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Game of Thrones star Kit Harington is fast-becoming a household name on both the small and silver screens. But, you might not recognise him in his latest film, Testament of Youth - based on Vera Brittain's best-selling First World War memoirs - which Jaeger is proud to be partnering with this month. Gone are those trademark curly locks and rugged beard, and in their place a close shave and clean-cut hairstyle (don't worry Jon Snow fans, it's only a wig). This new look is all thanks to his latest character Roland Leighton: the young, charming and self-assured fiancé of Vera Brittain. Here, the 27-year-old British actor talks about swapping fantasy for reality, getting into character and his beautiful new co-star. Oh, and if brilliant hair and acting weren't enough, Mr Harington is also into poetry...

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Why Testament of Youth?

I actually read the book at school, but have always been really interested in the First World War. So, as soon as I read the script I was hooked - especially with the war poetry - and met with James Kent and Rosie Alison to read for the part.

Who is Roland?

He's ultra-confident, charming and mysterious. And, most importantly, he challenges Vera. He is also obsessed with the idea of heroism and going to war, so he struggles when he realises it is not what he expected. It changes him, and he tries to harden himself to the war and distance himself from Vera, but finds that very difficult to do. Unfortunately, we only know Roland from Vera's story and his poetry, so there was no way of really knowing him beyond this.

That must have been tricky when getting into character?

Yes! Luckily, I had the letters that Vera and Roland sent to each other so I started by reading those so that I could really get to know them and hear their voices. Initially, they wrote to each other every three days. As the war progressed, however, Roland becomes increasingly more silent. I also looked through some photographs of Roland and found that, as it happens, I look very similar!

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Tell us a little bit about your leading lady, Alicia Vikander...

I really admire her previous work, so when I found out she was going to play Vera I was even more drawn to this project. She's an incredibly sensitive yet strong-willed woman, so brilliantly captures the combination of hardness and vulnerability that Vera had.

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What was it like swapping fantasy for reality?

I have spent a lot of time in the fantasy world filming Game of Thrones, so (for the first time) I have loved playing a character that really existed. It is quite a profound thing to play someone real, and I really wanted to do Roland justice. Stylistically they're both very different as well, although they both have aspects of horror about them. Game of Thrones is very CGI heavy whereas I found I had a lot more freedom as an actor filming Testament of Youth.

 

Testament of Youth is out in cinemas now. Watch the trailer here

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