The Rising Hawk is out on streaming and VOD platforms now, and with it, audiences will get to see a different side of Oliver Trevena. The historical action film plunges viewers into a 13th-century war, in which Oliver plays the unpredictable Bohun. You never quite know what his character will do, which means that fans also get to see the actor doing new things as well – all in the middle of this epic adventure.
Nerdophiles connected with Oliver to talk about his experience making the film, what he most enjoyed about his character, and preparing for a movie when your source material is in a foreign language. Get to know more about him and The Rising Hawk in our interview before you check the film out on your favorite streaming or VOD platform.
Nerdophiles: What was it about The Rising Hawk that originally piqued your interest?
Oliver Trevena: The genre of it in general, the fact that it’s historic, the fact that I got to play such a character. Kind of the warrior vibe – that was something I hadn’t got to play yet. I hadn’t got to pick up a sword in any of my roles. So there was so much to it that was so new for me, and that was something exciting because of the challenge.
NP: What’s unique about preparing for this movie is that the source material (the book Zakhar Berkut by Ivan Franko) isn’t in English. So how did you prepare to play Bohun when the first thing people would go to, you can’t necessarily go to?
OT: I hadn’t read the book. The director, John Wynn, and the producers were amazing. They gave us such a real in depth backstory on it. The Ukrainian team, once we got there, most of them spoke really good English and I would learn so much. We had a couple of weeks going into it, some training and we got to work with the team there who, I think everyone in the Ukraine is familiar with the book. So it wasn’t hard to get a lot of info about my character Bohun and the fact that he’s a crazy, elusive kind of daredevil warrior. I got to really play with that and bring some of my own into it as well. I couldn’t read the book, but we were definitely spoiled in terms of the amount of research and knowledge that we got from the team surrounding us.
NP: Did you have any particular favorite The Rising Hawk scenes that stuck with you as you were making the film?
OT: I really enjoyed all of it. Bohun has so many “moments” as you never know what’s coming! And that’s what I really enjoyed about the character. I’m quite level-headed; Bohun is definitely not. So I just really enjoyed bringing that to it. I remember John Wynn said to me, he said, “Think Mickey out of Snatch.” Which was Brad Pitt’s role in Snatch, which I absolutely love Brad Pitt in that movie. John kept saying to me, “The audience doesn’t know what he’s going to do next. And you don’t even know what he’s going to do next.” That was what I tried to bring to it.
The fight scene, I loved it. It was new for me…I love watching those kind of movies, but never really held one. So that was a real challenge for me, for sure. I’d like people to look out for the fight scenes, as kind of lame as that sounds, but it was enjoyable. And look out for the traps. He likes to kind of set things up. There’s a moment where I set a really fun little trap up. Watch out for that.
NP: In general, what was it like to film? Because this is kind of the epitome of making a movie – stepping back into a whole other time period and recreating a whole other culture, too.
OT: The team around us – the wardrobe team, the makeup team – kind of made it easier for me to get into character because of the in-depth way that they created my character. I had a hairpiece on and they would mess up my teeth, and then when you put the wardrobe on, you just feel like a warrior. You go into it and you don’t really have to imagine too much. And that was amazing.
I will say in the beginning stages when I finally picked up a sword, the trainers had very concerned faces, I’ll say that because they realized instantly that it was in fact the first time I’d held a sword. And they sent me back to the hotel with a stick and they gave me these figure of eights, every kind of move. They were like, “You have to practice.” And I was like, “I clearly know that.” I’m looking around me and Rocky [Myers] and Alex [MacNicoll], they had either done previous projects where they had sword fighting or they definitely had grown up doing it. They were definitely natural with a sword. So that was kind of my main challenge. And I loved it. It was great.
NP: When you look back on The Rising Hawk for you personally, what are you going to take away from the experience?
OT: I think this was kind of my breakout role, because I took such a long break from acting in the hosting realm. It’s kind of got me back into that hot seat. So I guess just enjoyed it, and it was an amazing, amazing project for me to get stuck in on, especially with Tommy Flanagan, who’s a dear friend, and Robert Patrick. I got to be around some incredible, well-versed actors and just really enjoy watching them, and learn as well during the experience.
And I think when you film somewhere like the Carpathian Mountains, where it’s beautiful but there’s nothing really around you other than your cast – we all just got really close and I’ll forever be close with the guys. I see them all the time. Poppy [Drayton] and I talk a lot and Alex and Rocky. You hear about it a lot, how the cast becomes very close and like family, and this was one of those experiences to me. I’m grateful for it for many reasons: the film, the experience as an actor, the experience just to meet some really good people along the way as well.
The Rising Hawk is now available on streaming and video-on-demand platforms.