Former Musketeers star Luke Pasqualino plays SAS hardman Elvis Harte, the man who broke Georgie's (Michelle Keegan) heart. Here, he talks about that and much more...
What's On TV went on set to chat with former star of The Musketeers Luke Pasqualino, so we could find out about the top SAS solider, how he trained for the role and why his character is called Elvis...
Your Our Girl character Elvis Harte will be seen heading a Special Forces team dealing with a major incident in Kenya. What’s he like? “He’s very alpha male. He’s a Special Forces commander in the SAS, leading three others - Spunky, Spanner and Jackson. Being in the SAS you’re slightly more hardened than your average soldier so to speak. There’s definitely a certain air he carries around with him because he knows how good he is…”
What’s his relationship like with Georgie? “His relationship with Georgie is good at start of the show, as they’re just madly and head-over-heels in love with each other and obviously that relationship develops into something that is very tough for both of them.
"They were the best of friends, they were engaged and had the most amazing time together, but after what happens at the start of the series at the wedding, it seems to be all over. Then she goes over to Kenya with the army and they come into each other’s lives again…”
So does what happens with Georgie knock him back a little? “I think he’s still very alpha male, but he’s definitely got a weakness and that’s Georgie, she’s definitely his weakness for sure…”
How do Elvis and the other male troops see Georgie? “You do see scenes where the other guys are making comments about how beautiful she is and how sexy they find her. But Georgie’s such a strong character that she’s very quick to shut them down and you know immediately she’s not one to be messed around with!”
Had you met Michelle Keegan before filming? “I’d met her very briefly at the National Television Awards a couple of years ago, but Michelle and I were backwards and forwards sending emails to each other and talking about scripts before I arrived on set. She’s awesome, a great person to work with, she’s fun.”
You did a boot camp to prepare. Was it much different from the boot camp for Musketeers? “Yes, as it was very contemporary stuff, so a lot of weapons handling, learning how to storm doorways and so on. It was the heat we battled more than anything, it was so hot out in South Africa and moving around in full kit does take it out of you.
"We did four days. The military advisors we had were great and without them the show wouldn’t really be what it is. They make sure everything feels true and real.”
Had you used guns before? “Yes, I had done, there have been a few projects I’ve been on in the past when I’ve had the chance to use guns and it’s brilliant. You feel like a lad!”
How did this kind of combat compare to what happened on The Musketeers? “It’s just different, because there are gunshots firing off all the time here whereas The Musketeers is swords and lots of hand-to-hand stuff. You don’t really see much hand to hand fighting in this, everything is done with a firearm of some sort, so it was just very different. It wasn’t easier or harder, just different. I really enjoyed both of them equally.”
Sounds like Elvis isn’t quite as heroic as D’Artagnan? “He’s definitely a hero. History would dictate D’Artagnan is more heroic because he’s D’Artagnan! But Elvis is definitely a hero for sure, he’s definitely got that thing about him where the end-goal and the objective is all he really focuses on…”
Was Our Girl more physically demanding than The Musketeers? “I wouldn’t say that no... Musketeers we’d have to rehearse up to two weeks in advance, just to try to get ourselves up to speed with the sword-fighting. The set pieces were a lot bigger and when you’ve got swords and five or six different stunt artists in one co-ordinated sword fight it does become difficult.”
Funny he’s called Elvis, isn’t it? “I did quite like it actually, I thought it might have been a bit of a joke when my agent called me and said he was called Elvis. My character was apparently based on a real life guy and his surname was Priestly, so when he was in the army his nickname was Elvis and they just carried it on, so they just gave me that name. I don’t think it’s ever mentioned it’s a nickname.”
Did you get to meet the real person he was based on? “I didn’t actually, no. I’d have absolutely loved to but it was a bit of a tough turnaround for me because I was away in Sri Lanka, and then I came straight to Cape Town, really, so I couldn’t have much time to meet him in the UK.”
What were you filming out in Sri Lanka? “It’s a movie called Solar Eclipse, comes out next year, it’s about the conspiracy theories and two years leading up to Gandhi’s assassination.”
Which scenes in Our Girl were the most challenging? “None of them have been particularly easy. For me some of the more difficult ones were when we were battling the elements, doing scenes outside on a balcony when we were meant to be in hot sunny Kenya yet there was wind and rain coming down.”
What was it like filming in South Africa? “Amazing! It was great fun, we were there for nearly two months so we did get to explore. It was summer there as well and we had amazing weather, so whenever we had any time off we’d go out for a walk around Cape Town, climbing Lion’s Head or Table Mountain, and we went over to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held captive.
"Cape Town is such a beautiful city, and South Africa is such a beautiful part of the world you’re rarely short of things to do, things to look at or places to go out and eat. I really enjoyed it.”
What sort of African wildlife did you see while you were filming? “The first couple of weeks we were filming in a big field they’d converted into an army camp and in the distance you could just see wildebeest sweeping along… we did a couple of helicopter shots and it was just ostriches and cows everywhere, it was great and to see it from the air. I felt like David Attenborough, it was really fantastic.”
Our Girl continues on BBC1 next Wednesday at 9pm
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