On Armie Hammer's first day of shooting the new Snow White movie, "Mirror Mirror" (the first of two Snow White movies this year), Hammer, whose character is under a spell that has him believing he's a puppy, was required to lick Julia Roberts's face. That was quite the introduction to America's Sweetheart. (It is yet to be known if, at any point, Chris Hemsworth licks the face of Charlize Theron in "Snow White and the Huntsman.")
In "Mirror Mirror," Hammer plays Prince Alcott -- the dashing hero (well, sort of) who is pined for, because of financial reasons, by an evil queen (Julia Roberts). Eventually, though, Alcott pines for the queen's stepdaughter, Snow White (Lily Collins). There is a lot of pining in this movie.
Ahead, Hammer discusses (after I accidentally asked him "What are you doing?" instead of "How are you doing?") what it's like to lick America's Sweetheart, the competing Snow White movies, his reaction to the lack of awards season accolades for "J. Edgar," and his next role as everyone's favorite lone ranger, The Lone Ranger.
Hey, Armie. What are you doing?
Currently, I'm standing in the Casa del Mar hotel looking out over the ocean.
Well, that sounds nice.
Oh, yeah, that does sound awful.
And it's a perfect 74 degrees. It's bittersweet because I was just in New Mexico where it was 28 degrees and I'm only here for two days and will spend all of it in this hotel.
At least you have a good view?
This is true.
Now here's my segue into "Mirror Mirror": You licked Julia Roberts.
Yeah, this is true. Multiple times. On the first day that I worked with her professionally.
First day? That seems like an awkward introduction.
Yeah, that was the first day and it was the first thing we shot. And it was like, "Ready, set, go -- nice to meet you."
What's the direction like in a scene like that? "I know you two just met, but you need to put more effort into your licking."
No. It went over just as it was supposed to. I think it got a great reaction. I think the first time I did it, she did that very iconic Julia Roberts' laugh -- and it was just like, yes.
Speaking of that iconic laugh, there was a child sitting in front of me at the screening who, later in the film, said out loud, "She's mean!" when Julia came on the screen. So, to a whole new generation, she won't be America's Sweetheart. She'll be the "mean" lady. That's weird to me.
Oh, yeah. it's a great departure from everything else that she's ever played. She is like America's Sweetheart and for her to do something where she willingly plays a villain -- yeah, I see what you're saying, man. I think she does a fantastic job, also, doing this thing where it's all about vanity. It's just a great, great, sort of venture on her part.
And those kids obviously haven't seen "Pretty Woman."
Or even "Mystic Pizza"! Or "Erin Brokovich." In "Erin Brokovich," she played a pretty tough broad.
I will preface this by saying that these are two completely different types of movies: But, when you got involved, when did you first find out there would also be a movie called "Snow With and the Huntsman"?
I knew they were going to do both Snow White movies even when I signed on to do this one. When I signed on, what I knew was that there were two Snow White movies and one of them had Julia Roberts in it. And that was, I think, as far as either movie had gone. And I asked who was directing and they said, "Well, Tarsem is doing the Julia Roberts film," and I went, "No kidding? That is freaking awesome. Yeah, that's the way to go."
Do you think it will help "Mirror Mirror" that it's being released first?
Yeah. Yeah, I don't think it's going to hurt. It's also, like you said, they're completely different movies. This is a Snow White movie that you can actually take your kids to.
This movie also does not take itself too seriously.
Yeah! It's fun, man. It's the kind of things where kids will laugh and just be entertained. But there are lines in there that only the adults will get.
Were you disappointed in the lack of awards season accolades for "J. Edgar"?
No way, man. I get that's possible, but at the time, when I'm doing those jobs, I'm just so focused on what I have to do at the time -- just to make sure I bring 100 percent. I'm not trying to think about the future in any way, you know? Anything that happens after the director calls cut for the last time is completely out of my control.
I just don't know how much actors think about those things.
During the filming of it, watching Leo do his performance and stuff like that, I was expecting more recognition for him. Absolutely. But that's about as far as it went. But that was only because I was, like, sitting across from the guy when he was dong these amazing scenes. You know?
You mentioned being in New Mexico. Is everything going well with "The Lone Ranger" so far?
I've been out there over a month and we just finished our first week of principal photography.
The original story is about an ambush against a group of Texas Rangers and the man who becomes The Lone Ranger is the only one who survived, but people think he'd dead. Is that still the story?
It's basically going to be the genesis of the The Lone Ranger character. It involves how he sort of becomes The Lone Ranger. Where the mask comes from -- you know, all those great sort of backstory questions about the character. So, yes, this movie definitely answers all of those. And then, on top of that, it's a fantastic sort of like buddy adventure. Most of the movie is really about the relationship between The Lone Ranger and Tonto [played in the film by Johnny Depp]. And the sort of rub between these two guys: where they get along, where they don't, where they agree, where they disagree. It's a fun, sort of buddy adventure comedy.
And The Green Hornet is related to The Lone Ranger. So Seth Rogen's character and your character are related.
I can totally see the resemblance.
Is your version of the character going to be as stoic as Clayton Moore's version?
Oh man, no. it's not quite going to be like that. This is going to be The Lone Ranger that people who have never seen the old Clayton Moore version are going to love. People who have seen the Clayton Moore version are still going to go, "Whoa, what a great take on The Lone Ranger! This is fantastic." It's true to that, but, at the same time, it's going to be great. People who have never seen "The Lone Ranger" and people who come from a different time, the, "We have to do the right thing!" Lone Ranger -- it's going to be exciting for everybody.
Apparently the creator of "The Lone Ranger" made a list of rules for what The Lone Ranger can and can't do. I found them fascinating.
Yeah, yeah. It's the Creed!
My favorite part of the Creed was the part about speaking perfect grammar.
[Laughs] Yeah! Someone was like, "Now that you're The Lone Ranger, are you going to memorize the Creed?" I'm like, "I don't know, man. It's pretty long. Have you read it?"
As an aside, last Saturday I had a "sit on the couch all day" day and I watched the Vietnam documentary that you did voiceover work for on The History Channel. It was fantastic.
Oh! Thanks, dude. I haven't even seen that yet. Yeah, it was really great getting to do that -- getting in there and do the voiceover. Before we did a lot of the filming, we watched a lot of videos of the guys whose words we were reading. It was really just fascinating and touching and amazing at the same time.
There been so much about World War II, it's nice to see these guys get their due, too.
Absolutely, dude. It's their turn. Absolutely.
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. He has written for Wired Magazine, VanityFair.com and GQ.com. He likes Star Wars a lot. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter