Actor Tom Bateman stars as the main villain, Viking, in Cold Pursuit, a sly and subversive action film starring Liam Neeson, who takes his usual action fare in a more surreal direction this time around.
Directed by Hans Petter Moland, Cold Pursuit is actually a remake of In Order of Disappearance, a 2014 Norwegian film from the same director. The setting has been shifted to America and some of the story has thus been altered accordingly, but the movie's vibes are distinctly European, giving Cold Pursuit a unique flavor in Liam Neeson's oeuvre of action movies.
Related: Cold Pursuit Trailer
While promoting the film, Tom Bateman spoke to us about his character, a slick and self-obsessed crime lord. He shared about the audition process, his character's unique sense of style, and reflects on the film's central theme, of the relationship between fathers and their sons.
So, you play Viking, who is this great character in this movie. Bad guy, great character! Tell me, when you got the offer for this role, what did you see in that character that you could bring?
Just what you said! Bad guy, great character. The reason I really wanted to do it was the writing. I read it while I was doing a movie called Murder on the Orient Express, and it was a complete world away from that, which really excited me. Then, when I met Hans Petter, the director, he was just wonderful, and Michael Shamberg, the producer, of whom I'm a huge fan. It sort of became even more. They wanted me to get really creative. They kept saying, "Look, don't worry about the script, let's just go get crazy and go big." I had a really really good time. It was probably one of my favorite-ever auditions to date, it was so fun. So when they offered it to me, I was over the moon.
A big theme in this movie is "fathers and sons." Liam Neeson's character has a son, and drama happens; your character has a son, and drama happens. Your character, as a father, is well-meaning, if at times inarticulate. There's that great scene where he invokes Lord of the Flies. What can you tell me about that father/son dynamic that permeates the whole film?
If I'm honest, it's a theme that I hadn't really thought about much until now. (laughs) And now people are bringing it up, and I think, yeah, it is interesting. I think, actually, if you delve into it, as well, the fact that Liam kidnaps my son, you know, it's quite an interesting that he becomes more of a father figure than I ever was. There's a really sweet scene where he's reading to him a magazine about snow plows; it's probably one of the sweetest scenes in the movie. It's a very interesting dynamic, I think, especially for a character like Viking, who is this killer and drug lord, to have a son like that, and for the first scene of the movie, for him to be offering fatherly advice is quite an interesting dynamic. I think, yes, it's one of many interesting sides to the film.
Viking has so many sides to him, but if there's one word that I would use, it's "slick."
He has that hair, which is a little bit like yours, but just... Slick. And he wears those pretty gorgeous suits! What can you tell me about that character's style and how it reflects his character?
It was one of the first... I always talk about it like puzzle pieces, little stages of building a character and making the project. Talking with the costume designer, she said, I want him to always look... This is a guy who takes care of himself. He cares about his image. The narcissism is rife with this man. One of the first times we see me is when I'm in the mirror, sort of checking that everything is okay. The hair, there's no way you can get that hair without paying a lot of attention to it. I wanted that vanity to be there through it. He's probably the vainest character in the movie. He cares about what he looks like, he's a vegan, he drives this Tesla. He wants the image of an attractive, slick, put-together guy. Even at the end, when we go out looking for Liam's character, we're out on the road, in the middle of nowhere on this mountain, he's got a designer jacket and designer boots. He wants to look like he's in a magazine shoot. The awareness that he has of himself as a person is very telling.
- Cold Pursuit (2019) release date: Feb 08, 2019