Olympus Has Fallen has been one of the most action packed movies of the year so far as Antoine Fuqua returned to the director's chair.
Angela Bassett and Aaron Eckhart chatted about the movie and their roles.
- First of all, Aaron, Mr President. Playing the President of the United States, no pressure then. Did you watch a lot of Obama’s speech tapes to get any tips or inspiration from that?
Aaron Eckhart: Well, thanks to the 24 hour news cycles you get a lot of the president professionally and personally, so we know a lot about what happens, you know?
We’ve seen 9/11 happen, we see a president under fire, and what’s going on today. So I did that and then I thought a lot about how I would want to be president. How I would want to stand before the people in crisis.
- And how was that?
Aaron Eckhart: Well, hopefully with courage and with honour, truthfulness and trying to represent the history and people of The United States as best I could.
- If you really were President for the day, what would you do?
Aaron Eckhart: I would take over Canada. And then I would give myself the biggest ranch. With a nice river and a lake. And then I would quit. Is that bad? (Laughs)
Angela Bassett: (laughs) Oh, so he talked all that good stuff, right and then he would take over. He’d take over and then get it for himself.
Aaron Eckhart: I’m giving it back. I just want my own ranch.
Angela Bassett: Yeah, the whole length of Canada is his ranch. And I would take the whole of the Caribbean. (Laughs)
- And Angela, your character Lynn Jacobs, she’s pretty kick-ass, strong, serious, independent woman. So you love these strong, steely women characters?
Angela Bassett: Yeah its fun being in charge and representing strength of women.
- And it’s important as well, a film like this which is quite masculine in places but all the women are represented as quite strong women.
Angela Bassett: Absolutely, especially since we know there’s never been a female director of the secret service, so I think it was just an important gesture and very strong that he [Antoine Fuqua] would do that and change the dynamic in the room by putting a woman in there.
The layers of what that represents and the possibilities of what can happen- you know, we’re very shortly, most likely have a female president of the United States.
- They never thought there would be a female prime minister in England and look what happened there, so. Did it give you an insight into what it’s like being a woman in a man’s world, then? You know, it’s a very kind of masculine environment.
Angela Bassett: ...probably. Well, they’ve got a lot to say (laughs). They say it very loudly and very frequently. But, uh she stood up to them, held her own in the room, as a woman will.
- In a real-life situation, if you were in charge of a room full of men and they were misbehaving or getting a bit unruly, how would you put your foot down?
Angela Bassett: I loved how she would do it, like 'don’t you have someplace to be, don’t you have something to do? Do it. Xxxx right now.'
- Good, yeah, don’t mess about. And did you guys get a sneak peek into The White House before you were filming, like any kind of access like that? To look around and see what it would be like?
Angela Bassett: Not before, but afterwards we did have an opportunity to do this. I have been maybe once or twice before under Clinton, so that was nice.
But afterwards I was invited to the Christmas reception and a couple of weeks ago to a luncheon with the First Lady, so I’m feeling pretty good about myself today.
I must be behaving; I must be doing something right. It’s exciting, you know, of all the places that we’ve been, of all the opportunity and access that we’ve had with our careers, its nice when there’s still something that still excites you.
- Yeah, for sure. What’s the most surprising thing about The White House that you thought ‘Hmm that’s a bit unusual’?
Angela Bassett: Well the food is good, delightful. Very creative in the kitchen. There was a dessert; I had to take a picture of it, like 'What is this, it looks like it’s in a fishbowl...' Literally in a fishbowl.
I think they went a little... (Waves finger around in the air and laughs) like, is someone bored? Oh, it’s just ‘creative’. I don’t know. But they’re so warm and accessible; you just don’t know how to address them.
And I’ve met them before he became president, but still, the office begs that you show respect.
- Yes, it must be very humbling.
Angela Bassett: Yes, she was like 'Call me Michelle... that is my name!'
Interviewer: And Aaron, you said you spent the majority of the film being tied up. That must have been quite uncomfortable, was it? What was the longest period you had to stay like that for?
Aaron Eckhart: oh, we did it for hours. Yeah, everyday. I had lost feeling in my arms. But it was good for the character and acting in a reality of it, they didn’t try to make it comfortable for us. And then being hit, and trying to find ways to get out of it and all that sort of stuff.
Olympus Has Fallen is released on DVD & Blu-Ray 26th August.