Armie Hammer was doubly stoic as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network and followed that with more dramatic weight as J. Edgar’s closeted lover. In the fairy tale Mirror Mirror he lets loose as a goofy Prince Charming. At one point the evil queen Julia Roberts casts a spell on him to make him act like a dog. In a small roundtable with only four journalists, we got to ask him lots of questions about getting silly, the upcoming Lone Ranger movie and that Justice League of America movie he almost starred in years ago.
Crave Online: Is Mirror Mirror the Dante’s Peak or Volcano to Snow White and the Huntsman?
Armie Hammer: Oh, God, wow. I have to say that Volcano was pretty good. I think I'm going to go with Volcano on that one, no offense to Pierce Brosnan in any way.
Were you game for going all out for this, being foolish and silly?
Yeah, I was. My agent was terrified. He was like, “You can not be a dog! You can not be a dog in a movie. What are you talking about? You're not going to do this. We're going to get that cut from the movie.” I was like, “Come on, relax. It'll be fine.” It's the kind of thing where I guess if you have to do it you might as well go for it or you just look stupid.
Even that dumb arrogance earlier on, too, like, “I'm in the prince. I'm the hero.”
Yeah, it was fun, man. It was just fun to get to go to that place where it's not like you're doing a heavy drama where you have to show up on set in the right headspace and focused on your work. You're making a movie where you're play fighting and you're playing with swords and dwarves and giants and this and that. It was like a fun escape for the kids.
There's a feminist twist to the Snow White story. Were you disappointed that you didn't get to do the whole prince’s kiss that saves the day?
No, because I never grew up reading or fantasizing about fairy tales. I was always too busy, like, outside being a kid. So, to me, I thought that it was interesting that you turn it on it's head, Snow White kisses the prince. Why not? Why would she? Well, because the prince is tied to a chair at the time. It turns everything on its head, but it made it a more sort of like interesting Snow White than just girl in the castle, this and that, the prince shows up, kisses her and saves the day. Hurrah. This was hopefully more fun to watch.
What's it like being first on the call-sheet for a $200 million dollar western?
You'd have to ask Johnny.
Even when you are the Lone Ranger?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can tell you that to play the title character, at first it was a ton of pressure, I'll be honest. I remember nights before we started shooting just laying in bed, going, “How much does this cost? What's it called? Oh, man, that's me. Oh geez. What about this? If this goes wrong…” You just kind of work yourself into these ridiculous tizzies, but that's only because you're doing it to yourself. As soon as I got on set for the first day, we got the first day of shooting out of the way and I remember at lunch going back to my trailer after eating and just kind of going, “This feels just like making a movie. This is what I love. This is no different,” and it's really not. It's a bunch of dudes in a room with a camera doing what they love. It's the smallest-feeling big movie that I've ever been a part of. This feels smaller in scale because of the attention everyone is putting into the most minute detail [more] than even Snow White did. It's at least twice the size, but it feels like a small, big movie.
Have you enjoyed learning the daring do, the fencing for Mirror Mirror and the shooting for Lone Ranger?
Yeah. That's one of the perks of this job, like, not only do you get to go to amazing places all over the world, but I was learning to sword fight and now I'm learning to throw lassos and shoot pistols and ride horses. Who knows, on the next one maybe I'll learn something new. It's fun. You get to be a jack of all trades, master of none, but you get to still jack around a bit.
You’ve really blown up in the last year but this could’ve happened even earlier. You were working on Justice League with George Miller. Did you get a taste of this back then if that movie had gone?
I hate to say it, but thankfully it didn't because I probably wouldn't have been ready for anything then. I didn't have the head on my shoulders that I feel I do now. Hopefully I'll say the same thing five years from now. Hopefully I'm always learning more and stuff like that, but had it happened then, like looking back and knowing what I knew then I wouldn't have been ready for it. I wouldn't have been able to handle it. It's a lot at twenty five years old to be playing the title character of a movie where the budget is humongous and it has to work. That's a lot of pressure to handle at twenty five, but at the same time you don't look a gift horse in the mouth. I'm really excited about it, like I get to do things that other twenty five years olds might not get to do. So, I'm having fun and am appreciative as much as possible.
Was the Justice League thing a good education for you as a young actor, having that big budget film not go?
Yeah, yeah. It was amazing as a young actor to even get to experience that kind of a budget. I think that they were talking about, I mean this could be hearsay, who knows, but I think the budget was close to $300 million. I don't know the specifics, but it was huge, huge to the point where I remember being down in Australia and they were just throwing money around. Just like, “Wherever the whole cast wants to go to dinner every night? Sure. Pay with this wad of cash.” It was extravagant and then to have it all fall apart was a really good reality check. It's like, “Hey, nothing in this business is real. Don't forget that.” It's like, “Oh, yeah, right, right.”
How gratified are you that the Winklevii are a part of the culture now?
I can sleep better at night now. Honestly, I have not really thought about those guys since Social Network except when I saw that pistachio commercial. Then I just kind of went, “Huh?” That's really about it.