When Sam Claflin signed up to play a quadriplegic in his latest film Me Before You, he didn’t realise how much it would open his eyes to the struggles faced by disabled people.
The Hunger Games actor – who stars as a recently-paralysed man cared for by a small-town girl, played by Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke – initially thought the physical side of the role would hardly be a challenge.
Sam admitted: “I thought, ‘Do you know what, this is going to be so easy. I’ll be sat down.’ But the truth is, the hardships of being in a wheelchair, day in, day out are really starting to affect me.”
He revealed that he now notices uneven surfaces and “bobbles in the road” which would be a struggle for those in wheelchairs.
The Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides actor consulted with wheelchair-bound disabled people as part of his research for the role.
He explained: “We had the opportunity, and were fortunate enough, to meet and talk to a lot of people who were in wheelchairs and talk through their experiences. You realise life is short and we’re very lucky.
“So many of them are so inspirational and so many of their stories are inspirational.”
Sam also spoke of his disappointment at not getting the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Rogue One, admitting: “I can’t deny I auditioned, and they decided to go a different way.”
After rumours spread in April, “all of a sudden my phone was just ringing constantly for two days, people saying ‘oh my God you’re going to be Luke Skywalker!’ And I wasn’t Luke Skywalker.”
He added: “I’m a huge fan of the franchise and I wish them the best of luck. I hope my path and their path crosses at some stage.”
Me Before You will be released in June 2016.