John Hurt talks about “Snowpiercer” role

Warning: This following interview and article contains spoilers for the film Snowpiercer.

Back in May, we posted a trailer for John Hurt’s (Mr. Ollivander) upcoming film, Snowpiercer. Now, a new interview with the actor reveals some of his thoughts about his character in the film, and more. If you haven’t seen the film, yet, make sure you check out the trailer and find out more about the film first!

On his character, Hurt says,

He is certainly shadowy, but he is shadowy for a reason. Even though I still am not entirely certain what the reason is. But Gilliam does believe in the status quo, and we know that because he created it. He started all this with Wilford. He knows it isn’t going to work any other way because you can’t keep control of a microcosm of humanity any other way. It’s all to do with control and who gets to have control. The film is about church and government and everything else. It’s full of possible interpretations. But I must say, this film has caused me an enormous amount of controversial conversations with audiences.

Hurt further says,

People want to talk about the film, about life, about morality, everything. Because as far as Gilliam is concerned, he believes in the status quo, but he also sees himself as a true humanitarian. I mean he has literally given his limbs to these people. But…

On the complexity of the character he plays, he says,

Well, I liked that about Gilliam, that he is so conflicted, because I don’t think anything is cut and dry. I don’t think anything in your life or my life is cut and dry.

On the relationship with another character, Hurt says that of his character,

My feeling is, he knew Wilford before the freeze, and Wilford said to him, ‘We have to do this. If we don’t do this, what will happen?’ Perhaps my character had some money to pay for the train. But he certainly went with Wilford’s plan. His humanitarian pretentions were greater than Wilford’s because while he supports and believes in the status quo, he wishes it could be different. And he would love it if Chris Evans’s character (Curtis) could carry out his revolution. But he knows in his heart it cannot be that way because if it did, there would be chaos.

Hurt also discusses his career and what he looks for in future projects:

I am totally the victim of other people’s imaginations. If they say, ‘We think you’d be great in this,’ then I say fine (laughs). But seriously, I do have a criteria. First, it must stand the chance of working on the level it is intended to work on. Regardless of the genre. That is, if the character, regardless of how long or short it is, has something I can offer, that is individual.

The film certainly sounds intriguing! Make sure you read the full interview here to find out more about Hurt’s career and thoughts on the film. The film is out now at limited cinemas across the US.

Are you planning on seeing it? Or have you seen it already? What do you think?

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  • Matt

    I saw the film recently. The concept was intriguing – having everyone exist on this pseudo post-apocalyptic train that circumnavigates a now “frozen” world. But ultimately the plot’s reliance on the cliched “class warfare” wasn’t anything new. Plus while we know there has to be the obligatory South Korean lead roles given the film’s director’s background, the two SK leads were terribly lackluster in portraying their characters. It’s deserves a one off watch, but IMO it might be better to wait till a DVD/Blu-Ray release. It’s not worth the expenses of a cinema.

    • Do you see many movies? It wasn’t about class warfare. It was about capitalism and the inability of people to imagine an “outside” (no pun intended) and it intersected with DeLillo’s Cosmopolis. Not Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis.