The Divergent Series: Insurgent opens in theater this Friday. To prepare yourself check out this interview with Mekhi Phifer who plays Max. Phifer discussed his character and what kind of role he had in the new movie with Hero Complex.
Hero Complex: How much more of Max can the audience expect to see in “Insurgent”?
Mekhi Phifer: In [“Divergent,”] you sort of saw Max giving a lot of orders and monologues and little speeches and things like that. In this one you’ll see him have more dialogue and interaction with some of the other characters, which was a lot more fun for me.
HC: It’s not until the end of the first film that Max is revealed to be sort of a villain.
MP: You know, the way that I portray him, I don’t think that Max is fully a villain. I think that he really feels like what he’s doing is right. I think he really [believes in]being the leader of the Dauntless and being in control, almost like a general in an army. I don’t think that anything he is doing is out of maliciousness, whereas I think Eric’s character is more of a villain in more of a sense of his malicious antics. [Eric] gets more pleasure from other people’s pain. I really feel like Max is not really doing that. I think he just feels like he has a mission and his mission is to keep control of the society because that’s the only way, in his mind, that it will thrive. I think he really sees the divergents as a threat to society
HC: Eric does seem to carry the mission to an extreme.
MP: Right, [Eric] carries it further than it needs to go. [He’s] just shooting people just to do it, and that’s not really part of the plan, even though Eric is kind of a necessary evil, because he has a lot of passion in his maliciousness.
HC: When you first signed on for “Divergent” were you aware of how much more of a role you would play in the second film?
MP: No, I didn’t know anything, and what’s interesting about it is that with something like this you never really know. When I did [“Divergent”] I didn’t see the next script so I didn’t know what was going to happen. You can only hope that you’ll get an opportunity to take the character somewhere where [you]finally … see his arc and you sort of get to delve into what makes him tick and who he is.
HC: You mention that Max has more scenes this time where he gets to interact with others, and you share a lot of scenes with Jai Courtney. How was working with the rest of the cast?
MP: Jai’s great. Working with everybody was great. Octavia [Spencer], Kate [Winslet], Theo [James] and Shailene, everybody is really good people. I’ve been having a blast working with them personally. In [“Divergent”] I didn’t really get to know anybody because I was kind of more isolated from everyone. I didn’t really interact with the other cast too much in the first one, so this was more of a breath of fresh air. More of what I’m used to as an actor.
HC: What initially drew you to the character Max, or to the “Divergent” series in general?
MP: I think he has a sort of a strength, a general strength. I just felt like he had the leadership strength – the leadership quality – where he’s a firm but fair kind of leader in my mind. [Also] I’ve never been a part of a film series so it was definitely something that I was looking forward to being a part of, this big-budget, futuristic dystopian society. I’ve never really done anything like that to this extent.
For the full interview click HERE