DIVERGENT ON-SET INTERVIEW: DivergentFans.com meets Jai Courtney

Jai Courtney walked in the room, fully dressed as Eric and he was intimidating and scary.  Instantly my least favorite casting choice became my favorite.  It surprised even me.  Jai Courtney was the perfect bag guy!  Read our interview with him from the 'Divergent' set back in May 2013.

Read our other Divergent set visit interviews and posts here.

Jai: What’s going on?

Wow, pretty badass tattoos.

Jai: There’s more but I get to wear a jacket today so I don’t have to put them on.


How long does it take to get the tattoos on?

Jai: Uhh, probably like 45 minutes?

Is that daily or…

Jai: Yeah

Oh wow.

Jai: Yeah…it’s fun though.


Is that hand tattooed or is like a…(can’t make it out)

Jai: No, it transfers yeah…just like when you were a kid. Exact same process.


Jai: Yeah. How are you guys doing?


Jai: That’s good.


You look terrifying. You did a good job.

Jai: That’s what I was shooting for.


Someone on Twitter wants to know if you’re more tough as a Dauntless member or a Gladiator.

Jai: (Laughs) Umm…(laughs) Well my blonde locks as a Gladiator probably weren’t as intimidating as this look so uh yeah maybe as a Dauntless uh as a Dauntless leader.


Did you have to practice for the American accent?

Jai: Yeah, always! I mean I’ve done a couple of jobs now where I’ve had to do that so um it’s gotten easier but there’s always, always a dialect coach to um, you know, keep me on track and you know I always do work in preparation for it, definitely.


Is there any Chicago-ness to it?

Jai: No, not really. I mean I think you know, while city’s set here, sometimes if you shoot down that path, it gets a little too specific and regional and um I think in this world it’s just safer to play kind of a general thing.


Most important question. As an action star- Bruce Willis or Theo James?

Jai: Theo James…always.


What would be in your fear landscape?

Jai: What would be in my fear landscape? Uhh…wow, um I don’t know. I’m pretty claustrophobic so uh, tight spaces (laughs).


Eric’s kind of an asshole…

Jai: I wouldn’t say that…going a little far there.


Sorry, so what would be a redeeming quality for him? Because even the biggest jerks have that redeeming quality, so what’s his?

Jai: I think loyalty, definitely. I mean he’s a true believer in the cause and um, yeah.


Is it more challenging or more fun to play the villain for you?

Jai: It can be more fun, I mean yeah you certainly get to do things that you probably otherwise don’t necessarily agree with. Um, you know I don’t know every character I’ve done has been fun and the whole process, I love the process of making movies so I don’t know it’s not as black and white as sort of one….


What drew you to the character?

Jai: Well, you know I thought there was some potential to kind of do something with it. It’s interesting because on one level you can kind of look at Eric and sort of see this asshole and this guy with no redeeming qualities but that was the challenge I think was to try and uncover you know what some of those things might have been. And you know the genre’s not something I’ve worked in previously and you know the market as well I haven’t quite kind of worked in this sort of territory and to have the opportunity to work with Neil, who I really like and respect as a director, and also this amazing cast was really what sealed the deal.


Is there a particular scene that you’ve already done or that you’re looking forward to doing for your character?

Jai: Yeah! I mean the whole shoot’s been a lot of fun, I don’t know I’m looking forward to throwing Christina over the uh chasm, yeah. That should be fun.


What was the audition process like?

Jai: For me, it was just a series of meetings really with the producers and with Neil. They approached me and sort of you know asked if I would be interested in it and I checked out the book and the screenplay they had and had a series of discussions and talked about where I saw the character versus where Neil did and it was pretty simple this time around.


Were you familiar with the size of the fan base?

Jai: Not at all, no, I was completely oblivious to it. I’d heard about the project sometime before I was ever involved with it just from some friends that were auditioning for various roles and I knew it was kind of a high profile thing and that the books had this big fan base but no, personally I wasn’t aware of it at all.


There are some rabid Divergent fans, what are you obsessed with?

Jai: What am I obsessed with?

Or a fan of…

Jai: Right now…(laughs) vintage Japanese motorcycles.


If you could describe Eric in one word, what would it be?

Jai: (Thinking)

Or more than one word…three words! I’ll give you three words.

Jai: I don’t know, that’s an interesting…I should come up with a good answer for that…if I could describe him in more than one word or one word…I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.


Did you get a chance to talk to Veronica Roth about your character and how you wanted to approach it?

Jai: Uh, a little bit. I mean there was no discussion prior to getting into it, she came and visited the set and I got the chance to meet her then. And I think it’s often the case with adaptations for film where the author of the books has to kind of hand it off in a sense and I’ve been involved with a film before that was based on a series of books and its um…you know I guess sometimes the writers of the novels are heavily involved and they pen a script as well or whatever and sort of maintain that involvement through the process but I think in this case it was more about…she kind of gave them license to kind of work with material and that’s where things change a bit as well. You’ve got to kind of embrace those things you know, you can’t always be true to every single detail and that’s a tricky thing sometimes especially with something that’s so popular. You know, you’re aiming to please fans as well but in a sense you want to elevate the material that you’ve got to work with and you know, make it as good as it can be…make it better if you can, you know what I mean. She’s been really supportive.


If you could take one thing home from set, what would it be?

Jai: Well, I always steal a souvenir so I’m going to have to come up with it. I don’t know yet, I don’t know what I’ll take, that’s a good question. It’s true though, I do like to pinch a little something off every film. I don’t know…maybe just this haircut.


So Eric is like Dauntless to a T in the book. Do you relate to him or do you see yourself as Dauntless or as a different faction?

Jai: I can kind of relate to the kind of Dauntless approach although I’m certainly not as fearless as my character that’s for sure but yeah I’d be pretty happy to roll Dauntless if I were thrown into this situation.


Are you excited to work with Kate Winslet?

Jai: I am yeah of course, absolutely.


Have you done any scenes with her yet?

Jai: No, no I haven’t but uh looking forward to that indeed.


Are these yours or Eric’s? (referring to tattoos on wrists/arms)

Jai: These are mine. They get kind of covered by, he has these kind of forearm sleeves that I didn’t need to do today. So yeah.

(Jai gets called back to set)


Jai: Thanks guys, nice meeting you all. Have fun, thanks for coming.

Read more DivergentFans.com interviews:

Miles Teller, Christian Madsen, and Ben Lloyd-Hughes

Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz

Theo James - Part 1

Theo James - Part 2

Ray Stevenson

Neil Burger

Our set visit reaction post

You can buy Divergent movie tickets NOW to be entered into a contest for a walk-on role in Insurgent!

Moviegoers who purchase advance tickets before March 21st on Fandango.com will have the opportunity to be entered in to a sweepstakes for the chance to win a walk-on role in the film’s sequel INSURGENT. 

Read the official Summit Entertainment press release for more details

About Divergent

DIVERGENT is a thrilling action-adventure film set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it's too late. Based on the best-selling book series by Veronica Roth.


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