PA Images/ Lionsgate UK
He played one of cinema’s most beloved drug addicts, but this Scot is broader than a Spud – of course, we’re talking about the extraordinary Ewen Bremner.
Beyond hanging around Edinburgh’s streets, this BAFTA-winning actor has stormed No Man’s Land with Wonder Woman and run alongside Vinnie Jones’ car door in Snatch, not to mention suffering at the hands of Xenomorphs in Alien vs. Predator.
In 2013, he starred in Snowpiercer – a remarkable, thrilling dystopian sci-fi from Parasite visionary Bong Joon-ho. After a lengthy rigmarole around its UK release, it’s finally made its way across the pond. Bremner plays Andrew, who let’s just say has a bit of a sore arm.
Check out the trailer for Snowpiercer here:
We celebrated the film’s momentous arrival on DVD and Blu-Ray by chatting to Bremner about completely innocuous things that are in no way related to the movie. On this occasion, he was the man, he was the dude in the chair.
This is The Ten…
1) You’ve got a time machine, where’s the first place you’re going?
Ewen: I’m optimistic enough… I’m gonna say I’d go into the future, because I think time machines will be ten a penny – that way I’d be able to get back again if I choose so. I don’t know how far into the future I’d go, maybe 500 years or something.
UNILAD: Is there anything you’d hope to see in the future, bar bountiful time machines?
Ewen: World peace.
2) What’s the most famous person thing you’ve ever done?
Ewen: I’m really against famous person things. I probably do them all the time, but the idea of it revolts me, you know? One sort-of famous thing that did happen to me was back when I was living in Scotland, and I’d taken a trip down to London to meet Bong Joon-ho to chat to him about Snowpiercer.
I’d met with him and his producer in the Soho Bar, had some tea and a chat. He wanted to show me the storyboard of the film. So we were chatting, kind of through translation with his producer and we were kind of understanding each other. Just completely randomly, the door behind him blew open and this contingency of Hollywood guys [entered], it was like an entourage of movie stars.
Well, that movie star was Tom Hardy. I was sitting this distance away [he gestured to his computer screen at this point] and Tom looked over at me and screamed: ‘Ewen!’ He grabbed me out of my chair and held me in this giant bear hug.
Ewen: We’d worked together a few times before, and we had a brief time on Black Hawk Down together. He swept out of the room again, and I could tell director Bong was really quite starstruck. He was blushing and kind of flustered, like: ‘Oh my god, that was Tom Hardy!’
That’s a happy memory, and I don’t know if that’s what got me the job – but it probably did [laughs].
UNILAD: Do you keep in touch with Tom much?
Ewen: No I don’t. The people you work with in this business… some of them become really hard-and-fast friends. But they’re never going to be working in the same part of the world as you are, at the same time, most likely. They’re usually going to be working on a set for six months on the other side of the world and when they do have downtime, they just want to spend it with their family.
Then they’ll have to do a press tour, going around promoting a film and then they’re onto the next one. They’re sort of like circuses, but sometimes they collide. I’m not in touch with Tom, but I know the next time I see him it’ll be excellent.
3) If you weren’t an actor, what do you think you’d be doing with your life?
Ewen: Without doubt… a bodybuilder.
UNILAD: A bodybuilder?
Ewen: Yeah, what’s funny about that?
UNILAD: No nothing, I’ve never heard that answer before, often people say they’d maybe have a trade or something but never a bodybuilder. Was it something you were into when you were younger?
Ewen: I was really torn between going into acting or bodybuilding. But I decided to go into acting. [Laughs] I don’t want to say any more, it’s too upsetting for me, because of what I’ve sacrificed. So, don’t push me.
4) You have one wish and it has to be selfish, what do you wish for? No world peace.
UNILAD: So, immortality?
Ewen: No. Just a healthy, holistic long life.
5) Whose career are you secretly jealous of?
Ewen: Apart from Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’d have to say Willem Dafoe.
UNILAD: What draws you to Dafoe?
Ewen: I can watch him in anything, I’ve seen him in theatre as well. I’ve worked with him as well, actually. I just think he’s a saint, a saint among actors, you know? A good man, not holier than thou at all. I love his work, I look up to him.
UNILAD: What about Schwarzenegger, does that tie back to the bodybuilding?
Ewen: Well he’s had a pretty good career, you know. He was a bodybuilder like myself, and then he decided to go into acting, and then he became the Governor of California. Now, he’s at home with his goats and he’s happy. Can’t argue with that.
Was he a good bodybuilder? Who’s to say? It might have close had I done it the other way around. I am now at a point in my career where I’d consider it safe to go into bodybuilding. Maybe he did it right.
6) What is your strongest held opinion? What is a hill you’re willing to die on?
Ewen: Selling is deception, giving is truth.
UNILAD: Would you like to elaborate?
Ewen: In order to sell something, you have to make some sort of confession, some sort of conceit. To give something is an honest act – whatever it is you’re giving, it’s honest whether you like it or not. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s honest. I’m willing to die on that one day… maybe not today [laughs].
7) What’s something you’ve never admitted publicly but you’ll tell me now?
Ewen: I’ve never told anyone this before Cameron, so I’m trusting you with that. This could be make or break for me.
UNILAD: [Waits with much anticipation]
Ewen: I’m not actually the real Ewen Bremner. The real Ewen Bremner was sold off for parts about 20 years ago. I’m his replacement.
UNILAD: Why did this happen to the original Ewen?
Ewen: The market demands quality merchandise and it was a deal done at the time. That quality of stuff was deemed to be of a certain value, so I was brought in as a replacement.
8) You’re stuck living the same day over and over, what day would it be and why?
Ewen: There was a day, a year or two ago, when my dad visited me in New York, and we just had a really wonderful time. It was a really perfect time… I’m not sure he would feel the same way, being stuck in that day for eternity [laughs]. I wouldn’t be complaining.
9) Have you ever been left convinced – or at least persuaded – by a fake news story about yourself?
Ewen: [Laughs] I don’t think so. I’ve enjoyed the net worth stories, they’re very funny, or the marriage stories. My birthday online is completely wrong, so every year on this day I get a whole bunch of friends who’ve seen it’s my birthday online and send me messages saying: ‘Happy birthday!’
It’s completely wrong. I don’t know why, I’ve never inputted my birthday online for any kind of info. But I really like that it’s wrong, I love that it’s wrong. It reminds me you must never believe what you read online as well. It’s a good reminder for me that everything is kind of elastic and manipulative in terms of perception.
UNILAD: Does that mean you get a relative degree of privacy on your actual birthday?
Ewen: Yeah, I have a nice private birthday.
10) If you had to remove one colour from the world forever, which would it be and why?
Ewen: So that’s a really difficult decision to make. When I was growing up, my mum was a lecturer in colour theory, so she was an art lecturer. I feel like you can’t mess with the colours… Well you can mess with them, but you can’t just start removing them.
But I’d say, a short answer, we could all live if we got rid of a really dark shade of grey, we probably wouldn’t notice it was missing. We could probably not miss its existence.
Snowpiercer is on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow, May 25, from Lionsgate UK.
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