Robert Sheehan, the star of steampunk epic Mortal Engines, has said it is natural to politicise films in a contemporary cultural climate where people are “shrouded in uncertainty”.
The Irish actor plays the lead in the new sci-fi story from the creators of Lord Of The Rings, which depicts a world divided by war, class hierarchy, and a relentless quest for resources.
Sheehan, speaking at the London premiere of the film, declined to define its political message, although he said the dystopian setting held a “warped mirror” to the modern world.
He added: “Thankfully my job was to act in this movie and not to retrospectively politicise, intellectualise it. I’m always wary of trying to turn it into a political statement.
“But I think politics is very at the forefront of everybody’s minds, everybody is quite shrouded in uncertainty.”
The film centres on a mobile London, a city which is driven across a post-apocalyptic landscape devouring smaller towns and consuming the planet’s resources to maintain the moving metropolis.
Characters fight to overturn the world order, which rests on a constant battle for survival at the expenses of the planet and its people.
Sheehan has said that the film is naturally open to being politicised, as are other works in the modern political landscape.
He said: “It’s not unnatural for people, especially inquisitive people, to say ‘what does this mean politically? How can this progress us onto a nicer stage?’ I don’t think that’s an unnatural thing to do.”
Sheehan plays Tom Natsworthy, a historian who finds himself allied to a resistance movement in the fantasy world, in the film directed by long-time Peter Jackson collaborator Christian Rivers.