To play Britain’s unlikely Olympic ski jump sensation, Eddie Edwards, Taron Egerton kept his feet firmly on the ground.
“I’m a dreadful skier,” admits the 26-year-old Welsh actor, who used a stunt double for his leaps as Edwards in the 1980s-set biopic Eddie the Eagle (in theaters now). “Even if I was insane and wanted to jump, no insurance company would let me! And my need for self-preservation is far too great.”
The Welsh actor, who broke out as scrappy recruit Eggsy in 2015’s spy thriller Kingsman: The Secret Service, tells Us Weekly about his leap to leading man, working with costars Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken and how he’s gearing up for Kingsman 2.
Us: If you were going to go to the Olympics, what sport would you be most likely to compete in?
Taron Egerton: Curling, because it looks like it’s not that physical. But that’s probably misleading. I do have quite strong legs though, and they have to stay bent over for quite an extended period of time, don’t they? I couldn’t do anything that demands too much energy, really. I just don’t have it in me.
Us: Eddie was fixated on being an Olympian from a very young age. What was your childhood dream?
TE: I’ve always been very interested in animation. I harbored a dream of working for Pixar from the age of 6 or 7. They have people there who sculpt character models from artists’ drawings. I wanted to do that. I’m exactly like Patrick Swayze in that movie [Ghost] with the pottery thing — but with little character animals rather than phallic symbols.
Us: What was it like working with Hugh Jackman?
TE: Amazing. He is very generous, a very warm-spirited soul. But above all else, just very kind and very human. There’s no sense of hierarchy in how he speaks to people. We both had an impulse to make the other one laugh, and that was my resounding memory of the whole experience — two months of trying to make Hugh Jackman laugh.
Us: And how was meeting costar Christopher Walken?
TE: Quite scary actually. He’s someone that I, like most people, have greatly admired for a very long time. He’s a very, very lovely but quite private chap. It’s one of those things I’ll tell my grandkids.
Us: Did you take anything from the set?
TE: I have a pair of Eddie’s glasses, and I stole a clapper board. I thought, “This is the first movie where I’m playing the title character. I am having that clapper board!” I took it and it’s on my wall at home.
Us: You’re currently prepping for Kingsman 2, which starts shooting in May. Which is more intense — training to be a ski jumper or an international spy?
TE: Kingsman is harder work but far more rewarding. When I played Eddie, I didn’t do any training and went a bit wild with food. Now I’m back to fish and chicken breasts and spinach and protein shakes and am in the gym every day. I really, really love food, so I have to go all or nothing. I’m either a glutton or a Buddhist monk.
Us: You have a knack for playing the underdog. Is that something you can relate to?
TE: I think people just feel sorry for me. It’s probably a slight air of being a bit pathetic. [Laughs.] That’s all right!
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