Well, a new film of the same name opens Friday. It’s based more on the Jules Verne novel than the original, becomes the first live-action movie filmed entirely in digital 3D, and enjoys a likable three-person cast, pared down considerably from the Mason-led masses that discovered the cinematic world below almost half a century ago.
One of the adventurous trio, newcomer Anita Briem, makes what she calls her “North American debut” in joining Brendan Fraser and young Josh Hutcherson (“Bridge to Terabithia”) in the fun-filled summer adventure.
“When I was going through the auditioning process for this film -- which was no small deal -- I think that I broke, officially, Cameron Diaz's record for how many times she auditioned for ‘The Mask' with how many times I auditioned for this.
“It was about 25,” says the 26-year-old blonde with the poise and smile that might signal a real future in the biz. “Throughout it they seemed confused. They were like, 'So you're really from Iceland?' It was like they didn't really think there was such a thing as that. That’s why my Icelandic accent seemed to go from being extremely exotic to my toning it down a little bit and blending it like a color pallet so that it's something that was more comfortable for the ears.”
Briem, not so ironically, plays an Icelandic mountain guide. Regardless, even in a movie where effects literally come at you from all angles, her apparent acting chops come naturally, too.
“My background is mostly in theater,” she says. “I was in The National Theater of Iceland from age 9, and my parents are both musicians. My dad arguably is the most talented drummer in Europe, so I grew up very much in that environment actually, sort of sleeping behind drum kits and falling asleep on studio floors.”
Next up for Briem is “The Storyteller,” opposite Wes Bentley. She already has completed a season of filming on Showtime’s “The Tudors,” in which she is seen as Jane Seymour.
“Yes. Sweet Lady Jane,” Briem concludes. “She's very sweet and plucked from her father's arms when she's 18 years old and sort of swept up by the king. Playing her was quite the contrast to Hannah in this film.”
Indeed. And obviously as striking opposite the often-beastly Henry VIII in “Tu-D” as she is fighting off those effects beasts in 3D.
John M. Urbancich
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