Entering to the bombastic, 2001: A Space Odyssey fanfare of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” in a costume shop astronaut outfit might seem a little much for an actor popping by a late-night talk show. But, for one thing, Armie Hammer is a big goof. And for another, his appearance in support of Ben Wheatley’s new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca represented the first time that host Jimmy Kimmel would be speaking to an actual, in-studio, live celebrity since the pandemic common sense dictated Zoom interviews only. Finally taking his seat after a slo-mo space walk waving to Kimmel’s sparse audience, Hammer took off his plastic helmet to sit about eight feet opposite Kimmel, although the Call Me By Your Name star did leave on the under-helmet head covering and baked potato-looking costume the entire time.
Hammer, who has two movies—Rebecca and Kenneth Branagh’s all-star Agatha Christie adaptation Death On The Nile—in the backed-up COVID movie release pipeline, told Kimmel that he’s been making the most of his forced downtime. Apart from “just buying costumes,” Hammer explained that he’s been helping his friend Ashton (not that Ashton) renovate a run-down desert motel near Joshua Tree, because what else are you going to do. “The world’s falling apart,” shrugged Hammer, “It’s the apocalypse.” And as everyone knows, desert survival skills are key in the after-times, although Hammer confided that his floor-sander might not be all that useful should coronavirus, Donald Trump, or a coronavirus-infected Donald Trump end civilization as we know it.
Luckily, Hammer’s got Motor Mike. In the tradition of celebrity late-night appearances everywhere, Hammer came armed with an anecdote, his about the aforementioned desert denizen and jack-of-all-trades, who makes up the rest of pal Ashton’s work crew. With Hammer gleefully impersonating Motor Mike’s (for ‘tis his name) good old boy accent, the actor relished in the telling of the process by which Motor Mike trained not one but three roadrunners to come at his bellow to the heavens. Apparently, roadrunners like hot Cheetos, and Motor Mike. So guests of the under-new-ownership desert oasis that is the Ramsey 29 Palms motor lodge should pack accordingly. Swapping coasts, Hammer also shared the story of when a Broadway performance in front of Shakespearean legend Branagh saw him lying his actor’s ass off by claiming to be able to do a flawless English accent. Freaking out his dialect coach with a rush order for a Branagh-fooling accent might have meant a few stressful days, but it apparently worked, as Hammer will, indeed, be impeccably British in both films.
Look for Armie Hammer as George Fortescue Maximilian “Maxim” de Winter (alongside Lily James as his nameless new bride and Kristin Scott Thomas as perpetually terrifying housekeeper Mrs. Danvers) when Rebecca hits Netflix on October 21.