Movies

We Tried To Convince Armie Hammer To Play James Comey


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This is going to be a big year for Armie Hammer. Call Me By Your Name premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to universal acclaim and Hammer’s name has already been put on a number of short lists as a major awards contender for his role in the period romance. Right now, for Hammer, it’s kind of the calm before the storm – so maybe it’s fitting that his character in Cars 3 is named Jackson Storm.

Jackson Storm is kind of an old school cool movie villain. You know, the character who is just better than everyone else and he knows it. And Jackson Storm is so good in Cars 3 that he forces Lightning McQueen out of racing, at least temporarily. Jackson Storm is kind of a Clubber Lang from Rocky III movie villain (and when I mentioned this to Hammer, it was pointed out this is probably the first Armie Hammer/Mr. T comparison in history.)

Hammer also updates us about the continuing saga of the The Man From U.N.C.L.E sequel. In April he revealed that he and Lionel Wigram are kind of unofficially working on a script. In May I spoke to Guy Ritchie who didn’t seem to know about this and seemed surprised there was interest in a sequel. Now Hammer says he’s had a group dinner with the brain trust behind the first film, including Ritchie, and gives us an update on how that went.

And, yes, the idea is floated that Hammer should play former FBI director James Comey in the eventual movie about everything going on in Washington D.C. right now.

How are you, sir?

Good, man. Another day in paradise, as they say.

I’m in New York and it’s like 97, so I don’t quite agree with that.

Oh. I’ve got to tell you, I don’t want to rub it in: It is 70, not a cloud in the sky, and glorious here.

Yeah, I bet it is. I don’t doubt you.

But the double-edge of that sword is that I will spend my entire day inside a hotel answering questions today.

I don’t feel much better because of that. That doesn’t cool me down at all.

[Laughs.] Okay. Fair enough.

I think Jackson Storm is cool. He looks cool. He’s a cool villain.

Well, by the way, I’ve definitely been called worse, so I’ll take the compliment. The thing about Jackson Storm is, he is cool, man. Like the way that car is shaped, the way it looks, it sounds – all that stuff is just badass. The only problem is it comes with a real stinker of an attitude.

He reminded me of Clubber Lang from Rocky III, the Mr. T character.

Oh, funny.

Because he’s better, but he’s got an attitude.

Man, that’s the first time I’ve ever been compared to Mr. T. And I think I love it.

We have entered new territory.

That is definitely a first, but hopefully not the last.

I hope this follows you in your career.

“Wait, Mr. T just walked in. Oh, never mind. That’s just Armie.”

Also, now you can say you were in a movie with Paul Newman.

Dude, trust me, I’ve said that. I have said that to everybody who will listen. And I say it with the utmost respect, obviously. I’m just like, I’m so honored and thrilled that they were able to get that and that I was now able to say I am in a movie with Paul Newman.

That looks really good on a resumé.

What do you mean resume? That was like a bucket list item that I just checked. That’s better than any resumé. I retire. I quit. There’s no one else I want to work with anymore.

A few weeks ago I spoke to Guy Ritchie and mentioned the story about you and Lionel Wigram discussing a sequel to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. He didn’t know much about that and seemed shocked that movie has had a resurgence…

Wait, when did you talk to him? How long ago was this?

Around six weeks ago…

Was this before King Arthur premiere or after the King Arthur premiere?

Before.

Okay, because he came into town for the premiere and we all had dinner: Guy, Lionel, myself, and Lynn Harris, who was one of the executives on the movie. And we all had dinner together and that’s when I told them. I was like, “So, guys.” So, yes, it is completely conceivable that he didn’t know. After you interviewed him, probably about a week after that, sat down and was like, “So here’s the deal. We’re doing this.”

He seemed very happy people were discovering it.

Yeah, people bring it up quite a bit and it just makes me really happy for Guy and it makes me really happy for Lionel and for Henry and for myself. You know, we put a lot of work into it and we really enjoyed making it, so the fact that people enjoyed watching it is a lot of fun. And if people enjoyed watching enough to sort of warrant making another one, I would be there. You know, I loved working with those guys. I loved working on that project. I’d love to do another one.

I know he brought it up in other interviews after, asking their opinions on U.N.C.L.E.

Yeah. Well, I’m glad that you reinforced that, because for all of his skills and how he can make a great movie, he probably had no idea that people really liked The Man from U.N.C.L.E. So that’s great.

I saw Call Me by Your Name at Sundance and I think people are just going to be blown away by this movie when it comes out.

I mean, it’s another one of those examples of doing a project because you believed in it because you really want to work with the people, and I’ve been having the best time working with Luca [Guadagnino] and Timothée [Chalamet] and everybody. So the fact that people responded so well to it is really nice.

It’s one of those instances as a viewer where you realize this is the perfect role for a particular actor and vice-versa.

Well, I appreciate it, dude. It was a great role and a great script shot at a great place. So it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun to get to do and I’m really excited about getting to see those guys again at the end of the year for all the press and all that.

And way down on the list of reasons I’m also excited for it to come out, I need to have the GIF of you dancing to Psychedelic Furs, because that is just pure joy.

[Laughs] Oh, my God.

Because that will be a GIF. When someone is happy he will type, “I feel like,” and it’s going to be you dancing to Psychedelic Furs.

I also have a feeling that that might not be the only GIF that makes it out of the movie.

You’re correct. There will be a lot of GIFs from this movie.

That’ll be the PG one.

Where did you come up with that dance? Because again, that dance is pure joy.

I just went as ’80s as possible. I watched some old ’80s stuff and I talked to a dance choreographer about ’80s moves. And like, she showed me some stuff and I was like, “Nah, I don’t like that. I like this, like that. Okay, let’s just go for it.” And we just did it, you know.

You’re probably going to poo-poo this…

Uh oh.

And I know there’s an age difference, but you should play James Comey in a movie…

Oh, funny. Is it because I’m tall?

There are other reasons, but that’s one. He’s an extremely tall man.

By the way, there is going to be a movie at some point that has Comey in it as well as all of these other cartoon character politicians that we have right now. So I’m excited to see what that ends up being, and if I end up playing Comey, so be it.

It is weird to say, but you may even be a little too short for this role…

What?

Comey is 6’8″…

No!

So you’re not even quite as tall as he is.

That’s crazy. And by the way, like, anything over my height – I’m 6’5″ – anything over 6’5″, it’s like you are crazy tall.

Plus you have FBI experience with J. Edgar.

I do. I do. Yeah, I think, though, that being in J. Edgar precludes me from being able to be in any other movie about the FBI.

I disagree. You know what you’re talking about.

Okay, I’ll take it.

And I hope you’re getting a lot of rest because I feel like the end of this year with Call Me By Your Name is going to be very busy for you.

Well, I’ve got two kids under two and a half, so there’s no rest for the wicked.

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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