Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Actors Forge an Explosive Friendship in 'Pompeii'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Actors Forge an Explosive Friendship in 'Pompeii'

Article excerpt

MIAMI - In the 3-D spectacle "Pompeii," which opens Friday, Kit Harington and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje play slaves forced to fight in gladiator battles in giant arenas - at least until that pesky volcano starts acting up. To reveal that the two men start out as mortal enemies and end up as friends doesn't spoil anything: Instead, it reveals that "Pompeii" is a disaster movie with an unusual emphasis on character. Yes, the destruction is awesome, but the people who are swept up in it make you care.

Because there are so many plotlines in the film, Mr. Harington, 28, and Mr. Akinnuoye-Agbaje, 47, don't get a lot of screen time to depict their transformation from foes to allies. But during a recent stop in Miami to promote the film, the actors said developing a genuine connection was easy while prepping for the film.

"We didn't have any choice but to spend time together," Mr. Harington says. "We were constantly at gladiator boot camp and training in the gym together. It helped that Adewale is such a professional and lovely man. But by the time we started filming, you could see our camaraderie on the screen."

The two actors also had certain things in common: Both were born in London and burst into stardom via HBO shows: Mr. Akinnuoye- Agbaje spent four seasons playing the memorable Adebisi on "Oz," while Harington is in his fourth season playing Jon Snow on the hit "Game of Thrones."

Although actors who become famous playing iconic characters on TV often have difficulty being considered for other roles, both men say the attention their HBO shows brought them has been mostly a boon.

"It is definitely - excuse the pun - a double-edged sword," Mr. Harington says about the snowballing popularity of "Game of Thrones." "But without 'Thrones' I wouldn't have been offered a movie like this. I love working on TV because it's liberating. You get to spend six months on the same project, you've got steady work each year, and then you have six months to do what you like. You don't have to do movies for money. You get to make them for passion. But yes, there are times when a TV role keeps you from doing some things you want to do. …

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