Earlier this week, SMU Campus Weekly editors sat down at a roundtable with Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie, who star in the upcoming film, “The Last Witch Hunter.” The film is set to hit theaters Oct. 23.
The film tells the story of a witch hunter named Kaulder (Vin Diesel), who is cursed with immortality and protects the world from evil magic throughout time. We find him in present day New York as a series of unraveling events lead to the return of the one who cursed him, the Witch Queen.
Wood plays Kaulder’s right-hand man, a priest who has sworn his service, and Leslie is a good witch that Kaulder meets after he gets into a fight at her bar.
Wood, an actor known mainly for his work as Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings,” has continued to challenge himself in a variety of roles. He recently starred in the FX comedy “Wilfred,” and just wrapped production on a thriller alongside Nicolas Cage.
Wood was drawn to his latest project, “The Last Witch Hunter,” because of its original content.
“At this budget level, it’s pretty rare to find something that is on this scale. but is not based on any sort of pre-existing book, or graphic novel,
or reboot,” Wood said. “I was really surprised by the script, I was surprised by the level of detail in the storytelling, the sort of world building that it was doing, and sort of creating a new mythology.”
Drawn to more than just the script, Wood spoke about his co-stars as well.
“Having Michael Caine in your film raises the quality level immediately,” Wood said of his co-star.
Wood also remarked that the film’s costumes helped the acting process.
“It goes to great lengths in regards to crafting your character,” he said.
His first time playing a priest, Wood joked about how the collar immediately reminded him of “The Exorcist.”
Leslie, known for her work in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” agreed that the costumes helped her adapt. Leslie plays a witch but wears modern styles of clothing.
“The look helped ground me in the fact that this is a modern woman living in New York City,” Leslie said.
Leslie also enjoyed that she was able to play an independent woman and not be forced into any unwarranted romance in the film.
Leslie’s character is a strong female role model.
“Amen to that. Because otherwise she was one of the many other sexualized female roles in loads of action movies,” Leslie siad. “She has a backbone, and she’s fierce, and that was something that appealed to me.”
Leslie continued to discuss her experience as a young woman in Hollywood.
She commented on her appreciation of Jennifer Lawrence’s essay on female inequality that was published earlier this week.
“I think it’s sad that society has this default assumption that women at the top, let’s say, can’t juggle. I don’t want to go so far as to say that it angers me, but it certainly frustrates me that our focus is queried if we are kind of at the top of our game, particularly in regards to Jennifer Lawrence.,” Leslie said. “And I hugely admire the fact that she came out and she’s bringing it to the forefront of everybody’s mind.”
At the end of the roundtable the question on everyone’s minds was, “Will there be a sequel?”
“It certainly sets up a new mythology in such a way that it’s very much an establishing story and you could certainly see it carry on with further adventures with Kaulder,” Wood said.
Check out “The Witch Hunter” in theaters Oct. 23.