Aidan Turner On 'The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot'

Believe it or not, The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot is not a schlocky horror-comedy, but in fact a heartfelt reflection on love, loss, and PTSD seen through the lens of an alternate history. Fans who check the movie out mostly like it so far -- its average Rotten Tomato rating is 3.7 stars out of 5 -- but it is not what you expect going in.

That is what attracted Aidan Turner, who has appeared in projects like The Hobbit and Poldark, to the film -- one that he was still marvelling managed to get a theatrical release and a press day in spite of being a truly independent film for its director Robert D. Krzykowski.

Turner, who plays the younger version of Calvin, joined to discuss the film, which you can currently see in theaters and on streaming video on demand services.

I will say the title creates some expectations. When you get a script with that title, what's the first thing that goes through your mind?

I mean, it's quite clever in a lot of ways, because with that title, you have to read it. It's quite clever. I don't think that was ever Bob's intention, to create some sort of catchy or memorable title that is just going to be something that sticks in people's minds, but it does. Once the movie comes in, and it's in your inbox, you can't quite get it out of your head.

It was the same for my management over here stateside. Everybody was reading it in the office and people were talking about it because it is such a strange title, I suppose. It was quite clever in many ways. I think whoever got sent it certainly had a good go at it, either finished reading it or certainly gave it a shot which is a lot to be said because there's so many scripts around these days.

This was a film where when it came in, it was like okay. I had it for maybe a couple of days before I got to reading it but it was on my mind. Just what is this? What's the tone of this piece gonna be? What's it gonna be like? I was totally surprised.

Just looking at the title, you almost expect a schlock horror-comedy.

Sure, that's what everybody thought. That's the thing about this film. When you read it through, it seems to cross genre quite a lot and you don't know where you're lying with it. There's a lot more heart in it than I think anybody expected.

And it goes through different tones. This exactly what Bob was planning on doing, I think. It's not a fluke. It seems to represent Bob Krzykowski really well. When you meet Bob, when you talk to Bob, you talk about his influences, the movies he likes and his general disposition and temperament as a person, it just makes a whole lot of sense. His influences come into play. I think that's quite an unusual thing these days and that's why I wanted to attach myself to the film as soon as I read it.

I just though, "this is different." It's hard to get different these days sometimes, and I get it. I get why it's a thing where you want to see a 90 second trailer and immediately pigeonhole it. You want to know is this a film I want to watch? Is this a TV series that I want to spend some time watching?

You want to be able to go this is what genre it is, this is where I expect it go, and we do all these things and in seconds in our head, we add it up and we realize where does it lie, is it something that interests us.

I think with this kind of film, it just plays with that a little bit. It doesn't always give us what we expect or even what we want sometimes. Then it gives us something different and it gives us time to play with how we feel about that. That's something I think we're all quite proud of.


I felt like the idea of a deeply humanized kind of pathetic version of Hitler, it almost felt like The Great Dictator or something to me. Was that something that crossed through your mind?

It felt very real to me. From what I've read, and even old stock video footage or photographs of Hitler in those final days, he was quite decrepit. He had that tremor and that shake. You kinda got to see he was absolutely losing his mind. At whatever cost, he wanted the war to keep going. He had, to an extent, lost his mind.

When we were playing those scenes, that's something that you got -- there was something quite sad about this man who is completely isolated in his own world, in his own disillusioned view of trying to piece together what had just happened, what had gone wrong. He'd lost everything. All hopes, all dreams of whatever he aspired to be or whatever he aspired his ideas to be. He felt that. Walking into that room to play that scene, it was like it didn't feel like Hitler. It just felt like an old, disillusioned, sad man. He just felt quite decrepit. His physicality wasn't what we remember Hitler to be during the early days of the Nazi movement. He was just a broken shell of a man, like we see from Bruno Ganz in Downfall or films like that. That's the kind of Hitler that we saw.

The character of Calvin Barr, aside from what he has to do, he was just a man. Although Hitler is clearly one of the most evil men who ever existed on the face of the planet, he's still a human being and taking a human's life should never be considered an easy thing. That's something that this movie tackles too. It's never easy to take anyone's life. There's still the humanity of what's involved. It will always be a thing, regardless of how evil a person is.

How do we deal with those feelings? No matter who that person is and what they've done, what is it like to take somebody's life?

I think it does bring up some very interesting topics and it's something that Calvin Barr has to deal with. I think Bob Krzykowski, our director, offers those questions in a very interesting manner.

I assume because of the title, you knew that the monster hunting part was coming but was that one of those things in reading the script where you're like wow, this just took a hard turn?

Well, yeah. I suppose I did! But when you're making a movie, it doesn't always follow this realistic, naturalistic, linear narrative. It jumps into a world where it's hard to classify. It's hard to define it in one genre or the other.

That's what it's like with this film. Sometimes it's very much in a real world that we can understand, and other times, we get challenged with that because we think "Jesus, this isn't quite where I expected this to go and what is this now? Is this some sort of dream sequence? Are we in an alternate universe? Is this somebody's thoughts? Who are we with? Who is telling this story? Why do these things matter?"

I think it's those guessing games, it's about playing with the audience too. When I talk to people about what the movie's about for them, you get very different answers back.

When we opened a Q&A up, we got some very different meanings, and you meet some fans who come up and say, "I think this is what the film is about because of these moments and this is what it meant to me," and "I like this analogy for this thing and this other thing, why wasn't it this?" It can really get people thinking and talking.

It's something that's not done often enough these days. Sometimes you might hit some moments in the film that really tries to push the boat out with certain ideas that don't work, but I think it's worth it for the moments that do work and I think that courage in filmmaking is something that I definitely appreciate. I give it up for Bob for doing that as well.

Along the way, it plays a bit with reality, almost. There's a scene where the younger Cal and the older one are both walking with dogs, and I kept waiting for the revelation that one or both was a dream or something.

I think it plays with the narrative a little bit. Sometimes these things work in films, and sometimes they don't work as well as they should, but Bob definitely didn't have to compromise for this film. He could really do what he wanted, because he had just about enough money to make it. He wasn't in the pockets of a lot of producers. He could play with these ideas.

These things, I think, are all up for discussion. It can be quite rare these days that you do have that opportunity to see something slightly different and to even question the narrative. It's interesting as an audience member to feel those things and go, "God, this could go this way," and then sometimes you go off on your own and have ideas yourself as to the way things should go.

There's so many movies that don't even allow you to do that because they're just so formulaic, and they're made for a ton of money, and there's a lot of people that are involved and want clarity at every turn.

They want the genre very clear, they want the demographic, their audience, they want to know who they have. This movie plays with that a little bit. There are times where you think, "what is actually happening here?" That's kind of what attracted me to the film.

The greatest thing is, this existed when it was on the page. This is the way it read. I've never been part of a project that's been so clear from page to screen. It is, every step of the way, the way it was supposed to be. It's not like we just tried to figure everything out after we shot it.

Obviously, you had to take on an American accent for this movie. What was it like not only taking on an American accent but playing a younger Sam Elliott, and so taking on this incredibly well known, distinctive voice?

Yeah, he's got the most distinctive voice in Hollywood and he has for a very long time. I was aware it was gonna be Sam Elliott. Preparation for something like this is always the fun part, but it came to a stage where you're practicing and you're getting the sound, the tone...and it's like, where do we draw the line between doing a Sam Elliott impersonation and just finding the voice?

I had to find those tones that Sam has in his voice, but also be true to the character. You can sit in a bar with some of your pals and you can all mess around doing different voices, different accents and different famous people. Sometimes you get really, really close and that's fun, but when you try to embody a character with that accent, you're sharing a character with another actor, and you're trying to get their tone down, it takes more than just an impersonation. Sometimes it can come across as a bit of a party trick, and I think it's just trying to find the tones, the technique to bring you down closer to where Sam's accent is.

There's a pace to it, the tone, the frequency that he hits. To try to get to that as best you can, but still embody that character, is the most important thing.

Obviously, it's something that does take consideration because you want to make it feel like it's the same world and I think it is. I see with this 30, 35 years between the character I play and Sam's. I do believe it.

Given recent developments, being the younger Sam Elliott, does that mean you're like 25 years away from your Oscar nomination?

[Laughs] I'll take it if that's what it means.

If Bob came to you and said he wanted to flesh out the backstory for Calvin and explore some of the lost years in between the two versions, would you be up for that?

I don't know. To be honest with you, I would work with Bob in a heartbeat again. I think I'll do anything he would ask me to ever do. I've enjoyed working with him so much, and I think he's such a talent, and he has such a big and bright future ahead of him.


I would definitely explore that with Bob. I would trust him that there would be story in there that would be interesting enough to tackle. Of course, sometimes leaving stuff alone and just telling one story as it is, is the better option, too.

But I would work with Bob again without questioning any of that too much. I'd love to work with him, and I look forward to doing it, but I'm sure he's got many interesting stories and not just this one to tell.