With manager Janus-Metz‘s All the Old Knives now playing in select theaters and streaming on Prime Video, I recently spoke to Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton about making the spy thriller. Written by olen steinhauer, who adapts the story from his own best-selling novel, the film centers on a CIA agent (Pine) who is tasked with figuring out who leaked classified information that cost more than 100 people their lives. His investigation takes him around the world and on his stop in California he is reunited with his one-time colleague and ex-lover (Newton). Also starring Laurence Fishburne and Jonathan Price, All the Old Knives will keep you guessing till the very end.
During the interview, Pine and Newton talked about why they each wanted to be part of the movie, what they loved about the story and script, how they each get ready for a big scene and how it’s changed over the years, and Pine talks about his part in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie. In addition, they each revealed what someone should watch if you’ve never seen their work and their answers will make you laugh.
Watch what they had to say in the player above, or you can read exactly what they had to say below.
COLLIDER: If someone has actually never seen anything that you’ve done before, what is the first thing you want them seeing and why?
CHRIS PINE: Oh wow. I’d say Princess Diaries 2 just to see how much hair I can have. I’ve never had the best of luck with hair in films, but…
THANDIE NEWTON: What do you mean?
PINE: It just means that I have hair. I mean, my hair in that fucking film.
NEWTON: I need to go and watch that one.
PINE: Check it out.
PINE: It’s a something.
NEWTON: Oh wow.
PINE: And I got to work with Garry Marshall and Anne Hathaway, and a whole bunch of stuff, but it’s mostly for the hair.
NEWTON: Mostly for the hair. Right on. What would I want them to watch? Oh Norbit of course. Thing is, that’s the only one everyone has seen, so let’s just stick with it. Norbit.
I’ll be honest of all the answers I expected out of both of you, neither of those were the ones. And I say, awesome. I love it.
NEWTON: You’re welcome. We aim to please
And you did 100%. I know you guys both read a lot of scripts. What was it about this script that said, “Oh, I definitely want to do this”?
PINE: It was just simply one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. It’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read front to back, no question. I’ve read it repeatedly, which is hard to do sometimes with the stuff you read. I was constantly surprised. It has an incredible romance at the center and the heart of it. It’s got a great yarn, a great puzzle. It’s an espionage spy thriller, so it’s got the cobble stones in the European streets and the street lamps and the great lighting and all of it. It’s basically straight down the center pierce to the heart of my cinema lover’s body. So this is the kind of film I want to go see on a Friday night, it’s the kind of film I want to sit down and make a bunch of popcorn and listen to the rain hit the roof while I watch it. It’s just my kind of film. So I loved every part of it.
NEWTON: Chris has just laid it out, but for me personally, it was just out of the blue and absolutely fantastic opportunity truly in every way. We were in a pandemic in lockdown and yet we were going to try and complete this ambitious project. The script was fantastic. Then, obviously, you can have all of that and maybe not gel with the people you’re working with, but I really enjoyed Janus’ ideas about the movie and really loved Borg vs. McEnroe and the work he’s done; loved Armadillo, his documentary. Absolutely fucking amazing, man. And then Chris wants to do this movie and is producing it. It was just bang, bang, bang, all the pieces. Sometimes you get that. They fall into place. I mean, Chris had been doing it for years, but for me it was just like this gift wrapped, there. Silver platter, go get your, get your heels on, have a nice time. really. It was wonderful.
The entire movie pretty much remains on that restaurant scene. I’m curious as actors, when you know that this is such an important part of the movie, could you sort of talk a little bit about how you like to prepare for like big scenes that you might be filming? Is there a certain way you like to get ready that has maybe changed along the way? Or do you have a similar routine?
PINE: I would say that when I first started out, I was very result oriented and I watch performers who do this as well, who I’m intrigued by although it’s not the process which I follow, but in order to protect a performance, you kind of keep the performance between boundaries that are quite tight. And what I see in those performers is that they know what they want to do. They probably don’t trust the director or editor to deal with it. So they kind of want to give a performance about that big, so they can basically guarantee that their performance will look a certain way. I very much used to approach things that way and as I’ve gotten older and more invested in the experience and the journey of it, I have a lot of time diving myself of the responsibility of figuring out what the fuck it’s going to look like and really just playing on the day. I might have an idea of what I want to do and I’ve thought a lot about it and how my own self resonates with it. But mostly I just want to go party. I want to go, like, “What are you doing? What are you bringing to the table?” You know, let’s play, let’s figure it out. And it could completely change.
NEWTON: You need to have that spontaneity, don’t you? really?
PINE: But some people, I think that is very actor dependent.
PINE: It’s very, very, very actor dependent.
NEWTON: And project dependent too.
NEWTON: I think for the scene that you were talking about, the restaurant scene, one of the things that was quite complex about it, which is one of the reasons why I’m so glad I’ve worked in theater actually is because we approached it really like a sort of piece of theater because we’re talking pages and pages and pages, and it wasn’t all on camera. A lot of it would go into flashbacks, but in order to give Janus the full freedom in case he did want to play some of it in, not in flashback, we basically shot the whole thing as a conversation, even though in the script, a lot of it was in flashback. Do you understand? Like there’d be our voiceover, but you’d be seeing scenes, but we had to do the whole thing just in case. I approached it like a piece of theater, where it’s not just about learning one scene, it’s learning 10 pages of work and you don’t usually do that in film. Do you? You just do the one scene you’re going to do that day, or the three scenes depending on the budget of the movie, but this was way more. And I’m glad that I had that experience in theater before approaching those scenes, honestly.
My last question, Chris, I have to ask you, I’m a big fan of your directors on Dungeons & Dragonsand that is the reason why I am actually really looking forward to the movie, the filmmakers, and obviously you’re performing.
NEWTON: Snuck in there.
What can you tease people about the movie? Because it’s been sort of quiet and I’m really looking forward to it.
PINE: Oh man. Well, what I will say is we had a hell of a fun time making it. There was a lot of laughs. The way that I’ve been describing it, it’s like game of Thrones mixed with a little princess-bridejust a smidge of Holy Grail…it’s somewhere in that ballpark. It’s a lot of fun. It’s got a lot of thrills. It’s poppy, it’s eighties heartfelt, there’s a bit of goonies in there. My character, he’s the ultimate party planner. I think it’s going to be really good. I mean, who fucking knows, but I think we got a good shot and John and John are killer guys. They know comedy and they know heart and we had a great cast and we had a good time making it. And that’s all you can ask for.
All the Old Knives is now in theaters and streaming on Prime Video.
‘All the Old Knives’: Trailer, Release Date, Cast, and Everything You Need to Know
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