filming at plc

Tamara Sweetman, drama teacher at Pymble Ladies College brought me in to assist a group of students with a film project.  The six students from years 9, 10 and 11 were entering a film competition and I spent two days helping them prepare for the shoot.  On day one we brainstormed ideas around the competition brief and each student devised their own film concepts around our findings.  The students pitched their ideas to the group and then voted for the idea they liked most.  Over the next week they wrote the script before I returned for day two.  We then story boarded the film and created a shot list and a multitude of props that were required for the shoot.  I was told the shoot went well and they're presently editing the film.  Good luck in the competition girls!
I can't wait to see the end result.

nsc 2011

I took off to Victoria this week to attend the National Screenwriters' Conference.  Three days of presentations and discussions with successful Australian and international screenwriters.

Shane Brennan is an Australian screenwriter and producer who's experienced a meteoric rise to the top in the cutthroat world of American television drama. Shane is Executive Producer of NCIS, and Creator and Executive Producer of NCIS: Los Angeles, currently the number one and two scripted series on American television, achieving viewer numbers that the U.S media has hailed as 'gravity defying'.

Nicholas Meyer is a U.S screenwriter, director and producer. He is best known for his Oscar nominated screenplay The Seven-Per-Cent-Solution, based on his best selling novel of the same name. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his teleplay, The Night That Panicked America. In recent years Meyer has written the screenplay for The Human Stain and has also teamed with Martin Scorsese to adapt Edmund Morris' biography of Theodore Roosevelt, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. He is credited for revitalizing the Star Trek franchise and has published The View from the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood.

Jimmy McGovern is a U.K. television writing legend. Cracker, The Lakes, Hillsborough, Dockers, Priest, The Street - explore different genres, themes and big ideas, but unifying them all, is a specific regional voice rich with the flavours, characters and stories of the north of England working-class. Using The Street as a case study we talk to Jimmy about what informs his choices of subject matter, how he creates characters, themes and structure, and how the culturally specific can find a universal audience. Jimmy's Liverpudlian humour, honesty and generosity are sure to delight, inform and inspire.

With many others speakers, a tribute to the amazing life and work of David Williamson and a dinner among the fig trees, it was a spectacular weekend.  I met Greg MacLean, director of Wolf Creek, and discussed one of my film projects.  Greg inspired me to take the reigns and write and direct the project myself - watch this space!

square dvd

 

'The Square' - available on dvd.
'Some things can't be buried.'
"The Edgerton brother's thriller will have you on the edge of your seat." - OK! Magazine.
"Not since Fight Club has a thriller thrilled like The Square." - Movie Juice.
"The brothers Coen just got stiff competition Aussie-style." - City Search.
Official website.

national screenwriters' conference

I've just spent the last three days in the Barossa Valley at the National Screenwriters' Conference - fantastic. This is the first time I've thrown myself into the writers' arena and it was well worth it.  I learnt a great deal about the art and met some industry greats: Mike Bullen - Cold Feet and Life Begins creator and writer; Jan Sardi - writer on Shine and The Notebook; Andrew Knight - After the Deluge creator/writer and writer on Sea Change; Underbelly's writer/producer Greg Haddrick and writer Felicity Packard; comedian and Whatever Happened To That Guy? creator/writer Peter Moon, along with many more.

I had a mentoring session with experienced writer, John Reeves.  One of the above read my script (I've created a drama series and taken it to the point of writing the pilot) and very generously gave me constructive feedback.  Also, my script is presently being read by an executive of one of the major TV stations.  Who knows what will come of it but it wouldn't have happened if I'd not attended.  This is a must for any budding writers!

For more information contact AWG.

amanecer

Last Saturday I spent a few hours in the women's toilet at the Uni of NSW filming a small role in short film Amanecer (Daybreak).  I was introduced to writer/director Alvaro D. Ruiz by Matias Stephens who I travelled to Bourke with earlier this year: Matias plays the lead role.  Alvaro has written a beautiful short story that will resonate with many of the immigrants who have come to Australia in search of a better life.  My role is a small one: a crooked employer who takes advantage of others.  The film's mentor is Claudia Karvan and you can have a look at a teaser and be kept up to date here.  I can't wait to see it!
Image by Marshmallow.  Links by Marshmallow and IMDB.

raiders of the lost ark

Last night I saw my favourite film of all time on the big screen: Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Harrison Ford.  It screened at Greater Union Bondi Junction, organised by Popcorn Taxi.  I have loved this film ever since I saw it as a kid and have now, I'm hesitant to admit, seen it 40 times.

After the film Karen Allen, who played Marion Ravenwood, one of the greatest female roles in action film history, was interviewed live on stage about her experience acting in the first of the Indiana Jones quadrilogy.  Karen reprised her role recently in the long awaited sequel Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.  It was a delight to see her these 27 years after the original 'Raiders' release and you can see the interview here.

Image by Popcorn Taxi.  Links by Popcorn Taxi and IMDB.

square reviews

 'I especially liked Hanna Mangan Lawrence as Lily, Billy's dominated sister and Paul Caesar as the local cop who delights in at last having something to do.'  Review by Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile.  Full Review

'Australia has made some outstanding crime films, such as Chopper and Two Hands. You can now add this to that list.'  Review by Des Partridge - Courier Mail.  Full Review

'The Square is a tense, captivating film, with great acting and plenty of surprises to keep you squirming in your seat. One of the best Aussie crime dramas in recent years.'  Review By Jenni Dawes - Cleo.  Full Review
Image by The Square.

on the square

What an great night!  I arrived with my parents to drinks at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney where they got to meet Joel & Nash Edgerton and Louise Smith, THE SQUARE's producer.  We were driven to the entrance of the State Theatre where we walked the red carpet.  A cast photo with the films producer, director and writer appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald today - a first for me.  A word of warning - do not miss this film!  It's excellent!
Image by SMH.

square dance

sffThe 55th Sydney Film Festival is in full swing and there are a few events we all should diarise.  As you may be aware this year I'm appearing in the feature film The Square written by Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner, produced by Louise Smith and directed by Nash Edgerton.  The Square has its world premier on Sunday 15th June at Sydney's majestic State Theatre at 6.30pm.  Seats are selling well so book yours as soon as you can here.  For those who don't make it to the premier, there is another screening on Monday 16th June at 10am. After Mondays screening (at 12.30pm), director Nash Edgerton begins his promotional 'square dance' with audiences and the media in a FREE live discussion of the film with renowned movie critic, Margaret Pomeranz.  This will take place in the Festival Lounge, below the State Theatre.  Don't miss this first time feature from the Edgerton brothers: it's not to be missed.  View the trailer.
Image by SFF.  Links by
SFF and The Square.

some things can't be buried

thesquareI've again made it into the Sydney Film Festival - two years running now.  Whilst my part this time around is much smaller, I'm pleased to say this years feature, The Square is soon getting a cinema release and it's sure to be a big hit. The Square is written by Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner, based on an original story by Joel and directed by his brother, actor, director and stunt man Nash Edgerton.  The film produced by Louise Smith stars Joel Edgerton, David Roberts, Claire Van Der Boom, Anthony Hayes and Australian acting legend Bill Hunter

garmiles

On Monday, The Square's casting director Kirsty McGregor directed me to the films official site.  There you can have a peek at its trailer: it looks great.

The films WORLD PREMIERE screens at the festival on Sunday 15th June at 6.30pm (for details click here).  To purchase tickets click here.


Images by The Square.  Links by IMDB and The Square.

the diving bell and the butterfly

Today I saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly at the Cremorne Orpheum, one of Sydney's most beautiful cinemas. 

This is a not-to-be-missed feature.  It is an emotionally charged telling of an incredible true story.  With supurb direction and a faultless cast this is the most amazing cinema experience I've had in quite some time.

From one of the most emotionally exhilarating and luminous bestsellers ever written comes the true story of a man who took on adversity beyond all imagining and transformed it into a testament to the irrepressible human urge to love, create and dream.  With his third film, director and artist Julian Schnabel forges a visually stunning, heart-stirring ode to what drives a man to go on when all truly seems lost.  Official website excerpt. 

Don't miss this incredible film!

Image by the Cremorne Orpheum.  Links by IMDB and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

cross life at the piff

piffCross Life recently had its international premiere at the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF).  I did not attend and am yet to find how things went but will be in contact with Claire McCarthy, the films director on her return from overseas.  I have been told there will be a local cinema release of the film within the next 6 months and I'll certainly let you know when that is confirmed.
 Links by IMDB.  Image by PIFF.

i'm wrapped

squareMy time as Sergeant Miles in The Square came to an end today.  I've had six days of shooting over the last few weeks and they were great.  We shot on locations around Sydney: including Brooklyn Police Station, where in 1994 I played Constable Macka Hargreaves in the series Heartland starring Cate Blanchett & Ernie Dingo.

The Square's producer Louise Smith and Nash Edgerton (director) said they'd got what they wanted from me ("more than we'd imagined" said Louise) and I was glad to hear it.  I did see some footage from the film and it looks fantastic.  Both cast and crew were a delight to work with (3 of the crew were also on Heartland all those years ago) and I'm sad my time with them has finished.
Filming continues until the 26th October.
Links by IMDB.

the square shoot begins

nashedgertonThe Square, produced by Louise Smith (Igloo Films) written by Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner and directed by Nash Edgerton begins shooting today Monday 10th september 2007.  Nash Edgerton has directed many great short films (the most recent Spider) and music video clips but today begins the shoot of his feature film directorial debut.  There's some information available about the films cast and crew on IMDB so if you're interested in keeping up with what's going on with the film, visit its entry here.

I begin shooting my character's scenes next Monday 17th and I can hardly wait.  I'll keep you posted with what I can (without giving anything away) over the next two months.
Links and image by IMDB.

quiet achiever

georgemillerLast night I had the pleasure of seeing Oscar winner George Miller interviewed at AFTRS (Australian Film, Television and Radio School) as a part of the Masterclass series, a series of interviews with successful industry folk.  He spoke of his introduction to the industry being a fluke: he was studying medicine at the University of New South Wales and would walk home passed the old NIDA complex where he began talking with the student actors.  He started seeing their plays and fell in love with story telling.  He directed a short film about violence in cinema and then went about creating Mad Max which was a global success.

He spoke of the need for 'dialogue' between the skills in the industry; a need for actors, writers, directors, producers and technicians to mix (he recalled hearing a conversation many years ago when someone recommended a young actress to a director. It was the launch of Nicole Kidman's career); a need for cross-training - writers and directors to attend acting workshops to understand the actors craft so they can best write for and direct them.

George Miller is a mild, mannered gentleman who is driven and passionate about his industry and craft and as one of Australia's most successful screen directors, it was a true gift to hear him speak.
Links and image by IMDB.

the square

thesquareLast Thursday I went to McGregor Casting to screen test for a role in a new feature film The Square, written by successful Aussie actor, Joel Edgerton and directed by his brother Nash: director, actor and stunt man.  I met Joel at the test and we played with the scenes I'd prepared.  I thought it went well (Joel's feedback was positive "I love what you're doing") and as usual I left putting it all behind me.

I must have done something right as I was recalled to meet with Nash, the director.  On Tuesday I returned where I was greeted by Louise Smith, The Square's producer.  Louise explained that she had been brought on to produce the post production on Crosslife.  She said she "loved" my work in the film.  I have to say with all the effort we put into Crosslife, this sort of thing is a pleasure to hear.  I met Nash and David Roberts (the film's lead) and we discussed the scene, then I acted it once.  Nash asked me to speed it up a bit and I did.  I could hear Louise laugh a little at my character and at the end of it Nash said, "That's great.  I think you're great.  Do you want to do it?"  I paused for a moment and then it dawned on me as to what he was saying.  "Yeah", I replied as articulate as ever.  "Great," he said, "It's yours."  He then explained he'd not recalled anyone else, he'd just wanted to see me along side David to see how we'd share the screen.  It feels great to get a film role (especially at the screen test) and especially in such great company: director Nash Edgerton, actor Joel Edgerton, producer Louise Smith.  Shooting begins in September.  AWESOME!
Links and images by IMDB.

satisfaction

satisfactionIn May I took part in a live reading of a new film Satisfaction (then called I Can't Get No) written by Jonathan Worsley (pictured wearing black and I'm table centre).  The reading took place at NIDA and was read by a mix of professional actors and present NIDA students.  Jonathan, basing his film on his experiences when working with Baz Lurhmann has created a flamboyant story about perfume and musicals.  Lead singer of Icehouse, Iva Davies attended the read as he has recorded a song for the film.

ican'tgetnoHaving heard it read live Jonathan has spent time rewriting his epic story and last Friday night we had another read in front of an audience.  Jonathan's new draft is excellent: tighter and as funny as could be.  Unfortunately I'm not old enough to play the role I was reading, Liam, but it was great to be a part of something grand in the making.  For info on project Satisfaction go to the website or follow Jonathan's journey on the I Can't get No blog.

crosslife screening success

margaretpomeranzWhat a night!  It began at the 3 Wise Monkeys pub (just down from Sydney's George Street cinemas) where I met renowned film critic and co-host of ABC's At The Movies, Margaret Pomeranz (pictured).  I didn't get the chance to talk to her after the film to see what she thought but the film was received phenomenally well by the audience with applause beginning as soon as the end-credits rolled.  I found it emotional to watch (the film itself is emotional) but to finally see on the big screen the result of all the hard work we put into it two years ago - very rewarding.  After the film, cast & crew shared their Crosslife experiences with the audience.  I was interviewed by a Sydney Film Festival news team - very different being in front of a camera without a character to hide behind but a pleasure all the same.  I was surrounded by friends and colleagues and with my wife prouder than ever, a night I'll never forget.

Fingers crossed a distributor will take the film on board and everyone can get to see what we've done. 

Special congratulations to Claire McCarthy, Crosslife's director, on her feature film debut.  I know we'll be seeing more of her work - I just hope I get the chance to work with her again.
See the trailer.

crosslife

crosslifeIn 2005 I worked in a low budget feature film that I'm very glad to say has been accepted into the Sydney Film Festival and will be screening at Sydney's George Street Cinema at 6.25pm on Thursday 21st June.

For information and tickets see Sydney Film Festival.

Crosslife slipstreams the lives of ten people over four days at Christmas time in Sydney's Kings Cross.

Crosslife interconnects an affluent 30 something couple Zana and David who are desperate to conceive a child; a fragile teenage boy Donald who embarks on a boozy rampage through Kings Cross with his best mate Kane, a painfully lonely doctor Rachel and her estranged relationship with her son, an aspiring singer Trace who escapes the banality of the suburbs for the shimmering promises of Kings Cross, a desperate couple Joe and Mary who live in a car at the back of Woolloomooloo in anticipation of their first baby and a suburban father Bill who relives a painful family legacy by travelling to Kings Cross to deliver a special 'birthday present' to his teenage son.
See the trailer.