Jonas Armstrong is charming as hell
My bet is you will be seeing a lot of this Irish-born British actor. His name is Jonas Armstrong. You may not even know of him … yet. His previous experience has included stints on a number of TV shows like “Robin Hood,” “Hit & Miss” and “Prisoners Wives.”
But now the handsome charmer plays the lead in the movie “Walking With the Enemy.” It’s a story set in Hungary during World War II. Armstrong plays Elek Cohen, a young man who is able to steal a Nazi uniform and wear it to pose as an SS officer in order to free hundreds of Jews. It’s a dramatic action tale with a moving love story, too. Hannah Shoen (Hannah Tointon) plays Elek’s love interest.
This is a film about love and courage and the extreme sacrifices some people make when they feel driven to help others. Directed by Mark Schmidt with a screenplay by Kenny Golde. Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley also stars.
Cohen is a fictionalized character who was inspired by a Hungarian man named Pinchas Tibor Rosenbaum, who got ahold of one of the uniforms from the Arrow Cross Party — an extreme Hungarian faction that was aligned with Hitler and responsible for the deportation and death of tens of thousands of Jews.
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TheBlot’s Dorri Olds interviewed Armstrong on Park Avenue on April 1.
Dorri Olds: How did you become involved in this project?
Jonas Armstrong: I auditioned. [Grinned] I got the script and my agent called me and said, “They’re really keen to see you.” I’d just come off a long job and went down to meet the director, Mark Schmidt, and read with one of the producers. You get an inkling if a meeting has gone well. I felt good when I left the room.
At the end of a day of filming was it hard to snap back to being yourself?
Yeah. Some of the scenes are very harrowing. You invest so much for it to come across on the screen. The cast was big and people went off drinking and eating, but I wanted to stay in to honor the role and keep myself in the mindset.
Are you a method actor?
I don’t keep myself in character the whole time. That would just be torture. It is hard to shut off from something of this magnitude; I mean it’s about the war and the Holocaust and it’s not something you can be blasé about.
Have you received any feedback that stands out in your mind?
At one screening in Florida there was one lady who came up to me and said, “That’s like the story of my father.” She was in floods of tears. It was really emotional.
What’s next for you?
I’m waiting on two projects and I’ve got a film coming out in June with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, which is called “Edge of Tomorrow.” Having two films coming out in succession is quite nice. [Smiles]
What’s the film you’re waiting to hear about?
I’m not going to say because if I don’t get it, I’m going to look stupid, aren’t I? [Laughs]
What role do you most look forward to playing in your career?
I’d love to play Iago in “Othello,” whether on screen or on stage.
Would you want to play it on Broadway?
Yeah, of course! It’s a devious and ruthless character.
Would you ever consider moving to America?
I would move to New York City like that. [Snaps fingers] This is the first time I’ve been here and it’s amazing.
Who is your favorite actor?
What did you think of Matthew McConaughey in “True Detective?”
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That’s what I was just going to say is also amazing! It’s a fugazi! It’s a woo-woo-woo. This is just what it’s like, too. [He motions to me and my camera] He’s sitting there, being interviewed, cutting the cans up and smoking. Oh yeah, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It’s brilliant!
“Walking With the Enemy” is brilliant. Watch the trailer below: