MTV: “The Dark is Rising” – children’s movie, or adult oriented fantasy?
Gregory Smith: Is it possible to be a little bit in between?
MTV: Yeah, sure.
Smith: From what I have heard about the “Harry Potter” movies, they are a little bit more mature than when they started out – but I still don’t think I would categorize them as mature, adult films. I think this is a similar tone.
MTV: Is that tonal ambiguity what made the movie a classic for you in the sense that you knew you had to do it?
Smith: Well, it’s a story about the Light vs. the Dark, sort of compounded in this 13-year-old boy. Speaking for myself, you wonder if you were the Chosen One, like Will, if you were really put to the test could you handle it? I think that every 13-year-old runs that scenario a couple of times in their head. But I had never really heard of [the story] until I found out about the film – but when I told my brother that I was going to do this he was more excited about this than anything that I have ever done. He bought a ticket and came out to Romania because he wanted to see the set and everything. I should call him and ask him why and then call you back.
MTV: We’ll conference him in. But it’s interesting you mention your brother, because that’s essentially your character in this movie – Max, the brother.
Smith: Yeah, that was something I had to draw from. When I first read the script I felt like if I got the job all the bullying I did over the years I could suddenly justify as research.
MTV: Tell me, then, how does Max – how does he fit into this epic battle of Light versus Dark?
Smith: Max comes home from college and he is acting a little strange and you’re not really sure what is going on with him but you know that something is a little wrong. It turns out he has been kicked out of college. He is ashamed and doesn’t want to tell his parents and is trying to hide it. The Darkness senses that insecurity and weakness and they sort of use that to their advantage.
MTV: So he becomes a tool of the Darkness, against Will in his quest to find the Signs?
Smith: Yes, I am trying to get the Signs before he does. I am trying to stop him from his quest and get the Signs for the Darkness. I have a foray into the Dark Side. But my character is redeemed before the end.
MTV: That’s kind of cool for an actor isn’t it?
Smith: It’s totally awesome. Like, there is one sequence where Max chases his little brother through time. So on top of getting to be kind of bad there were all these special effects, all these fights that we choreographed.
MTV: Tell me about that big fight.
Smith: It was basically a choreographed karate fight scene, but the director [David Cunningham] set it on top of a vegetable cart. He had the entire cart surrounded by peasants and gave them bread, or rotten pieces of fruit, or carrots, or hay, or whatever. When we were doing the scene they were just tossing things at us. Chickens were flying through the frame. I called [Cunningham] Captain Chaos. It took every ounce of experience and fortitude I had to not totally get freaked out by a chicken flying by my head or a tomato that just hit me in the face. It was amazing!