Exclusive: BATTLE: LOS ANGELES’ Noel Fisher Interview
Noel Fisher has been acting steadily since 1999, but while you probably recognize his face, you might not know his name yet. You soon will. Along with his current stint on Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ as neighborhood bully and Gallagher antagonist (not to mention potential love interest for Ian Gallagher) Mickey Milkovich, Noel has pivotal roles in two major films coming out this year.
In the alien invasion thriller BATTLE: LOS ANGELES, Noel plays Private Shaun Lenihan, whose first battle could be mankind’s last stand against the aliens who want to colonize our planet. Then in THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN, Noel takes on the role of Vladimir, a vampire of the Romanian Coven who, along with Stefan (Guri Weinberg) comes to the aid of the Cullens when they are threatened by the Volturi.
Daemon’s Movies talked to Noel about what it was like fighting aliens in Battle: LA, what we can expect next for Mickey on ‘Shameless,’ and what he thinks Bill Condon should tease Twilight fans with next.
You’ve been working steadily for a long time, but you’re on quite a roll now –
Noel Fisher: Yeah, the last couple of years have been something special, I have to admit. I’ve been thanking my lucky stars for a little bit now.
‘Battle Los Angeles’ is coming out soon and you play Private First Class Lenihan, right?
Noel Fisher: Yes. Shaun Lenihan.
And what can you tell us about Shaun?
Noel Fisher: He’s the rookie Marine in the platoon. He’s kind of fresh out of boot camp and I think he’s the only of them that hasn’t seen combat yet. He’s kind of thrown into what’s a very un-typical combat situation. Basically he’s the fresh faced kind of kid and the rest of the platoon is really trying to look out for him as they do for the newbies.
And right off the bat he has to face aliens?
Noel Fisher: Yeah. It’s kind of bad luck, isn’t it? He doesn’t get it easy. He doesn’t get taken easy on by the fates, I guess. He doesn’t get to go and have a regular fight. No. He has to go and fight these crazy aliens.
So, the deal is that your platoon goes into Los Angeles to try and rescue the survivors?
Noel Fisher: Yes. Basically the idea behind the movie is that this massive invasion starts happening and the really cool thing about it is that it’s very real time, a real time response of the military in terms of a homeland invasion as it happens across the globe. There is a boundary created, a line of defense basically and we get sent across that line to try and retrieve any civilians that we can find, anybody who needs help on the other side of that line that the American military is trying to maintain. It basically gets pretty hairy.
Is Shaun a scared newbie or is he more cocky?
Noel Fisher: He’s definitely…the thing about this is that I think all the actors brought to the table that everyone is pretty scared, as I imagine combat is with whoever you’re fighting. It’s kind of how you deal with it. The veterans have a bit of an easier time dealing with it for the most part and he’s definitely scared going in. It’s all quite overwhelming, but I think that he handles himself relatively well considering.
Did you have to do a lot of stunts?
Noel Fisher: We did a lot of weapons training, and yeah, there are quite a few encounters that we have to defend ourselves, do what we have to do.
Did you do some of those stunts yourself?
Noel Fisher: Yeah. Actually, I got to do all of my own stuff. I got to do pretty much everything. I know there were some sequences with some other people that had to use stunt guys, but for the most part, that was the really cool thing about being trained, that we were prepared to do the stuff that we needed to do. We knew how to use our weapons. We knew how to do assault tactics, charges, different advancing and defending column lines and all this stuff. So we knew how to kind of do all of it because we were lucky enough to get go through boot camp.
What was the hardest part of that boot camp?
Noel Fisher: There were a number of hard parts. The waking up at 5AM everyday for workout was a little rough. You have to get up at 5AM and go do a lot of sit-ups and a lot of push-ups and go for several miles of running which wasn’t the funnest time, but it kind of was at the same time. It was hard in the moment, but it also created a lot of camaraderie. That was the biggest part of the experience, I think, that helped me.
You go through that in the Louisiana summer heat, the boot camp. There’s a lot of waking up at 5AM and all this kind of craziness, but it was just so much fun at the same time and it created such a strong bond with all the actors. I mean, I love these guys. These guys are all so fantastic. I think that’s a really important thing that came out of boot camp, this idea that you have a platoon and you do care about these people. We all cared about each other so much in real life and I think that really comes across on screen. I think that’s really important for these kinds of movies.
How much of the film have you seen?
Noel Fisher: I have unfortunately not see that much. I know that some of the guys got to go to a screening, but I wasn’t in town. I was bummed about that, but I’ll get to see it at the premiere. I’m really excited about that. I have seen some stuff on ADR, doing some looping stuff, but that’s pretty much it. The stuff that I have seen, it looks pretty cool.
What do you think people will be thinking at the end of the movie as they leave the theater?
Noel Fisher: I think when they leave the theater they’ll be thinking, ‘That’s something that I have not seen before.’ I really think that just the experience of shooting it and the trailers and all of that, and I know what Jonathan [Liebesman] was going for, what they were all going for…you see a lot of sci-fi movies that have a lot of this slick factor, ‘Independence Day’ and stuff like that where there’s a heightened reality to a lot of it and the really cool thing about this movie is that it’s so based in reality. It’s really gritty and very real.
It’s unlike anything that’s been done before because it’s basically just a war movie that happens to have aliens in it. It’s very done in a kind of ‘Black Hawk Down’ style where we have the modern day equipment that we’d have right now if this happened. We don’t have any special kind of advanced weapons or anything like that. It’s very much what would happen right now if this happened and I don’t think that’s been done before. I really think that people are going to enjoy the realism of that.
What was your first reaction when you saw the look of the aliens?
Noel Fisher: When I saw the aliens, and again I’m sorry to repeat myself, but I thought, ‘Wow. I haven’t seen that before.’ That’s exactly it. It’s kind of a very specific new take on aliens in a lot of ways.
I’ll give you this hint until you see the movie. They are very, very committed to kicking our butts. Yes. Very, very much so. You’ll see when you watch the movie. They’re here to stay. They’re committed.
Then you go from this to ‘Twilight; Breaking Dawn’. How cool is that?
Noel Fisher: I mean, yeah. It has been an unreal couple of years. That’s been a lot of fun, too. That’s really a big blast and again in Louisiana, in Baton Rouge.
You’re all done in Baton Rouge now, right?
Noel Fisher: Yes. I’m done there. We’re going up to Vancouver in a couple of weeks to finish some stuff, but yes, all done in Baton Rouge. I spent another two months down there and that was a really lovely time because a lot of people stayed in the same hotel that a lot of the guys on ‘Battle’ stayed at and everyone remember Gino [Anthony Pesi] and Will Rothhaar. Everybody was at that hotel. So that was really nice.
What can you tease about what you’ve shot so far?
Noel Fisher: I can’t really tease much. We shot some really cool stuff. I know that there’s going to be some really good sequences. I can tell you that. The visual aspect of a movie like that is pretty outstanding and the team that they have to do all the stuff: Bill Condon and everyone else, it’s going to be really cool. You’ll have to wait and see.
I understand the visual and special FX are actually being taken up a notch for ‘Breaking Dawn’ compared to the other ‘Twilight’ movies. Is that fair to say?
Noel Fisher: Absolutely. This is the end. This is the end of this world, at least for now, and they really are going out with a bang. There are some big things in the works, some very big things.
Bill Condon and the producers have released little photos to keep fans excited. What do you think they should release a photo of next?
Noel Fisher: I don’t know. I think one of the really cool things about the book and the movie is the different, all these different covens, all these new covens that you get to meet. It really expands Stephenie’s [Meyer] world in a way that hasn’t happened up until now. It’s been kind of isolated to just Forks, the ‘Twilight’ town and this really blows the whole world wide open. I think getting to see some of the other covens might be cool.
And then on to TV where we can see you right now –
Noel Fisher: Yes, ‘Shameless’.
It’s been an awesome remake –
Noel Fisher: Yeah. It’s really amazing material. The writing is just fantastic on it and it’s so much fun to shoot.
Last night’s episode was a big development for Mickey and Ian –
Noel Fisher: Yeah, that was a bit of a surprise, isn’t it?
Obviously, being gay in that neighborhood and with that father is going to be even less comfortable for Mickey than it is for Ian. How much of that is going to be explored?
Noel Fisher: Well, the first season it gets explored a little bit, but it’s more teases. Hopefully we’ll hear about a second season and maybe I’ll be back and get to see a little bit more. Who knows?
What’s your favorite part of playing Mickey?
Noel Fisher: I really like that he’s just so angry all the time. He’s just angry all the time and then it kind of makes sense that he’s carrying around this massively big secret and then it kind of all falls into place, like, ‘No wonder he’s so upset. I get it.’
Do you have a favorite role that you’ve played so far?
Noel Fisher: Everything is so cool. I’ve had an extraordinarily lucky career, I feel, and all these different parts have really had very specific things about them. I really enjoy playing Mickey on ‘Shameless’. Obviously, ‘Twilight’ and getting to play Vladimir is just like this totally other really interesting thing.
The coolest thing about the ‘Battle’ character, Lenihan, is just that he’s so innocent going into this and then his whole world gets turned completely upside down, and I guess my favorite thing about being an actor is that I get to play these different parts that are so different from each other. I get to play Lenihan who’s like the newest of all new guys in ‘Battle’ and then I go to ‘Twilight’ where I play one of the single oldest vampires in the world. So the differences in there are just really fun.
Battle: Los Angeles opens March 11 and you can read all our Battle: LA coverage here.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 opens November 18 and you can read all our Breaking Dawn coverage here.
You can visit also visit Daemon’s TV to read all our ‘Shameless’ coverage and be sure to watch Noel in ‘Shameless’ on Showtime Sundays at 10pm eastern/9pm central.
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