Watch: Olivia Colman and Michael Ward talk about their favorite movie experiences
Empire of Light star Michael Ward revealed that watching the 2008 sequel Step Up 2: The Streets helped him fall in love with the movies.
The 25-year-old star told Yahoo UK that it was very important for him to be able to share the joy of the movie with his friends after the credits.
“we would go [to the cinema] On days without school uniforms, me and my friends and all,” Ward said.
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“We went out dancing and everyone was picking a character, someone was popping and locking, and someone was everywhere.
“We were literally walking out of the movie theater when we were doing this and even on the bus home.
“When something touched you like that, it was special to you. It was really special to us. I loved that movie.
“I went to the movies with my friends to watch this. It really felt like something we could do together. It was special.”
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Empire of Light follows Ward, who faces the threat of racial violence as a new employee at a beachfront movie theater in Margate in the 1980s, while also forming a romance with duty manager Hilary (Olivia Colman).
Colman’s choice of a transcendent cinematic experience was quite different from Ward’s, with Oscar winner Lars von Trier citing the 1996 drama Breaking the Waves as a formative film.
“I watched it when I was a drama student. I never want to watch it again. It was so sad,” she said.
Colman added: “Six of us went to watch – five of us were crushed and one of us didn’t really understand. I couldn’t cope with their reaction.
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“But it was incredible that we all watched the same movie, and yet there are those conversations that happen afterwards when someone doesn’t feel the same way.
“I remember where I was at the cinema in Bristol and even where I sat. It was an incredible moment. I wanted to do this kind of work, or that’s how it affects people.”
Tanya Moodie appears in Empire of Light as Ward’s daughter’s mother, nurse Delia, and has said she has had a wide variety of emotional experiences at the cinema.
“I see so many things and I’m shattered. Monsters Inc., for example, cried.
“I had this happen on The Father with Olivia recently. That was one of the first things I said to her. [when they met for Empire of Light]. I cried so much that my family had to leave me at the cinema.”
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Empire of Light director Sam Mendes cited Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind as one of the movies that sparked his love for the multiplex.
“My father took me to Leicester Square. I remember its size,” she said.
Mendes added: “As the movie starts, it gets dark and there’s a louder and louder noise, and the ground starts to move and rumble. You could feel that no one in the audience was breathing.
“That was pretty exciting. Why would one want movies to still exist on a large scale and still have a romantic idea of watching it with other people?” I think about it often when I think about it.
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“There’s nothing like it. It’s a different experience than watching at home. It’s not better or worse. It’s completely different and something we don’t want to lose.”
Empire of Light is now in UK cinemas.
Watch: Empire of Light Trailer