And nothing says you have important things to do like Hulk Hogan Casio. And since then I have used them as a way to communicate things about characters that I have interpreted. In some cases, they have become their own characters in the movies. But it wasn’t until I made this movie First man, when I started to see them differently, because when I was visiting NASA, the term “built like a Swiss watch” was often used in relation to their spaceships. It felt like it was the gold standard for mechanical art and design. And I began to appreciate them in a way that I had never done before.
In the end you said to yourself: “What the hell does that mean?”
Yes, and then I think I even found out that John Glenn carried a Tag stopwatch on one of the Mercury missions because I didn’t trust any other brand. He was there in case all else failed. So he started to make me see beyond the surface level.
Did that make you go into the den of different complications and things like that?
I don’t think it’s gotten to that point. However, I am interested, so if there is anything you want to direct me, I am open.
Keep it simple.
I generally go for the simple.
What kind of Tag watches did you like the most and why?
The Monaco it’s kind of hard to … ignore. It is so unique. I remember seeing him at Le Mans and feeling that he is obviously very special. But I think that the Carrera, for me, is simply what I answer.
And you also really like vintage watches. What is it about vintage that attracts you?
I think the best thing is that you could put it in any situation and at any time in the last century and it would probably still be great. So, for me, I’d rather have something you can wear in any situation and not having to think about it too much.
You mentioned that sometimes clocks can define or say something about a character in a movie. In the movie The gray man that you are going to release, all the characters wear Tag Heuer. What is it about those watches that is suitable for those characters?
Well, the character has to be able to get into a lot of different kinds of situations and take on different characters and blend in and he’s also involved in a lot of extreme action moments. So the watch had to be able to work in all those scenarios different and also be able to be tough enough to credibly withstand all the extreme situations it was in. I mean, we took a big beating and it kept going.
That’s great. And Tag Heuer has a nice story of portraying different characters. Steve McQueen chose the Monaco at Le Mans because it is the brand that a real life driver would have worn.
Yes, and in Drive, it occurred to me that the character would not trust the clock of any combustion car that he used. So He would fix his watch behind the wheel. And I wanted it to be really simple and readable so that it was not only clear to the camera, but also to the character, exactly how old it was.
And partly because of Drive, Tag refers to you as Steve McQueen’s heir. What do you think when you hear that?
I don’t know much about Steve McQueen. I mean, I know a little about his work. And obviously I know his connection to racing, so I see why he fit the bill perfectly. I also think there is something about watches that are … whatever history they come with, they are always present. They are always in the moment. And I think that’s something that McQueen possessed as an actor. He was a very actor at the time.
Well, let’s put the clocks aside for a second. You live with great discretion. I wonder how the last year and a half has been for you in the pandemic. Have you taken up a hobby? Are you making sourdough or something?
No, there is no sourdough. Our children are young, so it was a hard time for them to be separated from other children and not be able to see family and such. So we did what we could to entertain them. I think Eva and I performed more in our quarantine than in our entire careers.
Very dramatic bedtime stories with voices and all that?
Yes, we spend a lot of time doing that.
* This article was originally published at GQ USA
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