Douglas Booth: The New Romeo
By: Lynn Barker
The latest movie Romeo cute Brit Douglas Booth was in a movie with Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore called “LOL” as Kyle, Miley’s love interest and has tackled classics before. He got the role of Pip in a TV mini-series version of “Great Expectations” and played classic, flamboyant 1980’s rocker Boy George in a TV movie. You can soon see him co-starring with Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum in the futuristic film Jupiter Ascending.
Right now, it’s all about romance and Romeo and we got to talk to Douglas about sword fighting, getting into character and connecting with his Juliet, teen co-star Hailee Seinfeld.
Kidzworld: You have a lot of intense sword fighting in the film. I assume you had to rehearse. Were there any accidents?
- Douglas: There was quite a lot of rehearsal. You have to get that thing right, because those swords can really do some damage. But it was great fun. What kind of young 21-year-old, or 17-year-old, wouldn't want to run around sword fighting on the weekends? There were a few cut knuckles maybe.
Kidzworld: This is obviously a piece about romance. Have you done something really romantic for someone?
- Douglas: I still don’t have an answer for that. It would be a bit sickening if I told you. It's probably not appropriate either. (The best romantic gesture) is probably something quite small actually. The most romantic things are very small, kind gestures from people you love, I think.
Kidzworld: Awwww, so true. Your Romeo in this film is very romantic on one hand and kind of super violent when he needs to be as well. What is your take on that?
- Douglas: Yeah, I hear what you're saying. Yes, he very much lives in the moment to the most extreme degrees. He sort of falls very quickly in love, but I don't think he really found true love until he met Juliet. He thought he was head over heels in love with Rosaline and he's busy carving a bust of her at the beginning of the movie. And then he just suddenly sees Juliet and he totally drops Rosaline. And now he's just totally in love with Juliet. But at the end, when he's with Paris (the man Juliet’s parents wanted her to marry) he says, 'Please, don't let me put another sin upon my head, please don't make me kill you.' because he's going to do anything he needs to do to be with his Juliet. Nothing will stop him, nothing, and Paris is in the way so a fight ensues.
Kidzworld: How do you compare this role to playing Boy George?
- Douglas: Each character you play has its own set of characteristics. How does it compare? I approach each character in the same way. First I have to go inside myself and establish something real and I have to put that out on the table and then I can think, ‘Now, how can I twist this to create?’
- The Boy George character, that's me, the Romeo character, that's me, that's just going within myself and changing it. They look completely different, you won't recognize them if you put two pictures up in front of someone, people won't know it's the same person probably, but it's all part of me and it's all coming from the human part inside me, I think.
Kidzworld: You seemed really convincingly in love, you could feel it. Was it hard to hold that throughout the whole filming?
- Douglas: (laughs) Pretty hard if you knew the end when Hailee was sick of me at that point. I don't know, we filmed the balcony scene first. You know this but you never shoot a film in order of scenes, or very rarely. First we had a couple of weeks in Italy before we started shooting to get to know each other and it was really a valuable time for us, so that when we got going we really could just jump right into it.
- It takes work beforehand to make sure that you know your arc, you know your journey so that wherever (in the story) you're jumping into it you know exactly where you're supposed to be. So, yeah, you do have to make sure you know how to maintain that kind of connection throughout the whole three month long period.
Kidzworld: How comfortable or uncomfortable were your costumes?
- Douglas: It was freezing cold and I don't know if you could see our breath in the movie. It was really cold and Hailee's dresses, part of her chest wasn’t covered so it’s not going to keep you that warm. I had a bit more padding, which makes it a lot harder to go to the toilet, and all that kind of thing. So it’s uncomfortable in a sense, but actually they fit, they were all custom made. Every single costume in this movie was made for this movie, and made for us.
Kidzworld: What was your first memory of “Romeo and Juliet” and what stuck with you about it?
- Douglas: For me, we grew up in England with Shakespeare. It’s a big part of our culture. He’s one of our best playwrights. It wasn’t until I threw the work into this film that I truly fell in love with his text and having now done this, I really do love it. Since doing it, I’ve seen so many more of Shakespeare’s plays on stage and they’re so brilliant.
Kidzworld: The role of the Friar who tries to help the young couple is really important and actor Paul Giamatti did an amazing job. Can you talk about working with Paul?
- Douglas: He’s one of my favorite actors. He’s so talented and I was fortunate enough to have a lot of scenes with him. I think that the relationship between the friar and Romeo is so important. Just to see the way Paul played it was so fantastic. One of my favorite shots in the whole movie was at the end when he rushes into the crypt and you see his face when he sees what he’s done. You’ll find few actors that can pierce you with their eyes quite like Paul Giamatti can. When we were filming the funeral, he started crying while watching us and when we said ‘Cut’, he just couldn’t stop and he had to go into part of the church and someone had to go and console him. He invests a lot into his parts and roles. He’s a genius.
Kidzworld: When you are approached with a classic, iconic role like this does it scare you or are you just excited?
- Douglas: It’s a bit of both. You’re terrified and excited and I live for challenges in my career. What I want to do is try to challenge myself and have a varied career and this is something I hadn’t done before so excited. I took on Boy George so I wasn’t scared of an iconic character but I think it’s definitely more excitement than fear.
Romeo & Juliet is in theaters October 11th!