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age_of_adalineEASY ON THE EYES

An interview with THE AGE OF ADALINE star, Michiel Huisman.

Upon first setting eyes on Michiel Huisman, it is easy to see why Blake Lively’s character, Adaline Bowman in THE AGE OF ADALINE, is ready to jeopardize the secret that she is immortal to pursue a romantic and passionate relationship with Huisman’s Ellis Jones. The tall and lanky actor, who has already amassed a huge fan base from his television work in shows as diverse as Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, Treme and Nashville, is insanely handsome and has the most arresting eyes. As we were sitting down to start our chat, I bemoaned to Huisman, who was born in the Netherlands, that it is impossible to buy bitterballen, a Dutch delicacy, in Toronto. Having passed the test on how to best enjoy them (“with super, hot mustard” he confirmed), he reiterated that “I do know a little about Toronto as Orphan Black shoots here.” Deciding to pursue the Canadian connection a bit further, my first question was what is was like to work with Jean-Marc Vallee, with whom he made WILD and THE YOUNG VICTORIA with.

Huisman: Working with him is so fantastic! Jean-Marc is one of the most talented directors I’ve worked with so far. I mean, the man is a beast! He’s one of the most passionate filmmakers I’ve ever worked with. He is so hands on and I am happy that he takes me by the hand and pushes me hard. I was so happy when he offered me the role in WILD even though it’s a small role. It is so cool to work with someone and then come back years later and it’s almost like we know each other so we don’t have to start all over again and I know that I can trust him. I was happy with what he did with THE YOUNG VICTORIA and what he did with me in that film. Any time he calls me, I will say yes.


Black Sheep Reviews: Before we chat about THE AGE OF ADALINE, you have a lot of TV roles under your belt. Do you approach these roles differently?

Huisman: I always try to be honest to my character. But TV is a very different thing. I find it so much fun to jump into a character in a movie and really try to nitpick on his storyline, his arc, his character, his background and I do that for two or three months. I am very focused on that. With a TV show, you can’t. But the good thing is it’s such a slow build, especially on Games of Thrones where the storyline is so well written. It’s nice for the audience to get to know the character and it’s nice for me too as I only know what’s going to happen in a couple of episodes ahead; so I also don’t know where my character is going. That makes it interesting. It’s a different dynamic.

BSR: What was it like to work with screen icons like Ellen Burstyn and Harrison Ford on THE AGE OF ADALINE?

Huisman: It is intimidating for the first ten minutes or so, but after that, they also want me to get over it and just start working. We all want the same thing; to tell the story we all love. It’s a story worth telling.

BSR: Was there something in the character of Ellis Jones in THE AGE OF ADALINE that you were able to connect with or wanted to accentuate?

Huisman: I thought it was very important, and I don’t think it was necessarily there on the page, that this guy is very humble and that he not take himself too seriously because he’s Mr. Perfect. He has it all! He made a fortune with some algorithm. He is a philanthropist. He has a beautiful apartment that he is fixing up himself. It was important that I undercut the wealth to make him more likeable and charming. It was important to like him.


BSR: The chemistry between you and Blake Lively is amazing. Was it instantaneous?

Huisman: Oh yes. We were also both really eager to make the movie. We went into it with great spirit and once we got to work together, I thought her approach to the character and her way of portraying this woman was very challenging and she was remarkable.

BSR: I thought Blake tapped into that “old soul” mindset very well.

Huisman: I think so too. And also sometimes, though I don’t often look at takes whenever we’re working, but when I would take a little peak at something and see what she’s done, I would just go “wow.” She’s so amazing. And that made my job of playing the man that falls for her super easy.

BSR: Having read your bio, I noticed you have a strong background in music, having played in a band. Do you see performing in a movie musical in your future as there has been a resurgence of that genre on screen?

Huisman: Umm…maybe. Music has always been a passion in my life and it might sound cool, but I’m not really a Broadway musical kind of guy. I think if it was something edgy, I would enjoy that.

BSR: What is next for you?

Huisman: I am finishing a movie that I shot in Sydney these past few months. It’s called “2:22” and it’s about a man who starts to realize that something is going wrong every day at 2:22 and he’s trying to figure it out because it’s becoming more and more threatening. It’s kind of a thriller and a romantic story. We are finishing it off next week in New York to do some exterior shots. Right after that, I’m going straight to another movie that has not been announced yet but I can tell you that it will be filmed in Prague and Turkey and I am very excited about it. It plays in the early 20th century, so a lot of horseback riding for me for which I am in training for now. I keep thinking, “This is what I do for a living? Really? I love it.”


With that, our time was done and, as we quickly posed for a photo, I told him that after I saw THE AGE OF ADALINE, that night I recreated the same meal his character made for Adaline on their first date together. Sausages in a bun. Sadly, I ate mine alone. He broke into a hearty laugh.

I made Michiel Huisman laugh.

THE AGE OF ADALINE opens everywhere on Friday, April 24.

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