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Rhys Ifans Reveals How He Became Rasputin For The King's Man - Exclusive

"The King's Man" tells the origin of the Kingsman spy organization. If you were wondering when exactly the Kingsman become the Kingsman, the answer is that it happens during World War I. In addition to introducing some of the fictional figures like founder Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), who act as founders of the Kingsman, there's also an awful lot of real life figures, too.

Queen Victoria, Mata Hari, King George, King Kaiser Wilhelm, Tsar Nicholas, and even Vladimir Lenin all play a role in "The King's Man" to facilitate an historical approximation of the actual first World War. However, this is a "Kingsman" movie, so things go off the rails in unexpected ways. For example, World War I was kicked off by more than just the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. In actuality, the war was begun at the behest of a disgruntled Scotsman who wants to create a war across Europe to permanently topple the British Empire.

One real life individual who helps in starting the war in "The King's Man" version of the timeline is none other than Rasputin, played by Rhys Ifans. Looper sat down with Ifans recently to find out how he got into the mindset of a man who simultaneously posed as the Messiah while also being considered by many as the anti-Christ.

The history of Rasputin and a little help from Boney M.

If you were feeling a little cheeky, you might joke that the best trick to playing Rasputin involves listening to the Boney M. song "Rasputin." There's even an official "The King's Man" ad on YouTube which uses clips of Rasputin from the film in congress with that very song in the background. Rhys Ifans insists that it's "just a bit more" about historical research which got him to a place where he could inhabit Rasputin.

"The extraordinary thing with Rasputin is him as a figure, and a character, lends himself to a franchise like this because Rasputin himself was larger than life, to say the least, and a fantastical figure shrouded in mystery and myth, and a figure who loomed large over Europe then and now to some degree," says Ifans. "He looked so completely different to any of the other players responsible for and leading up to the first World War. All the men in Europe seemingly had the same haircut, apart from Rasputin, who looked like he was running some twisted satanic wellness clinic in Russia. So, the look is so specific. Rasputin himself was very much aware of the horror he instilled in the population."

Ifans also talked about the ways in which facts about Rasputin filtered into the script for the film. "He ate like a pig, like an animal," says Ifans. "Crowds would gather to watch him eat. So, all these things you see in the film, which are magnified and bent and twisted, they're all rooted in real kind of facts about this man. It's the writer's job to serve history. My job is to serve the writer."

"The King's Man" is now playing in theaters.