'The King's Man': Tom Hollander reveals the challenges of his triple role (exclusive)

·Contributor
·3-min read

Watch: Tom Hollander on playing three roles in The King's Man

The high intensity of a Matthew Vaughn set is always a challenge for an actor, but that's even more acute when you're playing three different characters.

That was the challenge faced by British actor Tom Hollander in The King's Man. He portrays King George V of England, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany in the movie.

Nicholas and Wilhelm were both first cousins of King George and the trio were close as children, before they found themselves on various sides of conflict during the First World War.

Hollander told Yahoo he relished getting his teeth into the three characters and, for the most part, was able to separate the roles across different days of filming.

Read more: Ralph Fiennes on swordplay in The King's Man

"I don't think they were ever on exactly the same day because the make-up took so long," said Hollander.

Tom Hollander plays three different historical figures in 'The King's Man'. (20th Century Studios)
Tom Hollander plays three different historical figures in 'The King's Man'. (20th Century Studios)

He added: "Possibly towards the end I had to swap in one day. But the make-up was three or four hours. All that hair and the lenses and the noses and whatnot.

"So you couldn't actually have both of them on the same day. There were not enough hours in the day really, given how much else there was going on in the film.

"I think there was one day where I was the Kaiser and the Tsar on the same day, which was difficult because I was putting on accents for both of those and they sometimes got a bit muddy.

"Matthew would shout 'you sound like the Kaiser!' and I'd go 'oh dear, it's going very badly'."

Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hollander and Gemma Arterton and Rhys Ifans star in 'The King's Man'. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hollander and Gemma Arterton and Rhys Ifans star in 'The King's Man'. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Hollander added that having to maintain the different accents often presented a serious difficulty for him, despite how well he thought he was doing at times.

He said: "In my mind, I thought I sounded completely different, but honestly the mouth shapes of some of the Russian and German were just too similar. So it was harder than I thought.

"I was in no doubt in my own mind which character was playing, but that was not what was coming out and then you know you're in trouble."

Read more: Matthew Vaughn has seven more Kingsman films planned

Hollander previously played King George V in 2003 TV drama The Lost Prince and suggested casting directors are swayed because he "slightly looks like him".

The star revealed he had some misgivings about the story's strange twists on history, but said the tone of the film has "a unique, Matthew Vaughn bravura thing" which helps it to fly.

"Where I might have been rather squeamish reading a historical bit of confabulation in a script, when you see the film you go 'oh, it's brilliant'," he said.

Ralph Fiennes readies himself for action as Orlando Oxford in 'The King's Man'. (20th Century Studios)
Ralph Fiennes readies himself for action as Orlando Oxford in 'The King's Man'. (20th Century Studios)

Hollander added: "It's a whimsical notion but it's a wonderful one and it sort of almost could be true. Stranger things have happened and so on.

"So it doesn't have any trouble or problem taking you with it when you watch it. You're delighted by the invention of it, I think."

Read more: Kingsman set prank war got out of hand

The movie follows Ralph Fiennes as Orlando Oxford, who forms the Kingsman organisation in order to fight the shadowy conflict hiding behind the Great War.

He's joined in the cast by Gemma Arterton, Djimon Hounsou and Harris Dickinson, with Rhys Ifans delivering a colourful take on Russian mystic Rasputin.

The King's Man is due to be released into UK cinemas on Boxing Day.

Watch: Trailer for The King's Man

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting