Three series and two big-screen adaptations later, James Buckley has swapped the youthful comedy of The Inbetweeners for a part in upcoming horror film The Pyramid, where he found getting into character for a more serious part came with its challenges.
“If it’s a comedy, I’ll just turn up and do it,” Buckley tells RadioTimes.com. “If it’s something where you have to really think about what you’re doing and it’s a bit scary and serious, I really have to put myself in that situation and sort of trick my brain into thinking this is actually happening.”
So much so that he actually ended up needing medical attention after a tense scene saw the cast forced to crawl through an enclosed space in their efforts to escape a cursed pyramid.
“I was getting myself all geed up and into the part and I was running for my life. As far as my brain was concerned, I was going to die. So I got myself a bit panicked, scraping my knees on the floor. I didn’t care, I just needed to get out.
“I did get a bit worked up, so I needed to take five minutes and they brought me an oxygen tank to calm me down. I was finding it really difficult to breathe.”
But Buckley admits that in order to fully commit to his character, he really can’t be distracted.
“Because I have to put myself in that place, if I hear a bit of talking from someone on set, I might go a little bit Christian Bale,” he laughs, in a nod to Bale’s 2009 rant at members of the Terminator: Salvation crew (for which the actor has since apologised unreservedly).
“I’m on Christian Bale’s side. I find I’m just not a good enough actor. It’s so easy for me to be put off. If I was Christian Bale and I was trying to get all worked up and geed up and trying to get into that bit and someone was walking along and distracting me, I’d be like, ‘Thanks mate, I really need your help, I’m terrible at my job basically and I need you to help me.’”
So who felt Buckley’s wrath on set of The Pyramid? “No one really. I wouldn’t ever. If I was as powerful as Christian Bale or as famous or as good as him I probably would feel more comfortable with having a go… I just have to go, ‘Come on, let’s have another go.’”
Buckley’s not entirely blameless himself though, adding with a chuckle, “I’m a complete hypocrite because if I’m on set but not on camera I’m joking about making noise. So basically I’m just an arsehole.”
The Pyramid is in cinemas from Friday 5th December