Interview: Tom Weston-Jones on BBC One's Troy: Fall of a City.
A visceral retelling of the fall of Troy in eight parts, written by David Farr, whose award-winning adaptation of The Night Manager aired on BBC One in 2016.
Told from the perspective of the Trojan family at the heart of the siege, Troy: Fall Of A City is a story of a love that threatens to bring an empire to its knees. Combining thrilling adventure with heartbreaking intimacy, it explores primal emotions, the psychological repercussions of human actions and life-changing decisions amid the devastation and destruction of war.
Tom Weston-Jones tells us more.
Tell us about Hector. What’s he like?
Hector is basically the golden boy of the city, of Troy. He doesn’t really take too much of a liking to Paris - the brother he didn’t know existed - when Paris first arrives because I don’t think he feels Paris has the best intentions or the right attitude. Hector also doesn’t know who Paris is as a person, so there is a lot of mystery in their relationship, and we don't really know where it is going to go for long stretches of the story.
I just love how Hector isn’t afraid to go against the grain a lot of the time too. He doesn’t mind speaking his mind. Some might call him a bit of a curmudgeon, but we love that about him!
What were the highlights of playing him?
The highlight for me was probably the variety of scenes I’ve filmed, certainly in terms of scale. I'd never filmed anything before that had seen me working on such personal, intimate scenes one moment, and then riding a horse into battle half an hour later, through a town that was on fire! It's was a big juxtaposition and I loved that.
What preparation did you do?
I did a lot of training to get me ready for such a physical role. I had 10 weeks of preparation time, which was a long time, but exactly what I needed to get myself in shape, mentally and physically. And then as soon as I arrived in South Africa we had another three weeks of preparation which included boot camps for all the skills a soldier would have needed back then, from horse riding to fight and stunt training.
I thought I was pretty ready from my ten weeks of training back home, but then they threw all the swords and shields at us and I realised how much I still had to do to be ready to play Hector. But it was amazing how quickly we took to all these new skills and different styles of weaponry. We learned about hand-to-hand combat, how to handle swords, spears and shields in a way that's safe for us but looks incredible on camera. I love that kind of thing so I threw myself into it. And then when we got to put it all into together into the big action scenes during filming it felt like a young boy’s dream. There were times when we’d have to pinch ourselves.
Hector’s fight with Paris is a big moment in episode one...
It is, it’s a big deal! The fight between Louis and I was filmed across four days and by the end of it both of us were broken men! Not to give too much away, but we really throw ourselves around so much during that sequence and we had one particular section which was done in one take. So we had to rehearse it in full over and over again, and because it was quite complicated we just had to go full throttle every single time. We went for a beer that night - we really needed that!
Was it also fun?
It was great fun. You develop a great deal of camaraderie with someone after spending four days pretending that you’re trying to kill them! It's a little bit like sport really - after you've slugged it out with someone for a time, you develop a weird bond with them. And we really did have that by the bucket load. In fact the whole cast did - the Greeks and Trojans tended to separate themselves when we were filming but we all got on very, very well.
Episode one is available on BBC iPlayer now.