Q&A: John Hannah on new film Genesis

Best known for his roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sliding Doors and The Mummy, John Hannah opens up about family life and his latest project, dark Sci-Fi flick Genesis

The tone of Genesis is very foreboding. Does working on dark material ever affect your mood?

The location did have an effect on everyone.

We were filming in an atomic shelter in Essex which was operational until the mid-nineties. It's open to the public now; boy scout groups go and stay the night and things.

It was all very depressing, to be honest. I felt like nuclear war would be a better option than living there. 

 

Did you ever get cabin fever on set?

Oh all the time, it was horrendous. The first five minutes you go in there you think, Oh this is interesting, look at that but after that, you want to go up for some air. It really was quite crazy.

"There's not a lot to be said for surviving a nuclear detonation"

[The cast and crew] all got on really well and we were all in it together so there was a kind of comradery. They're a good crowd of people and we had the usual actor banter, it was good fun. 

Your character responds to nuclear armageddon by becoming a leader. How would you fare in an end-of-the-world situation?

Not well [laughs]. I like my comforts. 

There was an opinion on location that if we're going to get bombed, we should try and meet it rather than scrabbling through cockroaches or whatever. There's not a lot to be said for surviving a nuclear detonation. 

We were all for thinking, let's just get this over with. 

You've had a very varied career, but what would be your dream role?

There's a lot of stuff [I'd like to do] but I don't really long for it in that way because if you spend a lot of time longing then when it does happen it will be disappointing. 

There's nothing worse than having a dream that gets deflated by a director who doesn't know what they're doing or whose opinion you disagree with, so I just take things as they come.

"There's nothing worse than having a dream that gets deflated by a director"

I have a very busy life at the moment with two kids and schools and all of that. I've been doing this long enough that I can pick and choose a little bit and do things because I want to do them and I'm happy with that. 

I don't have any unfulfilled ambitions to play Hamlet or any of that stuff. 

Beyond Genesis, do you have a personal favourite Sci-Fi film?

I love the original Star Wars films, but after that, I'm not too bothered. 

I like some of the stuff on Netflix and I know some of the people who worked on Westworld, which is pretty good. 

I think there's some interesting stuff happening with TV now with technology being much more reasonably priced. It's not like the old Doctor Who where all the robots were made from plastic…

 

Genesis is out on Digital 9th July and DVD 16th July

Read the full interview in the September edition of Reader's Digest