A major franchise with millions, maybe billions of fans all around the world? Media constantly obsessed with every potential storyline and clue about what’s next? A role so big that you are recognized almost everywhere you go? Eh, that’s nothing new for Kit Harington. The now 34-year-old actor spent almost a decade as the iconic Jon Snow in the seminal television epic “Game of Thrones.” To say that’s made him more than prepared for entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe is something of an understatement.
Harington has been cast as Dane Whitman, a professional colleague and love interest of Sersi (Gemma Chan) in Chloe Zhao’s already underrated epic (don’t get me started) “Eternals.” What Whitman doesn’t know about Sersi, however, is that she is, in fact, an Eternal. A being created by the omnipresent Celestials to protect the universe from horrific Deviants meant to ravage the Earth. Of course, Whitman has another name in Marvel Comics lore, the cursed hero The Black Knight. He certainly doesn’t appear as that figure in “Eternals,” but there are hints he may in the future. A prospect he’s, again, prepared for after keeping “Thrones” filming secrets for years on end.
Over the course of an interview the day after the “Eternals” world premiere, Harington discussed his Marvel Studios recruitment, the post-credit scene spoilers already out on the interwebs, whether it’s time for the U.K. to have its own MCU hero, if Whitman was part of the MCU’s “blip,” shooting just up the road from where he lives and much more.
The Playlist: So I have to ask you sort of obvious, everyone knows everything, how Marvel works almost question. What came first, the sit-down mysterious meeting with Kevin Feige to talk about potentially being in the MCU? Or did they just go to you and say, “Hey, we got this role in the Eternals. Do you want to be in it?”
Kit Harington: I had a general meeting with Kevin maybe a year prior to getting the call about this movie, just about their new phase, and that there’s something for me in it at some point. And they had me in mind and that was an exciting meeting to take. And then I got a call about this movie from Nate [Moore], the producer, and I met with Chloe and they talked me through what this was about and the role that I’d fit into playing within it. And on that information, I said, “Yeah, I’d love to do that. Thank you.”
With no other promises of future projects down the road?
No, not really. Just to sort of, what you see in this movie is what I read or was told about. And I assumed that there could be a future there for me and it looks like it could be an interesting one. So, that’s why I jumped at it really.
When Nate and Chloe came to you, what about their pitch was so intriguing?
In this I represent humanity, right? I’m one of the maybe two characters in the movie that is a human that you get to know and is your insight into humans in this world, rather than the Eternals. And I liked on that part that he was a guy with a bit of a light touch, a nice guy, soft around the edges. Different from what I’ve played for a long time and also contemporary. But he has this secret that gets alluded to towards the end of the film. And then that secret is something that intrigued me going forward.
Would you say that that secret is one reason why he appears so calm and collected when he’s with Sersi and things start going crazy in London?
I don’t know about that. I didn’t think of it in those terms. I felt he was that type of person, but also we have to put into perspective the world he’s in. They’ve seen all the things we’ve seen at this point. They witnessed the blip, they live in a world with Avengers and superheroes. So, when things start going a bit crazy, it’s not like you and I would experience it where we’d probably fall on the floor and sob. It’s a bit more expected.
Speaking of the blip did they tell you whether your character was blipped away or whether he was still on Earth for those four years?
They didn’t actually, and I never asked. That’s bad acting of me. That’s bad preparation. [Laughs.] I reckon he wasn’t. I reckon he was there, he stayed. That’s the decision I’m making now.
Dane is smart enough to realize that something is going on with Sersi and Sprite, right? He knows that because of this world he lives in, there’s something about them that doesn’t fit in the regular world?
Yeah. There’s a scene that was for various reasons, couldn’t make it into the movie between Dane and Lia McHugh’s character Sprite, which explains a bit further and gives a bit more context. But essentially yeah, he is aware from conversations with Sprite that something’s not as it seems with Sersi. And he alludes to it himself, he says “I’ve noticed weird things about you.” And that’s part of the sadness at the start of the story is that she won’t open up to him. She won’t actually say, “Yeah, this is the truth of the matter.” So there’s a falsity built at the start of their relationship.
The MCU has heroes in the U.S., Russia, Wakanda, and the far reaches of the universe. Unlike in the comics, however, Britain does not have its own superhero yet. Do you think it means something to even just kids in the UK that they have their own superhero at some point?
I think it’s enough that in this movie we got Camden. I shot in Camden in London which is where the scenes at the top that I’m in. So, they’ll be able to see that they have my English accent, Gemma’s English accent, Richard’s Scottish accent. I think that is enough to reach out to kids in the UK at the moment and show that they’re part of this world. We shot on this movie, we shot in one of my local pubs. It was literally up the road from me, it’s a pub I know very well. That gave me thrills more than anything, that I was doing a Marvel movie up the road.
Can you talk about working with Chloe? What was that experience like?
Brilliant. So she shoots and I’m sure others have told you, she shoots in a very freeing way. I’m used to a system where you have a close-up, a mid, a wide, everything’s on tracks, you’ve got a mark you have to hit, all of that stuff. We had a very roving camera in this, it could follow where you wanted to go. There was some blocking but it was a lot of freedom given to us. And I liked that. I was in contemporary clothes. I wasn’t in a big cloak. I wasn’t being restricted by marks on the floor or closeups or mids or wides, et cetera. It felt big on scale but shot like an indie movie.
Can you compare working with CG elements in “Game Of Thrones” to “Eternals’?
The interesting thing about “Thrones” is that it was so location-based. We shot so much not on a sound stage. And I expected with a movie like this with a Marvel movie to be in a sound stage the whole time, and all of my stuff was on location. So that was a real gift and that was Chloe. You asked how it was working with Chloe. Chloe brought the way she shoots to the Marvel universe. And I think that’s what makes this movie what it is, is that it’s shot with a realism that I think is really fresh to this world.
After the premiere last night, a number of people spoiled what happened in the post-credit scenes. Were you bummed that that stuff got online? Were you expecting it?
I honestly didn’t know it had. I’ve lived in a world where spoilers happen for a long time. I realize they can happen. It’s just disappointing that people do it. Let people go to the cinema and experience it when they pay for their ticket and do it that way, rather than spreading it online where they might not realize they’re coming across stuff.
“Eternals” opens nationwide on Nov. 5