Ryan Gage previews THE MUSKETEERS and that little-heard-of-movie called THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES
In anticipation of the final installment of THE HOBBIT (in theaters today) and the upcoming second seasons of THE MUSKETEERS on BBC America (premiering January 17, at 9/8c), I spent some time chatting with the movie’s Alfrid and TV’s latest King Louis XIII, Ryan Gage.
Tell me everything possible about season 2 of THE MUSKETEERS?
Musketeers S2 is a darker and more dangerous world than S1. We originally made Season 1 for an 8.00pm audience but it was screened at 9.00pm. This time we have made it for 9.00pm so the writers have been let off the leash to think up new thrilling ways to torment Louis.
What was it about the show that drew you in – was it the history, the timeline, the writing?
I love the book and there have been so many great screen versions (and some less so) of the same story, so I have to confess I wasn’t too keen when I heard they were doing yet another one. However when I saw the script it became clear that they had taken the spirit of Dumas’ world and his characters (the best things about the book, the plot is pretty silly) and created new storylines with them, and I immediately realized that this show was actually going to be great fun. Louis appealed enormously because of his is complexities. He has many flaws, weaknesses and vices but I still feel sorry for him because he is a prisoner in a gilded cage, and would much prefer not to have such a dangerous job where so many people would like to kill him.
Do you have to do specific research into playing a role like Louis? How is it different than playing a purely-fictional character?
I read a couple of historical biographies of Louis XIII before which were informative particularly about his childhood and how he would have been brought up . But our Louis is very different from the historical version so I now sort of think of our Louis as something very distinct from the real king.
What has it been like working with the cast?
The cast are a joy we are great friends and have a blast on set. We’ve been very lucky with our guests and have had so many fun people join us over the last two seasons. They always seem to enjoy themselves and they are all part of the family as soon as they arrive. It’s a great atmosphere on set.
When you get the time to watch other shows on TV, what do you gravitate towards?
I try to catch up shows my friends are in so I recently I been watching GAME OF THRONES for Gwendoline Christie, THE STRAIN for Ruta Gedmentas, FARGO for Martin Freeman and Susan Park. I’m lucky as lots of my friends are in some very fine shows so I get to be a supportive friend and see some great TV.
Talk to me about Alfrid – we met him a bit in the second movie, but what can we expect in The Battle of Five Armies?
You can expect a fair bit more of Alfrid in The Battle of the Five Armies, he has a tough old time of it at points. I really enjoyed making the third film and I’m convinced it will be the high point of the trilogy.
What was filming that movie like – something that sweeping and grand – lot of green screen to work opposite, or on location?
Working on a movie on that scale is just a total buzz. Everyday you go to work and know that incredible artists and crafts people will have worked through the night to create a new wonderland for you to play in. It was a total privilege. Peter, Fran and Philippa are the most lovely people to work for; they manage to make this multimillion dollar enterprise feel homely, you feel very cared for. They are so talented but wonderfully they manage to be lovely people at the same time.
What can you tease for fans of the movie about why this is a movie fans will love?
We had no idea while filming whether Alfrid would live or die at the end of the film. Peter, Fran and Phililpa couldn’t make their minds up. Alfrid is only referred to briefly in the book as one of the Master’s Councillors, and whilst the Master’s fate is made clear, that of the Councillors was up for grabs. I couldn’t possibly tell you what we decided however!! You will have to wait and see.
I’d love to hear more about Hundred Streets, too! Cast looks great – what can we expect from that movie?
Hundred Streets is great project. It’s about London and some of its stories really. It has a great cast. I snuck it in while filming The Musketeers Season 2 so my role is short and sweet, but I like to go and be different people sometimes when I’m spending a lot of time in one role, and Vincent lives in a very different world to Louis so it was perfect.
What else is coming up for you – more movies? More TV?
In a similar vein to Hundred Streets, I recently snuck in a cheeky cameo on Talulah Riley film Scottish Mussel produced by Noel Clarke and Jason Mazza. Again I just do a couple of scenes but the cast was so brilliant (Harry Enfield, etc.) I couldn’t say no. I play a dodgy Glaswegian jeweler which was a chuckle.