FALL OF TROY | FIVE MINUTES WITH … LOUIS HUNTER AND BELLA DAYNE
Written from the perspective of the Trojan royal family, mini-series Troy: Fall Of A City is a thrilling retelling of Homer’s ancient Greek epic poem, The Iliad, set during the Trojan war. Ones to watch Louis Hunter and Bella Dayne tell Georgia Humphreys about the highs and lows of playing lead roles in tragic lovers Paris and Helen.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS, HELEN OF SPARTA AND PARIS OF TROY?
Dayne: Helen was married off to Menelaus [King of Sparta, played by Jonas Amstrong] and they had a child together. She has to remain in the palace and Menelaus takes charge of how she has to live her life. The only way she is coping is with opium. So when Paris comes along her whole life is turned upside down, for the first time in her life she can live freely.
Hunter: The story starts with Paris, before he understands his royal heritage [he is a Trojan prince] and then quickly having an encounter with gods and learning about his destiny and fate, which is, I think, a big theme of the show. And then [the story] quickly progresses to the elopement with Helen. It is the trigger point for everything unfolding afterwards.
PARIS AND HELEN’S AFFAIR SPARKS AN ENTIRE WAR. DID YOU FEEL PRESSURE PORTRAYING SUCH A FAMOUS LOVE STORY?
Dayne: I definitely think it was pressure, as in, it’s the biggest love story of all time, in a way! The Trojan war was 10 years long so it’s not just some lustful love story that lasts for a few months, it’s true love.
WOULD YOU SAY IT’S THEIR RELATIONSHIP THAT MAKES THE SHOW VERY RELATABLE TO MODERN TIMES?
Hunter: Yeah, I think so. You have nations on both sides of this story who are suffering so they can indulge in this and that is something that is questioned a lot in the show, whether or not it’s worth it. That’s probably something that people question too, whether it’s, ‘Should I have kids?’, ‘Am I going to miss out on certain opportunities because of that?’
Dayne: There are so many other themes that are explored in the show, like sacrifice as a woman, the role of a woman in society, and how a woman is made to feel to be when she breaks out of that. She [Helen] was very modern for that time actually, but it still is something that it’s very easy to relate to, to be sexually liberated and free.
THE STORY OF THE TROJAN WAR WAS MADE FAMOUS BY HOMER IN THE ILIAD – DID YOU READ IT BEFORE FILMING?
Dayne: I did. But I think what we do in our show is go much deeper, as we go into psychological states that the characters are in, which I found incredibly interesting and intriguing.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING PART OF SUCH A BIG BUDGET PRODUCTION?
Hunter: When we filmed some of the battle scenes out in the actual fields, you’re dealing with dozens and dozens of horses, trucks full of weapons, trucks full of armour. It adds an extra pressure because if you forget something there’s hundreds of extras whispering behind their breath, like, ‘Come on man, get a grip!’ I relished that pressure.
WHAT ABOUT PARIS’ ACTION SCENES – DID YOU EMBRACE THIS SIDE OF THE SHOW, LOUIS?
Hunter: Yeah, I did pretty much all my own stunts. There was one which was the first day of block two, [with a] new director and I couldn’t seem like a wuss so I just had to say yes, and I basically had to jump off a cliff. From where I’m standing it probably seemed bigger than it was but if the cable didn’t hold I probably wouldn’t be sitting here, put it that way!
THE FILMING PERIOD MUST HAVE BEEN VERY INTENSE – WAS IT CHALLENGING IN
TERMS OF STAMINA?
Hunter: There were certain days I’d wake up and I would not know how I was going to get through the day. Somehow we did it, and I have to say, part of the reason I was able to is because of Bella, and the amazing cast we had to work with. We all spurred each other on.
Dayne: I cried a lot. It almost felt like a boot camp of drama! One day, he [Louis] saw that I was freaked out and asked me what was going on and I was like, ‘I feel like I feel nothing any more, I have nothing to give right now’. And it was so lovely because he gave me a few words to trust that actually we always have that in us, no matter how much we do it, it’s an endless fountain.
DID YOU AND THE OTHER CAST MEMBERS HANG OUT TOGETHER A LOT OFF-SET?
Hunter: We really did. We actually formed volleyball teams, we had competitions most Sundays! That was amazing.
Dayne: Trojans vs Greeks!
Troy: Fall Of A City starts on BBC1 on Saturday February 17.