NEW YORK — Look closely when watching the new WWI drama “Testament of Youth,” starring Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington, and you might see an iPhone.
“There’s an iPhone dropped in the mud. Watch out for that,” Harington said in a recent interview.
“It was (director) James Kent’s (phone)!” Vikander added.
The film, now playing in limited release, is based on the 1933 memoir by Vera Brittain. It follows Vikander as Vera, when the young men in her life, including her lover (played by Harington), go off to war. Vera puts aside her dreams of higher education to nurse wounded soldiers.
Harington, who also stars in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” airing at 9 p.m. Sundays, and Vikander say they were profoundly affected by the story.
Vikander recalls filming the nursing scenes where the extras were 25 amputees who had returned from serving in Afghanistan. “It was something I think I’m going to carry with me forever,” she said.
Harington remembers lying in a trench under a rain tower for a battle scene where people were “running up and giving me towels and hot beverages and I was moaning and being a wimpy actor. And then I thought, ‘These poor men did this under gunfire for years and years,’ and that struck home. How closeted our generation is.”
Vikander and Harington talked about their work in recent interviews.
Q: Had you met prior to making this film?
Harington: We met on a movie called “Seventh Son,” which we filmed like three or four years ago, but didn’t share a single scene in that. I popped my clogs before she even shows up, so we went out to dinner and became friends.
Vikander: When you know somebody at least a little, it’s such a big step forward because you already have kind of, well, trust between each other which is really what’s needed for both (of you) to feel fine to make mistakes or try new things out and you know you kind of have a certain language of trying to communicate while working.
Q: Are you comfortable watching yourself on the screen?
Vikander: I have a harder time listening to myself than looking at myself. I think it’s because you’re kind of used to seeing so many images of yourself today with photos and things. The first time (watching), you’re always hard on yourself. I think most actors are. But also you have so many memories. I think of everything else, about the take or what happened that day. It’s sometimes hard to engage and see the film as you hope an audience will see it.
Harington: I think you get better the more you (see), but I think if you care about your work, then you’ll be picking it apart.
Q: Kit, the ninth episode of this season of “Game of Thrones” airs Sunday. That episode is typically a big one, where people are talking about it the next day. Will that happen this time?
Harington: (Laughs.) I can’t tell you anything about it. Last week’s (fight scene) was pretty intense, but next week and the week after it just goes nuts.
Q: What’s it like having this global audience with “Game of Thrones”?
Harington: It’s amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever be a part of something that has quite this reach. I think it’s seen in most countries, so there’s no escape.