Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Q&A: Cast of “Walking with the Enemy”

Q&A: Cast of “Walking with the Enemy”

Jonas Armstrong, best known for his role as Robin Hood in the BBC series, is starring as a
young man separated from his family during WWII in the upcoming movie “Walking with the
Enemy.” After disguising himself as a Nazi Schutzstaffel Officer, Armstrongs’s character, Elek
Cohen, will discover unsettling secrets about his family’s whereabouts and the invading
Germans in Hungary.

Armstrong and two of his co-stars, Simon Kunz (Jozsef Greenberg) and Simon Dutton (Miklos
Schoen), sat down with The Eagle’s Emily Packer to discuss their experiences in the film as
undercover officers as well.

E: How do you feel this film was different from others you’ve been a part of in the past?
Simon Dutton: The main thing was to just make the characters believable, since the characters
are based on real people. It’s a different experience because you’re throwing yourself into
another era—another physicality. The ways the people speak exhibit the other physicality. You
speak to the French and he moves a different way, you speak to an Italian and its the same.
Each culture has a kind of physicality, and that’s always a great challenge to work with. Having
such a great scope, running through rubble and ruins, it’s a great experience. You enjoy
yourself, and that’s what you do as an actor, you throw yourself into something. You throw
yourself into something and hopefully you swim.

E: How difficult were some of the language transitions within the film, like switching
between Hungarian and German accents?
Jonas Armstrong: Yeah, I had two different accents and had to switch back and forth— I’ve
spoken only a little German, in different scenes. As well, having a different accent is an access
point for a character, it always helps [set the mentality for the role]. With a lot of the parts we
play, we have to use different accents, to distance yourself from yourself when you’re playing
someone else. Yeah, it’s a challenge, but not something you’re gonna be like, “Oh my god I
have to do this” but more like, “Oh, great, interesting,” and that informs everything else when
you speak in a Hungarian accent. I mean, it really changes your physicality. I was running
around and everything, I was touchin’ people thinking “What the f*** am I touching people for?”
And it’s really like that, the delivering, it was like I was speaking a hundred miles per hour.
Simon Kunz: Yeah, I’ve had someone tell me once, “Ok, now do it in Italian,” and it’s amazing
what it does to you, like really releases something. It’s all about the vowel sounds, you just have
to get the little things right. Otherwise, it becomes something like accent-land, you know, you’re
watching a film trying to dive through the bad accents.

E: What were some of the greatest challenges you face while filming?
A: For me, it was sort of keeping a certain amount of energy for the character. If I was feeling a
bit tired or wanted to go home to bed or whatever, I just thought, “Come on, you’ve got it,” since
our characters are in extreme situations with a lot at stake.
SK: My main worry was about trying to keep my beard on. Just hours, everyday, it just wouldn’t
stick on. And damn, that sounds pity, but if [the audience] thinks “Ugh that looks terrible” then
they won’t fully engage with the movie. That’s why the whole looks, sounds [and] everything that
people sort of forget about are important. The details, the costuming and the sets they create
are terrific. I’m really quite impressed. And the uniform is such a powerful image. You suddenly
put that on and suddenly people act different around you. You change the way you carry
yourself.

“Walking with the Enemy” is currently in theaters.


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