Interviews - Jack Westgate
Role: Soldier I
What Shakespeare role which you haven't played would you love to do?
Hamlet! I feel like any opportunity to play Hamlet would be any blessing for any actor although I think I am still a little too young to play 'the Dane.' it’s also pretty good to see on the CV that you have played Hamlet. I think I would bring a bit of a playfulness and angst.
Did you have any experience with "Timon of Athens - Misanthropos" before this project? - Seeing it on stage, being in it before, reading it at university, etc.?
I saw it on Wikipedia… once?
How do you feel about your role? Do you like your character? Was it easy to relate to your character's motivations and intentions?
I am impartial to my character's role, as he is a soldier, which is something I cannot relate to; as a pacifist, it's so alien to me. However, there are some part time jobs I have done which have made me feel as if I am under someone's command.
Similar to Timandra and Phrynia, you have to work, sometimes in unison, with Soldier II (played by Connor Lee Dye). How has that experience been? Is there added pressure having to mirror someone's rhythm in delivering Shakespeare?
The other cast have being incredibly accommodating in working in unison. I have felt extremely involved with the other performers, so when it comes to mirroring a rhyme, I hardly have to think about it, which is a true pleasure.
You've had experience in the ancient Greek world before, playing Orestes in "The Orestia". Did it make it easier to slip into the mentality of someone from the ancient world?
I find the challenge for me, isn't whether they are from an ancient world, it's dependent on their situation or emotional state. Playing someone like Orestes, particularly the trauma he had to face up to was one of the most challenging performances I have had to do, and I do think it has prepared me somewhat for the Soldier I in “Misanthropos”, yes.
What challenged you about this role?
Many things. Thinking like a soldier, being in position, marching in rhythm particularly in unison with my fellow Soldier Connor. Communicating the way that a soldier would. Becoming accustomed to fully using the verse and fully understanding Shakespeare’s rhythm. Usually, as an actor, I have spent my time breaking the verse and acting, if I may say so myself, rather unorthodox. This project has challenged me in the first time in my career to truly act within classic verse.
Have you worked with CGI before?
I have... but only in an audition. I have certainly never worked in a studio as big as the one in Portugal.
For this film we rehearsed, how does that experience differ from other film work you've done?
I have never done something that has been as intellectually stimulating as this in terms of film work. On stage, you tend to do things that are quite emotionally complex anyway; it's the nature of the beast, whereas on film there tends to be a simplicity of shot. Doing this project, I have been overwhelmed with how meticulous and challenging the work has been.
Lastly, what will happen to your character AFTER? Do you feel there is hope for your character/for the world, by the end of the film?
Coming to terms with mortality and the universe, I hope that, before his death, Timon finds comfort in what the other soldier says to him; and is able to park the tremendous carnage and images of the war out of his mind to find a bit of peace.