Hello, Zachary! What a charismatic and super nice guy to interview! He plays Fandral in Thor: The Dark World, you might know him as Flynn Rider! He was a very fun, genuine, and I believe a man who is humbled and gives lots of the glory of his success to God. I am making this assumption based on some of his answers. He had us all smiling from ear to ear with just his personality and humor the entire time! Below I posted some of the highlights of our interview.
I found it very interesting on how he was casted for this roll (details below) and how excited he was to share his story about singing at the Oscars! I went ahead and posted the entire answer to that question!
If you haven’t seen Thor: The Dark World yet…be sure to hurry and go and see it in 3-D!
Q : I have a fan question, how battered and bruised do you get and what the remedy is to the pain?
ZACHARY : Ha… Doing what exactly? I dare say…I didn’t get that battered and bruised. There was a couple, I think I dislocated a rib at one point, but that was a freak accident. Ah, and then probably the worst thing that happened to me was I slammed my finger in my trailer door. Which is incredibly unglamorous. And that’s just ice and alcohol, that’s pretty much how you deal with that. It was a really well oiled machine of a set.
And-and, um, our stunt coordinators and everybody-everybody was like incredibly good and dialed in. And I never at one point felt like I was at risk of getting incredibly injured. I also wasn’t doing nearly as much stuff as Chris was doing. I mean, you know, Chris has the lion share of all the action in that movie. And then myself, and Ray, and Tadd, and Jaimie we all some really fun stuff to kind of kick into that. But, um, I was, I was reasonable safe and didn’t get too hurt. So yeah, yeah, yeah, right back there.
Q : We’re you nervous about taking this role and being a part of this huge franchise?
ZACHARY : I was nervous about coming in and-and having any ill-will if there was going to be any ill-will from any of the rest of the cast, knowing that Josh had played it in the first film. Ah, some of the cast knew, I mean, Tom knew, and I think and Jaimie did…I was originally going to be Fandral and then Chuck got in the way and I wasn’t able to do it. And then Josh was able to play the role and did a fantastic job.
Ah, but not everybody knew that. And so I didn’t want to feel like the guy who’s coming in and like taking somebody else’s job away. Um, but his job, his role on Once Upon a Time conflicted, it was, it was very like, so that happened to me and that happened to him and came back around. But…that was the only thing I was kind of nervous about. Being a part of the Marvel Universe is nothing to be nervous about. I think it’s, you should just celebrate that. Like you get to be apart of a, this incredible comic book, lineage and family and universe that they’ve built, which is incredible, you know.
And, um, and then, you know, like one of the first days on set Tom gave me a big hug and said, welcome, glad you were finally able to come and do this. And, I felt that love from everybody. And so I wasn’t nervous beyond that.
Q : Well my daughter is four and she’s very much in love with Flynn Rider.
ZACHARY : Oh fanta… Well you tell her Eugene Fitz Harbor said, hi.
Q : I will. Did you bring a little bit of Flynn Riders charm to your role?
ZACHARY : I, sure, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I guess, I guess, you know, you bring a little bit of yourself to every role you do… loyal character, is he not, is he trust worthy, is he loving, is he menacing, is he strong, is he weak, is he nerdy. I mean, I feel like I’ve played my share of nerdy characters, ah, and that’s an easy dial for me.
Ah, the nerdy dial. But, Flynn Rider was a dream come true. I mean, I grew up doing nothing but watching Disney cartoons and movies, and particularly musicals, and loving all of them, and dreaming about getting to do just that. So the fact, what was interesting is when I, um, first auditioned for Flynn Rider, he was English, he had a British accent. Ah, and I don’t know if that was more just kind of, just, they-they were still kind of deciding is he going to have a British accent or not or whatever.
So there was definitely, the original Flynn Rider and Fandral the Dashing are much more similar than people realize. And then, Flynn ended up becoming much more my own kind of intonation voice. And, Fandral was just this incredible, it definitely had, there’s a parallel in the charm, I think, with the two of them. Fandral is very much more British. Well he’s Asgardean, but they all speak with British accents. So I don’t know. So Bris-Gardian, I don’t know what that would be…but very aero Flynn and swashbuckling and, you know… You guys are going to all get to see the movie tonight right?
ZACHARY : I love it. Yeah, so you’ll see. I’ve got my few little moments throughout the film and it’s very much like that, you know.
Q : We’re you a fan of the comics before this?
ZACHARY : Absolutely. Absolutely. All of it, yeah. You know, Thor, interestingly enough, Thor was like I was really big in X-Men, the whole kind of mutant category, like X-Men, X-Factor, and X-Force, New Mutants, all that kind of stuff I really, really loved. Spider-Man, Iron Man to an extent, Captain America. I went through phases, you know, like I was kind of like, depending on how old I was, or what I was into at the time, I’d be like, yeah, I’m kind of done with that, now I really want to focus on these characters.
The mutants were always kind of like, to me the most relatable. Because you felt like as a kid, you thought, well maybe I have that in me it just hasn’t manifested yet. You know what I mean? Like I can get to a place and eventually I’ll realize, I am super human and this’ll be great. Thor is a very unique Marvel character, he’s actually unique amongst all the comics books, because he’s not somebody who was irregular guy who was thrust into, um, extraordinary situations.
Ah, he’s a god. And how do you relate to that guy? And I think Marvel’s done a very good job in trying to, how do you bring down a god? How do you bring your god to Earth, you know, just as guardian demigod, you know, how do you bring him down to earth and have relatable to human beings? And they’ve done a great job by bringing Jane into that in the first movie. And that he falls for a human and that he was able to kind of realize what it is to be human through her, a little bit. And the other humans that he interacts with and encounters in the first movie and that just continues through the Avengers and the second movie.
Kudos to Marvel for kind of understanding that he’s a difficult character to relate with on the surface. He’s not a human being. Almost every other Marvel character is a human being. I still read Thor as well. Yeah, and the Avengers, I mean, you know, when you get everybody in one comic, you’re like, well it’s one stop shop, I love this, it’s easy. Yeah, in the back there.
Q : So how was it performing the Tangled song at the Oscars?
ZACHARY : Ah, the most nerve-racking experience of my life. Ah, I’m surprised I didn’t wet myself at any point during that. It was a dream come true, but a dream that I didn’t even realize that I had until it was happening. As a performer, I’ve dreamed about performing on Broadway, and now I’ve finally gotten to do that now, which is incredible and I’m so incredibly blessed to have that opportunity in my life. I’ve been so blessed on every level.
I literally, since I was a little kid, all I wanted to do was entertain people and do film, and television, and theater at the highest level and it just, God continues to go, here you go, here you go, here you go, here you go. And I know that doesn’t happen for most people in the world, so I don’t take that lightly. I’ve not gotten to sing on Broadway, other singers, you know, you dream about, oh I want to, you know, ah, do an album, or I want to win a-a Grammy or something like that. Rarely, I don’t think most people sit around as a kid, or even as an adult going, you know what I really dream about doing is singing at the Oscars, it’s such a weird niche little thing.
And then I got to do it, and I was like, oh my god, I’m, not only am I doing something that very few people get to do, I’m doing something that very few people even think about ever doing in their life. And it’s monumental, you’re doing it in front of the largest audience on, that ever see anything televised. And thank god nobody told me that. My publicist has the presence of mind to not tell me that a billion people were going to be watching that particular telecast worldwide. Ah, it was nerve-racking enough. I was, you know, you come out, everyone you could ever dream about wanting to work with or work with, or hire you or not hire you, depending on how bad you might bomb.
Haley Berry’s sitting in the front. I mean, basically all I was thinking was, don’t look at Haley, don’t look at Haley, don’t look at Haley, don’t look at Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley, don’t look at Haley. Um, it’s-it’s-it’s-it’s in, it’s very intimidating, she’s a beautiful woman. Um, and, ah, you know, but, and we were rehearsed it a lot, I was very nervous. And then we rehearsed it and, ah, you know, in the Kodiak, right here. And I was like, you know, I sort of, you know, and I prayed about it a lot and I was like all right, I’m cool, I got peace about this, I’m going to, we’re going to do good. We sounded good in rehearsal, no problem.
We saw all the cardboard cutouts of everybody that’s going to be in those seats, including Haley. It’s like, all right, don’t look at that one in the front. And, um, and-and I was really, I was really calm and a lot, a lot of peace. And then, you know, red carpet, that morning, that day comes around, and I’m doing the red carpet at the Oscars. I’m like, oh my gosh, this is insane. Talking to Ryan Seacrest, good ole Ry Ry. And, then I get in there and we’re watching, and I’m like, wow, I’m at the Oscars, and we’re doing a thing, this is my first, I mean, I’m a, it’s the biggest, it’s the biggest shows for, as an actor it’s the biggest thing you could every be apart of.
And I’m like sitting amongst the crews of The Fighter and there was another incredible movie that they were sitting, I mean, I was like right in the middle of all of them. So like as they were winning their awards, I’m like, oh that, oh that’s great, that’s great, great, congratulations. It’s, they’re not, don’t worry you don’t know me, its fine. Um, and, ah, and then all of a sudden I get the cue for, okay, and you’re going to be on in about ten minutes. So then they pull me from the crowd, and I go up, and I’m like, okay, I’m cool, I’m cool. And the Kevin Spacey, ah, in-introduces Randy Newman.
And because we had rehearsed it, I knew the-the kind of like of it, and Kevin Spacey comes out and introduces Randy Newman. And Randy does his bit. And then Rand, and then Kevin comes back out and says, and from Tangled, here comes, you know, Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. So Randy’s beginning to finish his song, and it starts dawning on me, I’m like, all right, so he’s going to be done and then Kev, and then Kevin walks out on the stage. And-and says, and from Tangled, my heart starts just like pounding out of my chest. I’m like, oh my god, I don’t know, I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I’m-I’m-I’m-I’m looking for a stage manager, like can I get like a couple more minutes, is that all right?
And you can’t because it’s like its live and its happening. And, um, and you just go into auto pilot and you kind of blackout a little bit. That’s… And-and-and I, and not only was I not in all, not on top of saying don’t look at Haley, all I was saying was just look at Mandy, look at Mandy, look at Mandy. And I’m looking at Mandy, I’m looking at Mandy, and then we turn on this look, just look into the bla, the-the-the-the-the lights, they’re shining down. It kind of, and really, you can’t see anybody because it’s so bright. And you just, you finish it, and to try and finish strong.
And I, and I felt like, you know what, hey, we got through it. I look over and if you look at the footage, I kind of look over at her and I kind of wink at her and smile at her like, hey we did it, we made it through it. It wasn’t any crazy, crazy mess ups or anything. Ah, although I didn’t feel great about it until, ah, or even slightly good about it until later when I watched. And I was like, you know what, that-that was, that was pretty good, that was pretty good. I-I…
Q : It was very good.
ZACHARY : Oh thank you very much, I appreciate that. I appreciate that. So that was the experience, the very long version of that, sorry. Sorry, yes, in the gold.
Q : Do you have to do any extra training to get you more in shape for this role?
ZACHARY : No, you know, um, what’s-what’s interesting is that I was on like a really strict workout regimen until I got to London. And then I tried on my wardrobe for the first time and I realized nobody will ever be able to tell whether I’m ripped or not. I thought they would, I thought, oh, we’re doing a superhero movie, I’m going to be like really… But I am covered, I’m literally like from here, I got this big old collar, you’ll see. I got a big old collar and I am just, you don’t see any skin other than my face. I’m even wearing gloves, like the, you don’t even see my finger. So, um, so the whole point of being, you know, working out for the poll, for the purposes of like kind of be aesthetic was like, well I don’t really need to do that.
And then once I learned my fight choreography I realized that, um, I was more than capable of doing that in my physical state. So then my training just became drinking beers and eating chips, thank you Elmer Fudd. That was, which is very important by the way, let’s not, you know, I mean, if we’re really going to dive into, you know…
Q : What was the most challenging aspect of taking on this role?
ZACHARY : …probably just deciding to step into the shoes that somebody else has already started. I’m very much about, ah, respect and respecting people in my world and in my vocation. It’s a difficult thing, you know, somebody still, you know, regardless of whether I was meant for, I got cast in that before or whatever, it doesn’t matter.
Ultimately fate had it that Josh played that role and I didn’t. I wanted to do right by him, I wanted to do right by Marvel, I wanted to do right by the cast, and, um, do my own take on it. I didn’t want to emulate what he did. But I also wanted to, you know, ah, do him right through that process. And he’s an incredibly sweet guy. We got to talk right before I shipped off to London, actually I saw him at Comicon and he was incredibly kind, he and Jennifer. Ah, we all caught up and laughed about it.
And, um, so that, you know, that-that’s-that was a little intimidating and difficult. And then other than that, you know, I mean, just living in a foreign country, we shot in London over, you know, five months.