In Inkheart, the movie adaptation of the first book in Cornelia Funke's Inkworld trilogy, a daughter discovers that her father, Mo, has the ability to bring book characters to life simply by reading aloud their stories. ReelzChannel's Naibe Reynoso sat down with Brendan Fraser and Eliza Hope Bennett recently to talk about playing the father and daughter at Inkheart's core.
Reynoso: Brendan, what links all your characters?
Fraser: That they have hair? Sometimes? I don't know the answer, Naibe, help me out here... They all look something like me, unless I'm in heavy makeup? Eliza Hope Bennett, everyone, has all the answers -- so I refer to my lovely assistant.
Reynoso: Did you do any research on his past roles?
Bennett: Well, when I was younger [I had] seen films that he's been in like George of the Jungle, and obviously I watched the Mummy films, so I knew who he was and stuff. I saw his name on the cast list and was like, right -- I saw everyone's names --[and thought] "So it's going to be me and Brendan Fraser and Paul Bettany and Helen Mirren?" My name sort of didn't quite fit in with the rest of those! But then I met them, and I realized they were just so down-to-earth and funny. Everyone was so funny. It made filming so much fun because we were just laughing all the time -- laughing and eating.
Fraser: Because we were in Italy, and that's what you do.
Reynoso: What were you eating?
Fraser: Everything...pasta coming out the ears! Come on, it was in the place that inspired the novel -- this actual place...there was a castle and a seismic place in the 60's and people are still living up there.
Bennett: It looked like you stepped into it and you were like stepping back in time.
Reynoso: I hear you inspired the Mo character in the novel?
Fraser: That's what [Cornelia Funke] told me. I read it in a description of the novel that she sent to me -- I was not aware of who she was, I was ignorant. It said, "Dear Brendan, Thanks for inspiring this character. Read it to your kids one day. XXOO. Hugs and kisses, Cornelia."
Reynoso: When did she give you that book?
Fraser: I can't do the math on it, but it was long before we ever got a screenplay together -- or I even met her, for that fact. And I Googled -- I thought someone was playing a joke on me, honestly, I did -- because that doesn't happen. It was for real, and I was so flattered. I didn't know how to say thank you. So I went to meet her and her family in Hamburg. And, you know, you put your dukes up and go in, we make the movie, we get a director, a cast, and here we are now.
Reynoso: And you couldn't get the character wrong, of course.
Fraser: That's not true! ...He's a different individual, a different guy from me. I mean, I don't have the ability to come to life.