British Hollywood star Jeremy Irvine on starring in Treadstone, an action-packed spin-off from the Jason Bourne movies, and how some early scenes, filmed in his underwear during freezing temperatures, were quite a challenge!
There’s a world of espionage and covert CIA black ops in Treadstone, a new US spy drama series based on the hit Bourne movie franchise coming to Amazon Prime Video. The 10-part spin-off explores both the origin story and present-day actions of the CIA’s mysterious programme Operation Treadstone, which transforms its agents into superhuman killers.
Opening in East Berlin in 1973, the action begins with American agent John Randolph Bentley, played Jeremy Irvine, making a bid for freedom after being captured by the Soviets. Meanwhile, in a modern-day timeline, sleeper agents from the Treadstone programme are mysteriously being re-activated to resume their deadly missions.
Here, Hollywood star Jeremy, 29, tells us more about Treadstone and how he had to run across rooftops in Budapest in January in his underwear…
What can you tell us about John Randolph Bentley in Treadstone?
Jeremy Irvine: “What I like about the Bourne movies is that you don’t necessarily have heroes and villains. The good guys aren’t necessarily good guys and that’s the struggle with John. He thinks he’s a good guy and a patriot, but maybe that isn’t the case. There’s an inner struggle of whether he has been turned by the Russians and sent back as some sort of sleeper agent.”
Have you always been a big fan of the Bourne movie franchise?
JI: “I loved the Bourne movies and they’re the reason I wanted to take on this role. When the Bourne movies came along they turned the genre on its head. They were full of visceral, raw action and that’s what we’ve tried to capture in this. It’s a level of action I don’t think we’ve really seen on TV before.”
What was it like filming the opening scene when John escapes his Soviet captors by running across a rooftop in his underwear?
JI: “I’ve been joking that the hardest part of filming was the opening scene and what it did to my nipples! It was insanely cold – around minus 9 – and we were filming across the rooftops outside in Budapest in January. I was running barefoot so that was definitely the most testing part of the shoot. Doing action and combat scenes in your undies is no joke.”
Did you do many of your own stunts?
JI: “I’d done bits and bobs before but not on this level. They wanted all the fight choreography to be as real as possible and also to be live in front of a camera, not using CGI. I spent two months before we started filming learning all the martial arts techniques for real – and then we learnt how to make it look good with some choreography.”
You are best-known for movies War Horse, Stonewall, The Railway Man and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. How did you find your first big TV role?
JI: “I’d love to do another series if there is one. It’s not often you get projects where you get to do all the cool big budget action stuff and have real dramatic, creatively satisfying dramatic scenes to it as well, so I’d love to do another.”
* Treadstone is available on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 10 January