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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Inhumans’ Iwan Rheon on Marvel’s out-of-this-world series

The Welsh actor Iwan Rheon, who previously acted in Game of Thrones and Misfits, talks us through the complicated life of the Inhumans

Anson Mount, right, Iwan Rheon play brothers Black Bolt and Maximus in Marven's Inhumans. Michael Muller / ABC
Anson Mount, right, Iwan Rheon play brothers Black Bolt and Maximus in Marven's Inhumans. Michael Muller / ABC

Marvel’s latest venture into television brings to life one of its legendary comic-book series, the Inhumans. Filmed entirely with Imax cameras, the series deals with the Moon-bound Inhumans, who escape to Earth after a military coup shatters their life there. Welsh actor Iwan Rheon, who previously acted in Game of Thrones and Misfits, talks The National through the complicated life of the Inhumans.

So tell us about Inhumans and your role in it?

Inhumans are a race of superhumans that left Earth thousands of years ago and went to the Moon to hide away from humanity. They are ruled by the king, Black Bolt, and the Queen Medusa, and I play Maximus, who is the younger brother of Black Bolt. Society is divided into a caste system which is determined by the power you get from going through a process called the terrigenesis, which every inhuman goes through at a certain age – it’s like a coming of age. We join the story when humanity is beginning to find these inhumans, so the major question is, what do we do? Which brings in a lot of conflict between the two brothers because they both have two very different views about how to do that. And that’s where you get your conflict.

Is there any interaction in this series yet with characters that fans know from other iterations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

No. This is very much on its own. Though the Inhumans are sort of touched upon in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but you don’t need to have seen that to understand this.

Is there a big difference in working on a British TV series and one such as Inhumans, in the United States?

There’s not a huge difference; it’s more of a machine out there [in America] and you get less time to film it, weirdly. But working for someone like Marvel, you’ve got all the secrecy ... they’re very tight on the security. That kind of feels different, but it didn’t feel that different. Everything’s on a much bigger scale in America. We shot Misfits on a single camera and occasionally you got a second one out, but on Inhumans, there was always three rolling.

What did the Imax filming on Inhumans involve? Is it different cameras and a different way of shooting?

I think you do have to change the way you shoot. You can’t do whip pans ... everything has got to be a lot smoother, or else the whole audience would be feeling queasy. And it requires a lot of big openers, a lot more of those slower, sweeping shots, but not fast, you can’t move the camera too quickly. You can’t cut too quickly between close-ups.

I heard that you had a false dog on set?

Yeah, there was a big dog which they would wheel on [a statue of] so that you would know it was there, but I think it’s head fell off at one point. It wasn’t a real dog, so no actual dogs were harmed during the filming of Inhumans.

There is a debate at the moment about British actors going over to Hollywood and taking roles from American actors. One of the explanations people have given for this is that there is perhaps better training for British actors, with their experience in theatre. Would you agree with that?

I think there are some fantastic conservatoire and acting schools in America, but I think you have a slightly different attitude over there to acting, in that people say: ‘Oh you’re gorgeous, you should go to Hollywood to become an actor.’ Whereas in Britain, it’s more you train and you work on your craft, and it’s a slightly different kind of mentality. And I think also the idea of celebrity is slightly different in America – like I’m not an actor to be a celebrity; I don’t want to be famous. It’s just a by-product of what I’m doing. This is a job that I really enjoy. There are so many factors that I think there is a slightly different kind of mentality.

You also have a career as a musician. Have you put that on hold to concentrate on your acting?

It never really came off hold. I’m still writing and stuff, it’s just I haven’t had time to record. I just seem to have been too busy and working a lot. But I’m going to make another album at some point. It’s more just something that I love doing. It’s not so much a career; I think acting’s my career, and music’s just something that I like doing. It’s very fulfilling creatively because I have complete control over it, so I just write whatever I want.

Marvel’s Inhumans has its premiere on OSN Series First HD on Wednesday October 4, 10pm