Popular Aussie actor, Heath Ledger, plays the lead character, Harry Feversham, in the soon to be released film The Four Feathers, directed by Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth), and based on the 1901 novel by A.E.W. Mason. The film tangles with the emotional and physical journey of British officer Feversham, who is given four feathers by his fiancee (Kate Hudson) and her three best friends. The feathers serve as a symbol of his cowardice when he quits the army after being called to war. Feversham is overtaken by the idea that he must regain his courage and loyalty, so he goes undercover in the war, trying to amend his past decisions by helping the British Army defeat a large band of Sudanese rebels. Ledger took part in a telephone conference with several college publications, including The Miami Hurricane, to answer questions about The Four Feathers, acting and music.
Q: What music are you currently listening to?
HL: I am listening to Sting right now. But I like almost everything.
Q: What actors do you look up to as role models?
HL: Most people I work with become my role models, because growing up I didn’t watch many movies or anything, so I learn from them.
Q: Was it difficult preparing for this role?
HL: It wasn’t hard; there was an interesting four weeks where we discussed the movie and the script. I prepared by taking a clean slate and starting from scratch and getting an understanding of the movie by talking about it.
Q: Do you enjoy physical roles?
HL: Yeah I enjoy physical roles. I do my own stunts. It’s fun.
Q: What was your favorite part of the shooting process?
HL: Every Tuesday night we played drums with a Sudanese band, and got drunk on red wine.
Q: How would you describe your character?
HL: The character is epic. It starts in one place and ends in another. He is labeled as a coward on paper, using his wife as an excuse. But I found him to be courageous because he stood against the systematic regime he was taught his whole life.
Q: How was it working with Dijimon Hounsou (Amistad, Gladiator)?
HL: He is my brother. He is such a beautiful soul and has this huge presence. At first he is intimidating because he is so massive, but then you get to know him, and he’s so sweet and gentle.
Q: Of all the characters you’ve played, which do you identify yourself with the most?
HL: All of them, but I have become attached to the role of Ned Kelly (Ledger plays the title character in the upcoming film The Kelly Gang to be released next year.)
Q: Do you think people will enjoy the movie despite the current outlook on military violence?
HL: I think they will. The timing is ironic, but I like that people are talking.
Q: Would you change anything about the script of the movie?
HL: Maybe… Nah, I think it’s brilliant!
Diana Pastrana can be reached @ firstname.lastname@example.org