Full Interview at ComingSoon.net
[...] The thing about Chris is that he's British and I'm British. We're from a very similar neighborhood. I was quite fortunate to be able to tap into my one on one relationship with Chris Nolan. That was my port of call. So the process of dispatching information and recording a response was very simple. What do you need? Who is this guy? What do you want?
He wanted a little bit of John Hurt. A little bit of Bond-ness. A little bit of the Royal Shakespeare company. A bit of Farley Granger. He gave me a book to read about forgery about the fake masterpieces by the Dutch artist. He used to forge. Colin Firth played him... He gave me very images and ideas to collect to put into this character. He liked what I did in "RocknRolla" and wanted to keep it as close to me as possible in many ways. And he didn't want to try too hard. He wanted to really create something. But this is who he is. This is what he portrays in the film and how he does. He's very simple and there wasn't a great amount of back and forth over it. There didn't need to be. He (Nolan) was very clear about who it was I was to play.
And there's something very old school, MI-5 about this guy as well. He's got the Graham Greene "Our Man in Havana" type. Old and faded, slightly shabby, down and out diplomats. A bit unscrupulous and off-the-radar. He's got the gambling and he's into the dream stuff. Parts of him you find questionable, but you've also got the fighting and the scenes within the dreamscape, which shows a potential military background. He's a very can-do person with weaponry as well. He a good blend of the British kind of espionage take on what a James Bond type would be. Educated. Also minimal effort, maximum force when it comes to the speedy delivery of violence and death. That's something we pride ourselves on in the military in Britain. That was very clear. He's an archetype.
Everyone up there has their own private relationship with Chris. What I realized personally, on a very minor scale, was that the more I did impressions of Chris, the easier it was. I thought, I have to stop because I'm still talking like Chris. Using his cadence or whatever and then slightly changing it with maybe a little of a slight edge and that Roman Catholic softness. That was feedback I was getting from him. I think Eames is Chris. To be honest, I think they all are Chris. But the more I tried to be Chris, the more I ended up projected on him. That was really what went into it rather than any massive research prior to the planning. [...]