'Emperor' Star Matthew Fox: 'People Were on Eggshells' Around Tommy Lee Jones (Video)

10:14 AM PST 03/07/2013 by Rebecca Ford

The "Lost" star plays a WWII Army officer under the command of Jones' Gen. MacArthur.

In Emperor, Matthew Fox stars as General Bonner Fellers, an Army officer who, after WWII, is tasked with deciding whether Japan’s Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal.

It was a daunting task, which is something Fox, who starred on ABC’s Lost, could relate to, telling The Hollywood Reporter that this film, helmed by Peter Webber, was the first project he felt was really resting on his shoulders. Fox appears in nearly every scene, with his character doing research in 1945 Japan and also being haunted by memories of a love he lost when he was younger in Japan.

FILM REVIEW: Emperor

Says Fox  about leading the film: “I haven’t done that. Even with the television experiences I’ve had, I’ve always been involved in a big ensemble cast and had my moments when somebody else was heading the charge. It was a bit daunting,” he adds. “It was hard work but worth it.”

Fox’s character is under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was leading the charge in helping Japan rebuild after the war. Tommy Lee Jones took on the role of the iconic military leader, creating a colorful character who is an eccentric but determined leader.

Fox, who had not met Jones before the film, says that he had been working on the film for about eight weeks before Jones showed up to film his part. He says that when Jones arrived, the environment on set noticeably changed.

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“The combination of Tommy’s persona, and what he’s done as an actor, combined with the fact that he’s playing MacArthur, one of our most iconic U.S. military figures, you could feel the energy on the set; people were on eggshells,” Fox reveals.

Jones, who is so infamous for his rough-around-the-edges persona that Seth MacFarlane joked about trying to get him to smile at the Oscars, seemed to elicit admiration from the other actors and crew on set.

“I knew it was going to work for us because I think that’s probably the way that all the people who worked around MacArthur in 1945 felt,” Fox adds

Watch THR's interview with Fox above to find out more about his character and the love story that was also part of the film

Emperor opens in theaters March 8.

Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford

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