time I was, and in the conversations I had, I knew I was in very good hands.

Your character, as you mentioned, has limited screen time. We’ve talked about this before, but are there any things you did in particular that you think major characters stand out? What tricks do you have that stand out with limited screen time?

I think you, look, you have to look at the scenes you have, look at the little arc you have in this piece, and just make sure that you get across the audience that you’re not just a device. Sometimes that’s impossible, sometimes with certain parts you are literally a device. I’m lucky enough that I’m an actor who gets a little bit of a say about how, a type of character I want to bring. For me, it was just important that he had a lightness of touch. He was a relatable character that you could like and relate to. That was my main objective in this, is that’s how I wanted to set him up.

Several of the scenes you have are very special effects heavy. I’m guessing you’re a little bit used to that, but what’s it like going on there and being told, “Oh, there’s clones here. Oh, this bus is exploding.” How do you react to that when you can’t actually see it happening?

You just do. I know that sounds a bit of a boring answer, but you just do. You have to kind of, more and more now in film work you have to use your imagination in that way. And try and not just let it be a facial expression, try and let it be a feeling as well. That’s the work. We were lucky in this. There’s a tendency towards, and I hope it doesn’t become the norm of literally working in a green box, or a blue box, with nothing else around you. No set. I think that’s too far. In this, Chloe had us working in Camden on the streets of Camden, and we had to imagine certain elements around it, but we were in an actual, we were shooting on location. That is doable. Working in an entirely green box with nothing built is I think a mistake.

What do you want people to take away from the movie?

I think I want them to take away the idea that they can be anyone in this movie. That they can look at this movie and they can see themselves, whoever you are.

“Eternals” is now in theaters.

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