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Sam Claflin on ‘Journey’s End’ and playing “damaged” characters

SCREENDAILY – For Sam Claflin, it was seeing Journey’s End on the stage that first ignited his passion to play the role of young First World War officer Captain Stanhope. The Suffolk-born actor was in his second year at London acting school Lamda when students in the graduating year presented the 1928 RC Sherriff play.

I just remember being completely spellbound,” says Claflin. “Being completely in awe, not only of the performances, but the story and the characters and the relationships and the world that was created. I remember sitting there in the audience thinking, ‘I have to do this play. I have to somehow find a way of doing this professionally.’”

That chance seemed to come when theatre director David Grindley, who had mounted a successful version of the play in 2004, sounded out Claflin about starring in a revival. “We sat in the Groucho, and I was basically swearing, very excited,” recalls the actor. “But we couldn’t. I was in the middle of doing The Hunger Games. There was an array of scheduling conflicts.”

Instead, the 2010 Screen International Star of Tomorrow became attached to a film version, adapted by Simon Reade and produced by Reade and Guy de Beaujeu — who had previously collaborated on the 2012 film version of Michael Morpurgo’s First World War novel Private Peaceful. After two years of rather tentative momentum, the film finally came together for a pre-Christmas shoot in 2016, with Saul Dibb, whose credits include The Duchess and Suite Francaise, in the director’s chair.

Sherriff’s play is set in an officer’s bunker beneath a British trench in northern France in the spring of 1918. The men of C-company, commanded by Stanhope, are in the front line, and braced for an imminent German attack. The battle-weary Stanhope hits the whisky bottle to get him through each night, and suffers shame and angry self-loathing when his degeneration is witnessed by teenage officer Raleigh (Asa Butterfield), a younger boy who idolised him at school and who is placed into the company for his very first posting. Reade in fact based his adaptation partly on Sherriff’s later novel version, which opens out the action beyond the dugout without sacrificing its claustrophobic essence.
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Sam Claflin Interview on Relationships

WOMEN’S HEALTH – Confession: We’ve been low-key crushing on Sam Claflin, 30, Brit, unabashed romantic, and star of My Cousin Rachel (out June 9th) since he played Finnick in Hunger Games: Catching Fire. And when we saw him in Me Before You, well, we pretty much fell in love.

Only one problem though, the guy is happily married and a dad, so we’ll just keep that fantasy to ourselves for now. In the meantime, we caught up with Sam to chat about his relationship with his wife, his biggest insecurities, and what cracks him up. Behold:

IF YOU HAD A MONTH OFF, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Does my wife [British actress Laura Haddock] have a month off as well? I want to be with my wife, I want to be with my baby, I want to see my friends, I want to see my family, and I also want to be in Hawaii. That’s my happy place. With nothing to read and nothing to do.

DO YOU THINK S.O.’S SHOULD BE BEST FRIENDS?

Yeah. I mean, look, when I go to the pub to have a couple of drinks and watch football with my buddies, my wife doesn’t necessarily have to come with me and sit through a match. But of course she’s my best friend. She is someone who knows everything about me, and I couldn’t love someone I didn’t love as a best friend. You have to have that bond for it to work. It goes hand in hand.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HANGUPS?

I’m very insecure about my body. Hollywood has an ideal body with a six-pack and pecs, and that’s a lifestyle that’s just not sustainable for me. I want to be a happy married man and a really good dad who gives time to his kids. I don’t want to be spending hours in the gym. A lot of men are as insecure about themselves as women are, but it’s not as much shone a light on. There’s a sense that you’re not allowed to talk about it as a bloke, but it shouldn’t be that way. (The Slim, Sexy, Strong Workout DVD is the fast, flexible workout you’ve been waiting for!)

WHAT DO YOU THINK MASCULINITY MEANS TODAY?

Men through history have been persuaded to think that you have to be manly and brave and strong and the backbone of the family. And that’s changing now. As women are taking a much more equal standpoint in terms of the careers and opportunities that men have always allowed themselves, a lot of men have realized they don’t have to live up to all that anymore and the world’s perception of men has changed.

So I think men are starting to open up more and show love more. Since having my little boy, I definitely have. There’s another layer of love you never knew existed, and I’ve become more sensitive to other people and situations and the world, I guess. For example, I’ve been a stay-at-home dad when my wife’s been working, and I’ve loved nothing more than that. But I think a lot of men do still feel uncomfortable if their wife were to earn more money than them, and they are still clinging to the way it used to be. But they shouldn’t feel like that. Once we allow ourselves to just be and live and change, we’ll be better off.
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Emilia Clarke framed Sam Claflin for stealing her Daenerys doll, filled his socks with fish on ‘Me Before You’ set

USA TODAY – Call her the Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, and undisputed Queen of Pranks.

Yes, Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke is a notoriously crafty prankster, according to her Me Before You co-star Sam Claflin. Filming the tearful romance last year, her most memorable hijinks included a remote-controlled fart machine, which she would casually unleash on unsuspecting cast and crew. She also framed Claflin for “stealing” her Daenerys doll, by planting it in his bag and plastering the U.K. set with mock-up “wanted” posters.

But as a self-described clean freak, the British actor says the worst prank may have been when Clarke put fish in his socks. Claflin tells USA TODAY:

They were brand new socks. I had worn them for only three minutes in the morning — like, literally to get from my house to work. I took them off to get into my costume and they stayed in my trailer until the very end of the day. … I don’t really like fish. It’s not my favorite smell or anybody’s. I just remember as I picked up my socks, I was like, ‘That feels odd.’ So I pulled them apart and went to put one (foot) in, and I fully gagged. I was like, ‘What?’

Afterward, “he made me feel so bad, oh, my God,” Clarke says. “But then I bought him three pairs of really nice socks.”

But she didn’t get off that easy: Claflin also had his share of fun at Clarke’s expense.

I stole all her furniture, which was pretty epic,” Claflin remembers. “I stuck it all in my room, but then my room was way too overcrowded. I couldn’t move!

It’s safe to say, these two must have April Fool’s Day on lock.

Categories Articles Interviews Me Before You Photos Photoshoots Press

Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin grapple with love, life in ‘Me Before You’

USA TODAY – NEW YORK — To fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke is Daenerys Targaryen, a shrewd, dragon-wielding conqueror and one of TV’s fiercest heroines.

So when Me Before You director Thea Sharrock suggested she play Louisa Clark — a spunky, idealistic young woman who takes a job caring for a wealthy, wheelchair-bound quadriplegic (Sam Claflin) — screenwriter Jojo Moyes was understandably puzzled.

I couldn’t see it,” says Moyes, who adapted her 2012 romantic novel for the big screen (in theaters Friday). “She was, for me, irrevocably linked to long, blond hair and dragons and looking very stern. But the moment you actually see her without the (Thrones) wig, she’s so warm and bubbly, and actually has the physical look of Louisa. It really took no time at all.”

Playing someone who shares her optimistic outlook and humor was part of the appeal to Clarke, who calls Louisa (nicknamed “Lou”) a “more innocent version” of herself.

Reading the book for the first time, “I was in love by page 3,” says Clarke, 29, teasing and laughing with her Me Before You co-star throughout an arduous day of interviews. “Lou felt like such a perfect extension of me. I just understood her, and it was that understanding that brought my excitement.”

Read the rest of the article/interview at the source

Categories Articles Interviews Me Before You Photos Photoshoots Press

‘Me Before You’ stars on pranks, ‘Thrones’ spoilers

USA TODAYLove hurts — and not just emotionally. Clarke fractured her hip midway through the shoot. That made the film’s tear-jerking climax even more difficult, as Lou dances on the beach before Will makes a startling confession. “It was super-hard anyway, from an acting point of view, because it was the most raw that we get. Then I was in so much pain,” Clarke says. Even sitting on Claflin’s lap was an almost-Olympian feat. “They had to build a little obstacle course for me,” she says. “They got all these boxes and tried to move them so I could look like I was getting on” his chair.

One wacky wardrobe. One of Lou’s defining traits is her outrageous fashion, which Will lovingly describes as that of a “leprechaun drag queen.” Of the heart-printed blouses, butterfly hairpieces and bumblebee tights, Clarke says her least-favorite items were a striped sweater and linen trousers, which Lou wears when she grudgingly watches a movie with Will. “We’ve had a fight, so I’m kind of like, ‘Whatever, dude, I’m going to wear the most normal stuff I can find,’ ” Clarke says. “Obviously, I look mental, still.” As for what she kept: “I’ve got the tights!”

“Sam stole my doll!” Clarke pulled all kinds of pranks on Claflin, including putting fish in his socks. But the most elaborate may have been when she “framed” him for stealing a doll of her Game of Thrones character, Daenerys. “I was like, ‘What? I’ve never seen your doll,’ ” Claflin says. “She put it in my bag (when) I got in the car to go home. The next morning, there were posters all over saying, ‘Wanted: Doll Thief,’ with my image.”

She had Snow idea. Like the rest of us, Claflin is a “huge” Game of Thrones fan. “I basically kept asking, ‘Want to give me some spoilers?‘ ” he says. The actor was particularly curious about the fate of Jon Snow (Kit Harington), although the Mother of Dragons says even she was in the dark: “Kit hadn’t fessed up to me yet.”

Categories Interviews Press

‘Me Before You’ could spell stardom for Sam Claflin

INQUIRER.NET – LOS ANGELES—“Me Before You” should finally launch Sam Claflin as a full-fledged star. The British actor, achieving sweet chemistry with Emilia Clarke, at last gets a film that showcases his charisma, good looks and acting chops.

If this adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ bestselling novel becomes a hit— and by all indications, it would—Sam gets a significant gift just before he notches a milestone. Known as Finnick Odair to “The Hunger Games” franchise fans, he turns 30 on June 27.

In “Me Before You,” the feature film directorial debut of Thea Sharrock (a noted theater director, whose credits include Daniel Radcliffe’s “Equus”), Sam plays William “Will” Traynor, a recently paralyzed wealthy man whose life becomes intertwined with Emilia’s Louisa “Lou” Clark when she becomes his caregiver.

Dressed in a striped tee, black denim jacket and pants, Sam, often breaking into a chuckle that sounds like a young boy’s, was a fun, gracious interviewee in this recent chat at the Ritz Carlton Central Park Hotel.

After an ankle injury dashed his ambition to join a football club, the wavy-haired Sam turned to acting. He graduated with honors from the famed London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After landing stage (including title roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company) and TV parts, Sam made quite an impression acting opposite Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” where he played missionary Philip Swift.

He is married to English actress Laura Haddock, with whom he has a son, who was born in December.

Excerpts from our interview:

Did you meet Emilia before this movie?
I did. We met about seven years ago. We have barely left drama school. She and I were asked to do a photo shoot for a magazine called Screen International. It was a rising stars issue. There were like 30 actors, directors and writers.

We crossed paths again a year later. We met for a chemistry read for “Jack the Giant Slayer,” which neither of us got, so obviously, our chemistry test failed.

By the time I saw her, for our first chemistry read test (for “Me Before You”), it was the first time that we met Thea properly, as well.

You are wonderful together.
Thank you. She brings out the best in me. She’s got such an infectious personality. I think I would go so far as to fall in love with her (laughs), but I care for her.
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Sam Claflin Once Spilled Red Wine All Over Madonna’s House
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Sam Claflin Once Spilled Red Wine All Over Madonna’s House

It’s a certain type of character who can be found lunching at New York City’s The Crosby Street Hotel’s Crosby Bar at 2 p.m. on a weekday. But, if you survey the scene closely enough on this slightly overcast November Wednesday, you’ll notice that tucked among the dilettantes, ladies who lunch, and rosé-sniffing aesthetes, is a bonafide movie star. Luckily for Sam Claflin, who reprises his role as bronzed Merman Finnick Odair in today’s fourth and final installment of the ​Hunger Games​ saga, ​Mockingjay – Part 2​, everyone is either too engrossed in their own conversations or too cool to harass the foppish Brit twirling his rum cocktail in the corner. Though the 29-year-old actor certainly commands attention—​after all, this is the guy who can make eating a sugar cube look like lascivious foreplay—​there’s also something charmingly unassuming about him. And to hear Claflin gush about his wife, ​Da Vinci’s Demons​ actress Laura Haddock, is to know exactly what this guy is all about. So when he’s not partying with Brad and Angie (seriously), rest assured that this family man is at home with his leading lady and their beloved Cockapoo, Rosie, painstakingly creating Iggy Azalea karaoke videos. Does he contradict himself? Very well then. ​

There’s a pivotal scene in ​Mockingjay – Part 2 in which you take down a pack of grotesque CGI mutts. All my colleague Sally could talk about was how ripped your back muscles looked…

Oh no! That’s the only moment that I didn’t actually do [laughs]. That was the one stunt of the entire movie. Anyway, by the time we got to the fight sequence I was exhausted and tired and cold and hungry and no one had spoken to each other for like three weeks because we were all so miserable.

That sounds brutal.

The really difficult thing was that everyone else got machine guns and all I had was a trident! There were so many moments in the script up to that point where I didn’t actually get to do anything. I was just sort of standing behind everyone else looking after Josh [Hutcherson]’s character. When we actually got around to getting into the sewers, and doing the close combat kind of stuff, I got to play around a little bit more.
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Interview with ASOS – We chatted to Hunger Games star Sam Claflin about becoming a dad

The cutest thing ever happened last night. Sam Claflin and his megababe wife, Laura Haddock, turned up to the UK premiere of Mockingjay – Part 2 with a big surprise… the pair are expecting their first child! *squeal* We caught up with Sam in London today to chat all about the end of Hunger Games, what’s next for him and how he’s feeling about fatherhood.

Firstly, massive congratulations! Your announcement last night was pretty special… It’s all very exciting and it was amazing for Laura and I to do it on the world stage. I’m very, very lucky, that’s all I can say.

It’s the end of an era. What will you miss most about playing Finnick? I honestly was just happy to play someone who was so layered and complex. Basically every film that we did, I felt like I was playing a different character and that as an actor is a real dream come true.

How did you feel when you were shooting your final scene? It was a very tense few weeks in the run-up to that scene so it felt like another big finale for me. I was so insistent that I did all my own stunts but the truth is Jackson Spidell – who’s my stunt double – is on another level at using Finnick’s weapon in the latest movie: a massive stick. It was actually a trident but I honestly hated the fact that for the entire film I had to run around with a stick and everyone else got machine guns.

*MAJOR spoiler alert below*
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Sam Claflin: ‘I hate being offered heart-throb after heart-throb’
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Sam Claflin: ‘I hate being offered heart-throb after heart-throb’

Actors like to talk about their years in the wilderness before fame hit. Harrison Ford was a carpenter. Jon Hamm spent decades waiting tables. Channing Tatum stripped. It gives them some regular-Joe mass to weigh against their new celebrity. Sam Claflin, 29, star of The Hunger Games and Pirates of the Caribbean, is no different.

“Everyone has their struggles, I think. After I left drama school I had six months of rejection after rejection,” he says, sipping on a pint in Kentish Town, north London, in unseasonable autumn sunshine. “I thought about a plan B.”

Wait a second… Six months? Six months isn’t a period in the wilderness. In acting terms that is a mere long weekend of unemployment. After which Claflin was cast in Pirates of the Caribbean, Snow White and the Huntsman, then The Hunger Games and The Riot Club, the film version of the play Posh, a fictionalised version of the Bullingdon Club. This was in addition to TV roles in Any Human Heart and The Pillars of the Earth. By any actor’s standards, hardly a rocky road.

Still, it’s easy to understand where he’s coming from. The speed of Claflin’s ascent to matinée idol, courtesy of two of the biggest franchises of the 21st century, would embarrass any normal bloke. And apart from his career, everything about Claflin screams normal bloke. He is friendly and self-effacing, handsome and articulate. He complains about the trousers he’s wearing for our shoot being too tight for his “footballer thighs”. He was a promising junior player growing up in Norwich (you can still hear a faint Norfolk lilt in his vowels). There’s a swallow tattoo on his bicep that he got for his 28th birthday and only after years of planning. He lives in Chiswick, west London, with his wife, fellow actor Laura Haddock, because he’s “not cool enough for east London”.

Claflin says the trousers he’s wearing for our shoot are too tight for his ‘footballer thighs’
He certainly seems more at home outside a grim Kentish Town pub than he was being fussed over by make-up artists in the hot studio. Does he even enjoy the fashion shoots? “I fucking hate them! Well, no…” he adds, perhaps mindful of his PR obligations, “I just can’t understand why people would wear any of those things. But I’ve learned to enjoy myself on the day.”
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