An action-packed thriller like Gemini Man is only as good as its villain, and thankfully Clive Owen has what it takes to step up to the plate. As Clay Verris, he’s at the center of the cloning dilemma and shares most of his scenes with either one of Will Smith’s characters. Prior to the film’s release on October 11th, Owen spoke to Screen Rant about his approach to playing the so-called bad guy and the honor of working with a costar of Smith’s caliber.
On the way back home after watching this movie, the people that I saw with had a debate about whether Clay was wrong or right. Truth be told, I kind of agree with a lot of the point he was making in terms of the cloning aspect.
Clive Owen: We gotta watch you.
I wasn't a fan of the way he raised Junior. But still, I think at its core, there's at least some gray area.
Clive Owen: That means we've done our job. Because I think that's what Ang wanted, as well.
At the end of the day, some people might view him as the bad guy of the movie. I never approached any character like that. And if you start off on that premise as an actor, I think it's a little suspicious. Bad guys don't wake up thinking they’re bad guys; they wake up because they have a plan other people think is misconceived or misplaced.
And at the end of the day, the whole cloning issue, we are heading into very fast. There was an article in The New York Times weeks ago about somebody cloning their pet, and it's becoming a thing in China that you can clone your pet. If you lose your pet, you clone; you create another one. Now, we know where this is going to lead, and there are going to be big, difficult ethical decisions that people are going to have to make. It's not straightforward.
Where do you fall in the issue?
Clive Owen: Um… I just play the part.
I think we have to be very, very, very careful with the whole notion. Cloning is possible; it’s already possible, and there are going to be some very difficult, complicated decisions people have to make.
Something that you guys dive into in this film is nature versus nurture; the themes are definitely there. Speaking of which, let's talk about the relationship between Clay and Junior; about Junior’s upbringing and what he sees for Junior.
Clive Owen: It's a complicated thing. He's bringing him up to be the perfect son, the perfect young soldier, and he's doing it out of a kind of love. But it just could be a little misconceived, you know.
Talk to me about the chemistry with you and Will, and you guys are amazing together. He had to wear, I believe, something on his head when you filmed.
Clive Owen: A huge rig with a camera thing there. But he's such a good actor that, honestly, all that stuff disappears very quickly. You get into a scene – and we're playing a sort of intense emotional scene – I don't see any of that gear. I'm looking at him and he's so good and focused, and we're doing it together, and all of that gear [goes away].
I do most of my stuff with the young Will, and the technical process of that was quite elaborate, because he does it and then somebody else does it. They have to do a number of versions of it to go away and then work out they need to do. But it was a pleasure working with him. He's the real deal. He's as good as it gets for a major movie star, in terms of: he's a great actor, he’s focused, he’s generous. He’s the ultimate pro. It was a pleasure.
Gemini Man is visually stunning, especially the 120 frames per second man. It was like watching it through a window. And that last scene, the intense battle scene, can you talk to me about some of the technical stuff that went into that?
Clive Owen: Well, I still haven’t seen the movie, so you know…
Because of the technology being used, everything takes more time, for sure. The cameras are bigger; and changing any angle, any direction, is much more unwieldy in a way. It takes more time, and there's a whole process involved.
But you know what? Ultimately, whatever kind of film you're doing, actors do the same thing. We have to just step up and do our thing, whatever is going on around us. And that that's the same in any movie.
Well, you did a great job. I don't know what it says about me that I'm kind of on Team Clay, but thank you so much.
- Gemini Man (2019) release date: Oct 11, 2019