When it comes to movies, I'm normally on top of my game. What can I say, I just love 'em. However, upon viewing the trailer for the upcoming Eddie The Eagle for the first time, I was stunned to later find out that the titular character was played by Taron Egerton, the same actor who was the suave lead in Kingsman: The Secret Service. For the 26-year-old Welsh actor, it's even more incredible the range he's shown in only his second film as lead actor.
When Egerton was picked to play the lead in Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman, some people sort of scratched their heads and asked, "Who?" After all, Egerton's credits pre Kingsman were limited to just a couple of films and brief appearances on British television. He was chosen for Kingsman from among a final three that included Jack O'Connell and John Boyega, the latter of who would be cast as Finn in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Vaughn chose Egerton because he "had a likability about him which was so unique." That statement to me is true and clearly comes across in both Kingsman and his most recent film Eddie The Eagle.
The Underdog — Eddie The Eagle
In Eddie The Eagle, Egerton stars as Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, a real-life British skier who, in 1988, became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping. Egerton portrays Eddie as an endearing Olympic nut who simply won't take no for an answer and stands up to many people, including Hugh Jackman's character in the film, an alcoholic American former skier. Sure, we've seen these kinds of films before. Maybe not exactly Olympic ski jumping (the 1993 film Cool Runnings was bobsledding), but the point is these films tend to follow a formula, and really it's about how well the execution and acting is. Well, I'm happy to report that Eddie The Eagle passes the tests with flying colors.
When I was doing my research for this article, I came upon an interview with Egerton, in which he spoke of his attraction to characters that are seen as underdogs. When you look at Egerton's last two roles, Eggsy in Kingsman was a rough and tumble underdog from the lower class, and Eddie Edwards is also a working class longshot. The two characters couldn't be anymore different in terms of personality, but it's Egerton's acting abilities that allow us to sympathize with his antihero characters.
The Future Lead — 'Robin Hood'
It's no surprise to me then, that Egerton has once again been cast as a title character, this time in the upcoming 2017 reboot of Robin Hood: Origins. Robin Hood, as we know, is another underdog kind of character who steals from the rich to give to the poor. It's an inspired bit of casting, and one that I think will serve both the film and Egerton well. He also returns in 2017 as Eggsy in Kingsman 2.
For his role in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Egerton has been nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award, and it's easy to see why. With another solid performance under his belt for Eddie The Eagle, the sky is definitely the limit for Egerton.
Don't be surprised if you hear his name being discussed as a possible James Bond candidate sometime in the near future. He certainly boasts all the intangibles to bring 007 to life.
Eddie The Eagle will be released by 20th Century Fox on February 26, 2016.