This was a good interview with Max Irons that Flicks and Bits did. I’ve included it in its entirety here since it’s only four questions. Read on if you want to learn a little more about Jared Howe and what it was like for Max to work with Saoirse Ronan and William Hurt, including his audition.
Do you remember what the auditioning process was like for the role of Jared?
Max Irons: I got called into meet Andrew Niccol and Saoirse Ronan, which was terrifying (laughs). Because when I went into the audition room there were three guys sitting there, all of which were built like Greek Gods. So I thought, “Well, what’s the point?” (laughs). And I forgot my lines about eight times, I think – and I was sweating profusely. But then it started to go really well, I thought that the chemistry was certainly there with Saoirse. It ended up being one of those auditions that was painless and effortless.
And how was it actually working with Saoirse on the film?
Max Irons: Saoirse Ronan, who from the first moment I met her in London, I knew it was going to be easy. Some people are just easy to work with, and you watch her and you look at her face and think, “What is she doing that’s so special?” And you can’t define it, it’s just there (laughs) – it’s all there, everything! She is always spot on and perfectly informed. It still amazes me that she was 17 when we shot the film. I worked most closely with her and with William Hurt, two masters of their craft, and both were so humble, patient and generous. It was a joy. I listened and learned a lot from William Hurt, he is a master.
What was it about Jared that appealed to you? He’s a character facing several almost insurmountable obstacles…..
Max Irons: Yeah, what interested me most was Jared’s problem – two problems. One, humanity as we know it has been wiped out… family, friends, the world is gone. So there’s that truth to deal with, but then there’s also the fact that the love of his life, Melanie, has become a Soul. So to him, she is dead. And he has to find purpose, he does find purpose in this place in the cave. But then to have her return, to have her ghost return, her specter return, a rational person would be like, “Right, she’s a Soul, she’s no longer a human: kill her.” And Jared is torn between that logic and the fact that despite the fact that she’s a Soul, it still looks like the girl he loves most, it’s still the form of her.
Do you have a scene on set that stood out for you?
Max Irons: It’s odd how often the scenes you dread most, things that you think you can’t do, often turn out to be the best ones (laughs). I had a scene where I was dancing with Saoirse, and we had Chandler playing Jamie in the scene as well. We had to prepare this swing dance thing that culminated in me flipping her and it started raining – very romantic (laughs). And we only had one, about half an hour lesson. Then all of a sudden someone put a duke-box down and turned this 50s song on. There was about 40 or 50 people watching us dancing under a tree. You thought, “This is a recipe for disaster and embarrassment on a huge scale.” But it turned out to be really good. It was just like playing around. It was nice, it was a fun day.