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Journey’s End star Sam Claflin on why the psychological horrors unleashed by World War 1 still resound 100 years on

When is a classic war film not a war film? When it is, instead, an intense dissection of mortality, masculinity, power, trauma and class – albeit set in a World War 1 trench. Journey’s End, RC Sherriff’s play based on his First World War experiences, starred a young Laurence Olivier when it was first staged at the Apollo Theatre in 1928. It has since been adapted many times.

The latest version, directed by Saul Dibb, is released to mark the centenary of 1918’s Spring Offensive, which would leave more than half a million people dead in a few short, bloody weeks. In many ways, this can be seen as a classic war film. Yet it is almost entirely devoid of any explosive action. By focusing so closely on character rather than action it is a perfect follow-up to 2017’s Dunkirk.

Slow, sombre, sad and set to stay with viewers long after leaving the cinema, Journey’s End shows C Company, stationed in northern France, awaiting their fate. Six men, from a range of educational and economic backgrounds, thrown together by war into an uncomfortable confined space, each trying to cope with the prospect of almost-certain, imminent, premature death.

Sam Claflin takes the central role of Captain Stanhope. “I watched the play when I was at drama school in my second year,” recalls the 31-year-old, best known for roles in The Hunger Games and The Huntsman.

“I remember being completely spellbound. Completely in awe, not only of the performances but the characters and the stories. From that moment I remember saying to myself that I wanted to do this at some point, in whatever capacity, playing whoever.

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Journey’s End, a story set in the trenches at the end of World War One, may not on the surface sound relevant to an audience today.

Hunger Games star Sam Claflin, who stars in its latest film adaptation, thinks this couldn’t be further from the truth.

His character, Captain Stanhope, heads up an infantry unit in the British army, staving off Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with a large amount of whisky.

The display of a man failing to confront his mental health problems was just as much of an issue in 1918 as it is in 2018.

“With Stanhope there’s so much more responsibility on his shoulders, he’s hit harder and is so much younger than the others who have lived a life,” Claflin tells the BBC.

“He’s in charge of 100 men and that’s only the 100 men that are living at that time, not to speak of the men who have died during the three years he’s been there.”
‘It’s OK to be scared or a bit weak’

Claflin, whose career has seen him play everything from an aristocrat’s son in The Riot Club to a quadriplegic in Me Before You, spent time with four ex-servicemen suffering from PTSD to prepare for his role in the film.

“For me it was a really eye-opening experience and one I hope resonates with a younger audience,” he says.

“Nowadays I think many men are a lot more open to their emotions and feelings and expressing them, but at that time you wouldn’t see a genuine intimacy between men.”

The 31-year-old adds that he’s excited by how conversations around male mental health are changing.

“It’s OK to be afraid and to be anxious or scared or a bit weak – that doesn’t make you more or less of a man.”

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The ‘Hunger Games’ actor stars as Captain Stanhope in Saul Dibbs’ World War 1 drama about life in the front-line trenches in northern France

British star Sam Claflin likes to drink vodka and hates whisky. Nonetheless, on particularly hard days on the set of World War 1 drama Journey’s End Claflin would start the day by reaching for the water of life.

“I hate whisky so much,” he complains. “I had a shot of whisky on some days during filming because it makes me kind of harden and kind of a bit aggressive and just a little taste of whisky on the lips, it gave me fire.”

It was also a way for the charming actor to tap into the character of Captain Stanhope, a man living on the edge of the abyss who has witnessed atrocities that have ensured whisky has become his closest companion in the trenches.

Journey’s End is an adaptation of R.C. Sheriff’s anti-war play set in the trenches of the Aisne in March 1918 as the Germans are closing in and the smell of death hangs in the air. In Saul Dibb’s movie version, timed to coincide with the centenary of the events depicted, Claflin’s Captain Stanhope is already war-weary, way before the arrival of Raleigh (Asa Butterfield), whose elder sister used to dote on Stanhope when they were at school together.

The other cast members depicting life underground included Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham, Tom Sturridge and playing the cook Toby Jones. Claflin would reach for the source on days he needed intensity for a scene but other than that would remain quiet, almost stoic on set; “Paul Bettany took the reigns of being the class clown, if you will, but generally I tried to remain sombre and quite quiet and observe.”

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Congratulations to Sam and Laura.

Sam Claflin and wife Laura Haddock have welcomed their second child.

The Hunger Games actor revealed that he has become a father for the second time with Guardians of the Galaxy actress Laura Haddock, just three weeks ago.

The newborn is sister to two-year-old brother Pip.

The 31-year-old actor spoke about the experience to Chris Evans on his Breakfast show with Geri Horner.

Evans said: “Congratulations. Three weeks old now? Congratulations my friend, You seem glowing.”

Claflin quipped: “It’s happy news. She’s very new and shiny. I however am not.” [Source]



Suicide Squad‘s Jai Courtney has been set to star with Nat Wolff in Henry-Alex Rubin’s crime thriller Semper Fi. From Sparkhouse Media and Rumble Films, the project has further added Finn Wittrock, Beau Knapp, Arturo Castro and Leighton Meester. Principal photography starts February 1 in Louisiana. Cornerstone Films is handling international sales with UTA and CAA co-repping domestic.

Murderball director Rubin is helming from a script he wrote with Sean Mullin. The story sees Courtney as Cal, a by-the-book police officer who makes ends meet as a Marine Corps reservist along with his rowdy and inseparable group of childhood friends. When Cal’s younger, reckless half-brother Oyster (Wolff) accidentally kills a guy in a bar fight and tries to flee, Cal forces him to face the music.

After an unfair sentence, Oyster fights for survival in a dangerous Pennsylvania prison system while Cal and his friends are deployed to fight the lethal insurgency in Iraq. Overseas, Cal’s world is shaken, and after he barely makes it home alive, he resolves to break Oyster out of prison — no matter the cost.

American Horror Story’s Wittrock, Sand Castle’s Knapp and Narcos’ Castro are the gang that rally to his side in a bare-knuckled prison break to right the injustice.

Semper Fi is produced by Sparkhouse’s Karina Miller (To the Bone) and Oscar nominee David Lancaster (Whiplash) of Rumble Films. Sparkhouse Media is financing. Cornerstone’s Mark Gooder and Alison Thompson will be talking up the project at the EFM in Berlin next month. The project was first announced in Cannes last year with Sam Claflin attached; he later exited due to a scheduling conflict.

Additional talent lined up for Semper Fi includes cinematographer David Devlin (Monster, Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour), production designer Chris Stull (Machete) and costume designer Christina Flannery (Left Behind). [Source]

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Journey's End
Sam as Captain Stanhope
News    Photos    IMDb
RC Sherriff's Journey's End is the seminal British play about WW1. Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, it is the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, variously awaiting their fate
Adrift
Sam as Richard Sharp
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A young woman sails into the eye of a hurricane to save the man she loves.
Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs
Sam as Merlin (voice)
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Princes who have been turned into Dwarfs seek the red shoes of a lady in order to break the spell, although it will not be easy. A parody with a twist.
The Nightingale
Sam as Hawkins
News    Photos    IMDb
1825 Tasmania. A young convict woman seeking revenge for the murder of her family, takes an Aboriginal male outcast with her through the interior and gets much more than she bargained for.
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