CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER, DRAX?
HE IS incredibly intense to read and to play, in a joyful way, but he doesn't consider himself to be intense at all. He's just following his proclivities day to day, moment to moment, breath to breath.
He's been a harpooner probably for the majority of his life, not that it's ever specified, since childhood or at the onset of his adolescence. I think that he finds a sense of purpose and a sense of meaning in life when he's on the water, when he's involved in the hunt, which more often than not culminates in the kill for him, because he's very adept at what he does.
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THE ROLE THAT APPEALED TO YOU?
It feels like a very honest character, albeit one raised in cruelty, and thereby exists in a world where he acknowledges the cruelty all around him and doesn't even see it as cruelty, just that there is a natural order to things. He would be, without declaration of it, Darwinian, someone who believes in the survival of the fittest and of that being the natural order by which the world exists.
More than any character that I've ever played he is a character that lives without compunction. He has no apology for anything that he says, does or feels. It's an extraordinary character to have the opportunity to play.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION?
I was saying this to Jack O'Connell when we were talking on the boat, it was one of two times in my life where you couldn't take off the costume. It just meant 365 you know, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, however many weeks we shot, I was constantly inhabiting this physical space that was very different for me, just unusual.
Drax carries himself with a keen awareness of that brute strength. I did get fairly strong, but I just put on weight. I just lifted weights and ate.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE FILMING IN THE ARCTIC?
I did feel that death was just around the corner at any given time, that we were just one mistake away from someone falling into the Arctic sea and either very quickly getting hypothermia or sinking under the weight of the waterlogged costume. There were also polar bears around, that are beautiful and elegant and majestic but also apex predators. It was a very profound experience for us all to share.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE FILMING AT SEA?
There wasn't much room for rehearsal, but we had a little time to get familiar with boats and rowing. We had this collective communal experience, and then each of us had our own individual profound experience of being up in that beautiful, hostile part of the world.
WERE THERE ANY HIGHLIGHTS WHILST AT SEA?
The environment did so much, it instantly created a sense of tension and pressure. Your body, physiologically, is responding in a way and with an aggression that my body has never responded to the environment with before because it's never been in an environment like that.
Even that, instantly, whether you like it or not, removes you from what is familiar in your reality.
DID YOU EVER SWIM IN THE ARCTIC?
That was lovely, one of those rites-of-passage things, the polar dip. God, it was cold – it was terrifying. I only went in the once, but I think Jack went in a couple of times.
:: The North Water is available on BBC iPlayer now