Selma: Tim Roth on George Wallace, Tupac & The Hulk
CraveOnline: Is George Wallace the biggest bastard you’ve ever played? Who else would earn that distinction?
Tim Roth: Oh, I’ve done a few. [Laughs.] It’s [interesting] to play someone who’s actually so seated in history, really on the wrong side. Clearly now on the wrong side. Actually, when I was working on it, and it only came from white people, there were those people who went, “Well, at the end of his life, he did some good things, Wallace.” [Laughs.]
“Hey, Nixon opened up China.”
They do do that. People do say that. I would say he’s pretty high on the list of bad guys in a way, but it’s not a stereotypical kind of thing. It’s an odd one.
One thing I’ve always been curious about, and I’m actually a fan of Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes…
Oh right, yeah.
“[Tupac Shakur] did take me to Death Row Records and me and him rapped together.”
I thought that was a very fun flick and I thought you were fantastic in it. But I never had a chance to talk to anyone who worked on it. The ending has always been a big question mark. Did they ever talk to you about what that meant and what your character ended up going back in time and doing, exactly?
Yeah, I think it was he took over, he took control. [Laughs.] I think the idea was when they shunted in time that way, he was the President of the Planet of the Apes. [Laughs.] Brilliant, I thought. It’s crazy stuff. I liked it. I had a good time making it. It was in the old style. It wasn’t using too much CG trickery.
The makeup was incredible.
Yeah, it was wonderful.
Also another one you were incredible in and I was a big fan of The Incredible Hulk. That was cool.
That was cool.
Some people are [fans]. Someone brought that up yesterday when we were doing press. It was like, “I’m talking to the Abomination.” I kind of enjoyed that too. I enjoy doing stuff like that. They don’t come your way too often.
Is there room for you to come back some day?
They were going to do it. They did do that. They were thinking, in The Avengers 2 or something. There was a movie we could do that at one point, but way back when. It just kind of got swept under the carpet I guess. That would be hilarious.
I loved your work in Rob Roy but I also love work work in The Musketeer. Are you very well trained as a sword fighter or do you have to cram in training before?
No, that’s part of the process. That’s just homework so every day I would go off and practice and work with the swords guys. So I would try to get as much homework as I could in. I worked with Liam’s double a lot and then with Liam when he was free in the schedule. But yeah, I got it down, and no, it’s not something I can do. I can adapt to it because I’ve done it a few times. So it comes to me fairly quickly but it’s tough stuff to do, dangerous.
Another favorite of mine is Gridlock’d. I thought that movie was just incredible. What was Tupac Shakur like as an actor? Everyone knows his music but I always liked his acting a lot.
Yeah, I found he was very, very, very professional. He’s very good. I think he would’ve gone on to do a lot of good work actually. It’s a shame but one thing I remember… [Laughs.] We got on famously. Really, really, we got pretty tight. We liked each other.
But there was one time I had to get in his face which was about… he was writing all the time. He would leave the set and go straight to a studio to record and then he had to do music videos as well at the time. And he would come to work and he was knackered. He was exhausted. I said, “You’ve got to stop your hours now. You can’t be walking wounded when you’re coming to the set because you’re not going to do your best work.” And he really shut it down. He was pretty great about it. But he did take me to Death Row Records [laughs] and me and him rapped together.
Oh yeah. Somewhere there is.
Somewhere in the vault there is a tape of that. It was hysterical.
We have to find that tape.