alfie allen john wickMost know Alfie Allen from his role as Theon Greyjoy on HBO's "Game of Thrones," the squirrelly, perpetually tortured soul who was raised as one of the Stark children until, of course, his sudden but inevitable betrayal. But in the new, Keanu Reeves-led action movie "John Wick," Allen gets to try on the pants of a different, but equally smarmy villain Iosef Tarasov, a young Russian punk whose father, Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) is a Russian mobster and head of a huge operation in New York. When Iosef targets Reeves' John Wick, a former assassin, all hell breaks loose. It's really, really good.

We got a chance to chat with Allen about what it was like playing a contemporary bastard, what his favorite aspect of the movie's pseudo-fantastical landscape was, and have to inform him that, yes, the guy who plays Hodor is off next season and taking part in a world tour as a DJ.

Moviefone: What drew you to "John Wick"?

Alfie Allen: Speaking to Chad and Dave [Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, the co-directors of "John Wick"], they were very enthusiastic about the project. Two ex-stuntmen working on a project with a lot of stunts in it, I just thought, Yeah, they're going to get that right. They were super psyched to have me on board. The cast was amazing –- they had Keanu and Michael and Willem Dafoe and John Leguizamo. It was insane that they wanted me to be a part of that.

What was it like working with Keanu? It's one thing to do an action movie but another to do an action movie with a guy with such an amazing history in the genre.

It was a little intimidating at first, but once I met Keanu, he's a very nice, down-to-earth dude. He's just a really cool guy. We got to chatting about a lot of stuff. He started working when he was a kid and that's when I started working. They really worked him hard. He really threw himself into it.

But he loves doing stunt work. How did you feel about that stuff?

I was on the receiving end of the stunt work, to be honest with you. I just got some of it.

You did some kicking.

That's true. I did some kicking to the head. That was cool. That was really great. It was great having Chad and Dave there because we had stuntmen on deck, obviously, but it was also great to have them come in and give their take.

This character is obviously very different from your "Game of Thrones" character. But they're both kind of bastards.

There's definitely parallels there.

What is the appeal of playing a character like that?

I mean... I don't really see him that way. I was looking at it as someone who wants to take over the family business one day. I always thought that it was kind of interesting that maybe Viggo was trying to steer him away from that and show him a better life. Or maybe Viggo planned to have him take over the family business and then saw what a f*ck-up he was, so then he couldn't do that. It's just fun playing those type of roles because it's very detached from the person I hope I actually am.

One of the most fun aspects of this movie is that it's an entire alternate reality.

When I read the script, I really, really loved that. I thought, I really like this mysterious, kind of mystic underworld. It was cool. I don't want to give too much away, but the currency used and everything in this slick world.

What was your favorite aspect of that whole world?

The hotel. When I read the script I thought that was really cool. Michael was saying that there are places like that in Europe.

Something tells me if someone were to know where those places are, it'd be him.

Probably. Although we probably wouldn't know. We'd walk in there and be like, "Whoa."

What was it like working on your Russian accent?

I had a voice coach who really helped me. And then she told me about a Russian bath I should go and check out and test it out on some real Russian people. When I started out, I sounded a lot like that guy from "A Fish Called Wanda," which is quite funny. But I enjoyed it. It was one of the things that really drew me to the role -– that I would get to speak another language and also play an American at the same time. So it was interesting.

You shot in New York. What was that like? New York is really a character in the movie, as well.

Oh totally. It was amazing. There's one scene in it where, at the beginning, you see New York through a graveyard and it's a pretty amazing shot. It's beautifully shot, as well. I kind of remember looking at some of the stuff on set and thinking, Wow this looks really great. But I've kind of gone off course. What was the question again?

Oh, it probably isn't important. It was just about New York and what that experience was like for you.

Oh, it was great. I hadn't been to New York for any kind of extended period of time. It was fun. I was working very hard so I didn't get to see as much of the city as I'd like to see. Like the other day I took my first walk in Central Park. It was great! When I was shooting, it was around Christmas, so it was freezing cold. I got out just before the worst of it apparently. But it was lovely. And now that there are still leaves in the trees, I'll still go check it out again.

So as far as I remember, in "Game of Thrones," you're still alive, right?

I was in the last episode of the last season.

Some of the characters aren't coming back next season because of the way the narrative is structured...

I didn't know that some of the characters weren't coming back.

Brann and Hodor aren't coming back.

Oh, I had no idea. Really?

Yes. The guy who plays Hodor is going on a world tour as a DJ. So he's off for the whole year.

Who said that?

The guy who plays Hodor!

Oh, he said that? I hadn't read that. That's crazy. Well, we're shooting at the moment. And it's going well. I'm done a week out there and there are four days coming up. But it's going well.

Are you shooting in Ireland?

I don't want to say. I don't want to give anything away.

"John Wick" is in theaters now.

John Wick
R2014
Based on 39 critics

An ex-hitman (Keanu Reeves) comes out of retirement to hunt down the mobsters who ruined his life. Read More

categories Interviews, Movies