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Jamie Bell: Tintin Talks His New Action Movie

Jan 25, 2012

By: Lynn Barker

Kidzworld is sitting down with cute young actor Jamie Bell who is in his 20’s but played a 14-year-old as the motion capture actor and voice of Tintin. Today we’re talking about his funny, action-packed role in the thriller Man on a Ledge.

We’re in a suite in a posh Beverly Hills hotel and Jamie has just heard that his buddy Channing Tatum (another hottie) is in the hotel so he asks me if he can text him. The guys played buddies in the recent historical adventure The Eagle.

Kidzworld: You just texted Channing [he won’t tell me what they said but Jamie laughed]. Are you two still buds after doing The Eagle together?

  • Jamie: Oh yeah, of course. We occasionally meet up with each other. He’s the nicest guy in the world. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat. There’s always talk about this and that but nothing solid at the moment.

Kidzworld: Great that “Tintin” won a Golden Globe for best animated feature film so you’ll probably be playing the 14-year-old (motion capture and voice) in some more movies, right?


  • Jamie: Yeah. We’ve got to wait for (director) Peter (Jackson) to get back from Middle Earth (The Hobbit) first.

Kidzworld: In Man on a Ledge (BTW, Jamie isn’t the man actually out on a ledge. That would be hot Sam Worthington. Jamie plays his brother) you do a lot of hanging on cords and wires in this film like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Does your dance training help with that or are those different muscles in use?

  • Jamie: Yeah. I think any kind of physical background helps with all kinds of acting even if it’s just in general. Any kind of physical discipline is really useful for acting. It puts you in touch with your body, gives you a good sense of balance and coordination and, for character stuff, it enables you to develop different physicalities for different characters. That can be fun.

Kidzworld You started your career dancing in the movie Billy Elliot. Do you still dance for exercise?

  • Jamie: I kind of rarely do it but it’s kind of like riding a bike. You never really forget how to do it. I’m just waiting for the right kind of movie to really do it again.

Kidzworld: You had a lot of trouble as a male dancer when you were a kid. You were teased. What can you say to kid and teen guys now who really want to dance or choreograph?

  • Jamie: It’s interesting. I feel like when I was a kid the climate was so different. I feel it’s gotten better now. The people (doing the teasing) are usually saying that because they don’t understand it or it’s threatening to them. It’s a world that they don’t know how to navigate. If it’s something you believe in you have to keep doing it. Any form of self-expression is not a bad thing. There’s so much now that revolves around the world of dance. There are so many TV shows set up now about that and just focusing on performance in general. It’s close to athletics. You have to be at your top form.

Kidzworld: Would you do a Broadway musical or movie musical?

  • Jamie: I don’t know. I haven’t seen a good movie musical for a long time. They’re so hard to do. I’m not really down with the whole “Glee” or High School Musical stuff. I think it would require something a little bit better. I want to do a great bio-pic of one of the great dancers; Fred Astaire.

Kidzworld: You’re young but you’ve really done it all as far as different types of movies; costume pictures, action, drama and motion capture with Tintin.  If someone told you you would have to do one certain kind of movie for the rest of your life, what kind would you pick?

  • Jamie: Still trying to really figure it out; what I really enjoy. The interesting thing about Man on a Ledge was I got to explore my comedic sense which I know I inherently have but it’s hard to do on film. I have such respect for comedic actors because I think it’s genuinely hard.

Kidzworld: You and Genesis Rodriguez who plays your girlfriend, made a really funny and cute couple.

  • Jamie: Thanks! We really share the same comedic sensibilities. She’s cool and definitely threw me a lot of curve balls and held her own so it was good.

Kidzworld: You propose to her in the movie. Some day you’re going to propose to somebody so would you want to do it in a neighborhood club surrounded by your family and best buds (like in this movie) or go off somewhere romantic with the girl and ask?

  • Jamie: Oh, definitely go off some place romantic because it’s about you two. It’s about the union of two people, not a group activity.

Kidzworld: I thought that wouldn’t be your style.

  • Jamie: No. In an Irish bar? No way!

Kidzworld: Let’s say you had the opportunity your character has. A very bad guy has a bunch of jewels in his safe and you have broken in there… do you slip something for yourself?

  • Jamie: Oh yeah of course. If I knew the guy was a [jerk] and falsely imprisoned by brother, yeah for sure. I’d take everything…. and the guy’s checkbook.

Kidzworld: It sounds like this movie was a blast to shoot but what was a challenge for you?

  • Jamie: There were lots of props. Lots of things to pick up and carry and spraying stuff and drilling things and constantly carrying bags and forms and headsets. All the props became a little laborious. But most of the time it was fun. It became just me, Genesis and Asger (Leth, the director) just playing around, doing a cool little heist movie.

Kidzworld: I thought it was funny that you are on these bungee cords hanging above floors like Tom Cruise in the original Mission Impossible but you aren’t that good. [He laughs] You’re falling a lot.

  • Jamie: Yeah, totally. You just take regular guys and do that. We weren’t at that level. That’s very impressive what he has to do.

Kidzworld: The average moviegoer can relate to you two.

  • Jamie: Yeah. If you had to do it, this is how it would be.

Kidzworld: What character in history or in a book would you like to play some day?

  • Jamie: I’d love to play a musician or somebody like that. That would be great.

Kidzworld: What are you into right now musically?

  • Jamie: Oh I’m all over the place, really. There are a bunch of new bands. I like old rock ‘n roll. I really like blues music. I’m very eclectic. Any kind of music is great.

Kidzworld: People are calling you quirky all the time. What do you think that means?

  • Jamie: I don’t know. I guess kind of offbeat?

Kidzworld: That’s a good thing, right?

  • Jamie: I think so. I would much rather sit down and have dinner with a quirky person just because it would be more fun. I don’t mind that. I’ll take that word to describe me.

Kidzworld: What project in a drawer at home are you dying to do?

  • Jamie: I really want to do that biopic about Fred Astaire. It would give me an opportunity to do the style of dancing I really like to do in the context of a time when it was more appreciated. I think it’s hard to make tap dancing as an art form relevant today. It would be a big period movie thing.




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