I heard a rumor that on set, you and the zombies danced “Thriller.”

“That is true, that is true. I don’t know who has the video of it, but these zombies were all dancers—they choreographed all these crazy moves. It’s 2, 3 in the morning and I don’t know what copyright rules I’m breaking, but I was like, “You guys. We’ve gotta dance to ‘Thriller.’ We’ve gotta do it, we’ve gotta do it, man.”

Learning “Thriller” is a life skill.

“Mine was a little rough because I’m pulling from my 8-year-memory. Do you remember the first time you saw “Thriller”? I was scared. I ran behind the couch.”

You were a bit of a coward.

“Wow. Alright. Fair enough. It’s okay—I’m an actor, I’m allowed to be oversensitive.”

Is there still talk of a World War Z sequel?

“Was there ever talk?”

There was a couple months ago.

“You could, absolutely. Especially with the source material, which is such a large, rich world. I’d love to see more of it. Unfortunately, my character’s not going to be around for it.”

James Badge Dale Eric Savin Iron Man 3 Photo 570x379 Lone Ranger Interview: James Badge Dale Talks 24 & Iron Man 3; Praises Castmates

James Badge Dale as Eric Savin in Iron Man 3

Before Iron Man came out, how hard was it to keep the secret about this version of Mandarin?

“That was tough, because I loved that. I loved that character. I actually got misquoted and out of context to the point where I thought, ‘Ooooh—that sounds like I gave it away.’ That’s not what I was saying, man! But I loved it. Ben’s performance—Sir Ben’s performance—is, maybe just because I’m an actor, but I just think it’s the coolest villain I’ve ever seen, man. C’mon, Trevor.”

And your character, the henchman Savin, looked terrifying when he turned bright red. What was it like to see yourself that way on screen?

“It was odd because I didn’t know that was what they were going to do. They would come up to me and Shane [Black] would say, ‘I have these ideas, Badge. There’s gonna be things happening. Flashes.’ And he would go, ‘Can you twitch? Add a little twitch in there?’ And then I saw it and I was like, ‘Whoa. That looks cool.’ It really looked cool. Those guys are so good at creating these visual effects. It was a really cool part of the character.”

People aren’t totally sure if your 24 character, Chase, is dead. If a 24 movie happens, are you interested?

“Chase never died! I’ve never heard that! Who said that? Chase is dead? No! Chase is 100 pounds overweight and living in a trailer in Valencia with one hand.”

That would be a great excuse to gain 100 pounds.

“I’d love it. Chase is a character I messed up on. If I got a second chance, I’d do it. I was young, I just struggled with him. I really struggled with him. I was 25 years old, man. I was a child—I was a pup. Oh, Chase! I kept messing up. I felt like I could do nothing right. When it came down to the point where Chase needed to be competent at his job, he was always bad at his job.”

I think that gives him a richness.

“You know what? He’s human. He’s human and he has faults. I have a lot of love for him, Chase.”

The Grey wasn’t a huge box office performer when it came out, but over the rest of the year, a lot of critics put it on their Top Ten lists and it build a lot of traction and respect. Were you surprised by the legs it’s had?

“No, because I love that story and I love that script, and I trust in Joe Carnahan. And Liam [Neeson] obviously poured his heart and soul into that performance. I can’t tell you how much I love that script. I didn’t beg Joe, but I came right about to the begging point of, “Joe, what do I gotta do to be in this?” I put every character in the film on tape for Joe. And then the character of Lewendon, who bites it, I was like, “Joe, lemme come do it.” And he brought me up and I spent a month in the snow with those guys. We had the best time shooting that film—that dark, messed-up, gritty story—just the best time. Because it meant something, it meant something to all of us. And we had a lot of good dinners. You’re in the middle of two feet of freezing snow in the middle of nowhere of British Columbia!”

I’m picturing big bowls of chili?

“Chili, wine—I don’t think they had chili up there, man? We were eating moose. I saw a moose one day. All the guys were up there and they were shooting without me because I was already dead. But every day that they would go up to shoot, I would do these long runs in the snow. Two feet of snow. I’d put my sweats on and run in the middle of nowhere. And I just turned and there’s a female moose 20 feet away. We just stopped and stared at each other. Moose are dangerous animals. They kill more people in North America than any other animal—mostly from car crashes, though. But they’re still dangerous!”

You’re shooting a movie about killer wolves and here you are alone with a deadlier animal.

“The great irony of the movie! And here I am with the real danger. I’m in the middle of nowhere, nobody knows where I am, I have no cellphone, no nothing, and I’m facing off with a moose. We look at each other. And we look at each other. And then the moose just goes back to eating the berries. That’s another moment that a New York City kid can take and hold on to. The time I narrowly escaped the rabid moose eating the cranberry bush.”

The Lone Ranger arrives in theaters on July 3rd, 2013.

Follow Amy on Twitter @TheAmyNicholson and Rob @rob_keyes.

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