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Interview - Luke Ford

By Sean Lynch
Interview with Luke Ford
Star of The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The Mummy - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor : Luke Ford Interview

Luke Ford has hit
the big time in hit
The Mummy :
Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Having conquered every acting job possible in Australia (including stints on "All Saints", "McLeod's Daughters", "Stingers", "Water Rats" and "Home & Away") it seemed only logical that Luke Ford would hit the Hollywood big time.

And what better way to start off a career in the USA than by starring in one of the most expensive action franchises of the year, and a budget which has been reported to be upwards of $170 Million.

Sean Lynch caught up with the upbeat star in the making 
(who seems just as enthusiastic about life as the late Steve Irwin used to be) during his recent trip to Melbourne to promote the highly anticipated sequel "The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor".

The big world tour press junket! As an Aussie actor - surely it doesn't get better than this...

[Laughs]. Well I've never done any press like this in ten years of acting up until this year. So I've had ten years worth of waiting... and it's kind of cool.

Did you do this kind of stuff for The Black Balloon?

Not to the extent of this - nowhere near!

It is a world tour, so you've been doing the rounds. Is Australia the last stop?

Australia is always the last stop unfortunately. We're the second last country in the world to see The Mummy - which is kind of... interesting.

But to be honest, this was my #1 stop [Laughs], I didn't really care about the American part - I'm nobody there. It was Australia that I was worried about, I was worried if people wouldn't like me or if when the movie premiered people would come out of the woodwork.

If Australia is the last stop, what is the coolest place you've been to - I've heard some whispers there are a few places you might not be allowed back [Laughs]...

[Laughs] Well, I loved Montreal, which is where we actually filmed the movie. Montreal was just beautiful, all the French Canadian, the old French quarter.

But the experiences I've had on The Mummy - I'll just give you the rundown!

1) Flooded a hotel
2) My friend got a black penis...

[Laughs] You can't just gloss over those in a sentence!

[Laughs] Well, I flooded the hotel by drinking to much on my first weekend [filming], and I went to have a shower to deal with being hungover and I woke up four hours later in the shower on the ground ..., and the whole hotel room was flooded including the room downstairs... and the restaurant [Laughs].

Then I had a friend who came over to visit me when I was in China, and on the first day he landed we went out for a drink, everyone was having a little bit of a dance and a drink... and the next morning he woke up with a black penis.

And that was really funny because it went through every colour of the rainbow: Black, Blue, Purple. But do you know what was great? The colour Green [Laughs]!

You have to see a green penis! Phenomenal! I wanted to shoot an alien short film based on this alien looking penis [Laughs].

Now, something I would be super excited about - you are now one of the select few Aussies to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. What's the vibe and process of something that iconic - as opposed to turning up on Mornings with Kerrie Anne?

[Laughs] Kerrie Anne - they just tell you you're going on Kerrie Anne. Jay Leno is a little more important, especially if you're not much of a noticeable name yet - which I'm not.

So they interview you... then they interview you again to make sure you're still telling the story "funny". And then finally, they put you on the show! And they give you a run down, Jay's got a list of things that he knows that happened and he'll mention them if you want. And basically its up to you to tell the stories and have a laugh - and he'll help you have a laugh.

Were you quietly shitting yourself?

I was! Especially just before I came out [on stage]. And the other thing that was really scary was that I've been noticing lately that when I get nervous I start to get a runny nose. So imagine going on Jay Leno goin' [sniffs and wipes nose like Robert Downey Jnr. circa 1996] - so I was just freakin' out!

Then just before I go on stage, my nose starts running - and I'm in a suit so I can't wipe it on my sleeve. And I had nothing to blow my nose on. And I'm like - dammit - everyone's gonna think I have something wrong with me or I have some kind of cocaine problem [Laughs].

At least you didn't have a black penis...

[Laughs] Well if my penis had of turned black - then we really would of had a problem! [Laughs].

Also on that Leno episode was Scarlett Johansson. Now... she's kind of hot...

Ooo Yeah!

Is it one of those Hollywood things where everyone doesn't talk to each other, or did you get to hang out with her after the show?

Surprisingly everyone sort of walks off. But, it's a business, you know. And to be honest, normally I'm the first to walk. I just get really nervous when I meet famous people, and big directors and big producers - and I really just like to keep it within the work element. So if I'm not performing with them, I don't really like hanging out with them because there is just to much pressure.

So I didn't meet her [Johansson] before the interview, but we do share the same agent. So when I first said hello to her on air - that's the first time I'm meeting her.

In between the ads she'd ask me a few questions, she was like "Aw, so you're with George [The Agent]?" - and I'm like... Jesus Christ... that's Scarlett Johansson talking to me!

The Mummy - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor : Luke Ford

Ford took on a role that
was made to perform stunts

Luke Ford

Speaking of your Agent. Having been a "jobbing" actor in Australia for the last few years - it's a massive leap to star in a hugely budgeted franchise for your first US outing.

How much of that is luck, or fueled by having the right agent and the right manager - and how much is it knowing the right people?

Well, for  The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor role itself - it was just like anyone who goes to the news agency, fills in a lottery ticket and sometimes your numbers come up.

It's kind of like the same thing - it was a world wide cattle call. Everyone around the world got the chance to audition for Alex Connel. And then one day they just said "You've got to fly to America to test with Brendan".

The Mummy series obviously takes some of it's inspiration from the Indiana Jones series - with Tomb of the Dragon Emperor working much better in certain places than the latest Indy did.

Were you ever concious of trying to differ your role to the way Shia LaBeouf took on his similar role?

Yeah, I was a little worried - and I still think Shia did a better job than me... but of course actors are always negative about their work [Laughs].

I've been called "The Anti-Shia" - I don't know what that means [Laughs]. It could be good or bad - I don't know! I could be the Anti-Devil [Laughs]? I thought the release of the new Indiana Jones movie would actually be beneficial for The Mummy, I thought it would be the "Year of Archeology".

But it turned out to be "The Year of Batman" [Laughs], so I was completley wrong! But to be honest, I think a lot of what the new Indy movie didn't have, we have. Like the opening scene of my character investigating the mummy tomb, I really thought that's something they would have had Shia doing.

But I got to do it... so I'm really happy about that!

I did hear around the grapevine that if Tomb of the Dragon Emperor only made $50 Million at the Box Office - you would be taking over in the next installment? Is that still on the cards now that the movie has taken upwards of $300 Million worldwide?

[Laughs] That was the immaturity of me, and not knowing the business element of it all. That was probably my own theory - which I guess is wrong - and that was early days. But it's doing really well internationally - so if they choose to do another one...
 
I'm signed for three [Mummy sequels] - so I'd love to do another one...



THE MUMMY : TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR is in cinemas SEPTEMBER 11th, 2008

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