'The Eagle,' starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell, is based on a 1954 novel by Rosemary Sutcliffe called "The Eagle of the Ninth." The story centers around a young Roman Centurion, Marcus Aquila, (Tatum) whose father and his entire battalion disappeared 20 years before in the northern region or Roman ruled Britain that we now know as Northern England and Scotland, supposedly slaughtered by the native peoples of that region. (See last years "Centurion," directed by Neil Marshall, to see an excellent telling of that story.)
Marcus decides to venture north to try and find out what happened to his father, as well as retrieve the golden eagle standard (a bronze statue of an eagle representing Rome) and restore honor to his family's name. Accompanying him is his slave Esca (Bell) who just happens to be from this northern area, and whose family was slaughtered by the Romans. When they enter this wild land, tables are turned and Esca holds the power as the guy that knows the terrain and the language.
Embedded in this page are the two interviews about the film I did with the stars, Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. As a fan of historical fiction, I was pretty satisfied by the film, however I felt that the relationship between the two main characters lacked grounding. I just never could see a reason for them to be friends. I chalked this up to the source material of the 1954 book, and that is why I asked both actors whether or not they felt that the portrayal of male relationships had changed since the 50's.
"In the book the dynamics of the relationship aren't incredibly cinematic… the film is much more of a journey." Said Jamie Bell about the relationship between Marcus and Escus. "The Bro-Mance comes towards the second part of the film."
Perhaps the chilly behavior between the two leads can be blamed on the pure physical hardship both actors were enduring. "I promise you you have no idea how cold it was" said Channing Tatum with a smile. "We were definitely brothers in pain and mystery."
You can get your sword and sandal fix when "The Eagle" opens everywhere this Friday, February 11th.
Alex Dorn is on the twitter