Movies

Sam Claflin embraces new chapter in passion project My Cousin Rachel

Sam Claflin takes a break from movie franchises for a turn in My Cousin Rachel

English actor Sam Claflin has starred in some of the biggest movie franchises of recent times - he was in The Hunger Games series, Snow White And The Huntsman and its sequel as well as Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

But starring in the new dark romance My Cousin Rachel gave the 30-year-old the opportunity to embrace a role unlike any other he has tackled and shine in a smaller passion project.

Opening here tomorrow, My Cousin Rachel is based on the classic Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name and directed by Roger Michell.

For Claflin, it marks a new chapter in an already illustrious career. It was, he said, a huge challenge - and he loved every minute of working with "a great director, a fantastic script and a wonderful cast".

He said: "I also loved the idea of playing this character who thinks he is a man but in many ways is still a boy. We often see the story of a boy who becomes a man, but this is more a man who turns into a boy, and I enjoyed that transition."

My Cousin Rachel tells the story of Philip (Claflin), who plots revenge against the mysterious and beautiful titular woman (Rachel Weisz), believing she murdered his cousin-guardian (Claflin in a dual role) after marrying the latter in order to inherit his estate.

But Philip finds himself falling under Rachel's spell.

Claflin said: "One of the great things about Rachel (Weisz)'s performance was that I could not work out how she was playing it as we were filming. And one thing that Roger, Rachel (Weisz) and myself would never discuss was who thought what.

"And standing in Philip's shoes, I was continually questioning whether the character Rachel is or is not scheming against Philip, which was perfect for the story we were telling. And I still to this day do not know what Rachel (Weisz) thinks about her character."

Working with the 47-year-old Oscar-winning English actress was a delight.

"My character is swept away and in awe of her, and so I did not feel like I was acting much," Claflin said with a laugh.

"Rachel is easy to work with, but she also kept me on my toes and pushed me further as an actor. I was constantly on edge in a really exciting way."

Claflin, who has a two-year-old son with his wife, British actress Laura Haddock, is "thankful" for the opportunities that keep coming his way.

He said: "I try and stay away from the box-office madness. If you get too wrapped up in that, it will drive you nuts. I think the difficult thing about where I am at now is that there is an age gap in the industry, I feel, for a lot of men of all ethnicities.

"Between the ages of 25 and 35, there are stories, but not many, about men of that age. There are a lot of boy-to-man stories, like 18 to 25, and there are stories that follow men of 35 and over but not so many in between. So at the moment I am in the process of bulking up, and I am about to explore a slightly older character next.

"Now I am a father, I feel I have got an emotional depth greater than, say, two years ago. What is great about where I am now is that I am starting to get scripts for older men, and I am ready to explore that."

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