In “The International,” Clive Owen plays a desperate Interpol agent who spends his every waking moment trying to shut down a secretive international bank reaching its fingers into world politics – and he doesn’t have time for a martini break. But does that make the actor, who was once floated as a possible 007, the anti-Bond?
Not quite, Clive told Access Hollywood at the film’s junket in Beverly Hills on Thursday – but his character is certainly a different kind of action hero.
“The one thing for me that was very important – there was no vanity, there’s no time for self-affection,” he said. “It’s not typical for a lead actor. There’s no time to be thinking about [that]… he’s so obsessed.”
And to play Louis Salinger, an agent fighting against not only the conspiratorial bank, but also his doubtful superiors, could be exhausting.
“This character has to drive the movie,” he said. “It’s a paranoid thriller and the guy in the middle of it all is raving, saying, ‘You’ve got to believe me.’ You have to put that into every scene that you do.”
The intensity carries over to his on-screen relationship with co-star Naomi Watts, who plays a New York district attorney – though it never turns to romance, despite the film’s pre-Valentine’s Day February 13 release date.
“They’re very close in the movie [but] they’re committed because of their sense of justice,” he said. “It was always very maturely, intelligently handled.”
Clive, clean-shaven and dapper in a dark jacket and crisp white shirt, looked a far cry from his battered character on Thursday. Following his breakthrough part in “Croupier” in 1998, the star has taken on leading roles alongside the likes of Angelina Jolie, in “Beyond Borders,” and Julie Roberts in “Closer” and the upcoming film “Duplicity,” and carved out a career as an action hero in such films as “Sin City” and “Shoot ‘Em Up.”
And while he’s set to return in the sequel to “Inside Man,” one film he’s not sure on is “Sin City 2” – which, according to a recent IGN.com interview with creator Frank Miller, has a finished script and “could be shooting as soon as April.”
“I didn’t know it was finished,” Clive said, seeming surprised. “You know more about it than I do.”