gio 2

Yesterday I spent the day with actor Helen O'Connor shooting a second GIO TV Commercial.  The first GIO ad filmed in February was successful enough for client GIO, director Simon MacRae and producer Alex Mooney to cast Helen and I in a follow-up advertisement.  Once again I play the husband with a wife just too smart for me to argue with (art imitating life?).  This time we tackle car insurance as my wife drives off in my newly purchased sports car.  Again, a great day spent with group of talented people who obviously love the work they do.

Image by Orange Whip Films.

redemption

In 2005 I wrote and directed a production, Redemption: Through the eyes of Shakespeare.  It was performed in a small community hall in the hills district of Sydney with a cast of 20 students aged 13 to 17.  I'm pleased to say I am getting a second stab at directing my own work, this time at the National Institute of Dramatic Art.  21 students of NIDA's Drama Studio will rehearse on Sundays during October and November for an early December performance.  This is a project close to my own heart...

'On 11 September 2001,  19 Islamist terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States killing 2,974 innocent people.

On 12 October 2002, various members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group detonated 3 bombs in a Balinese tourist district killing 202 innocent people and injuring a further 209 people.

Redemption: Through the eyes of Shakespeare was my response.'

Note: As I finished the first draft of Redemption: Through the eyes of Shakespeare, on 7 July 2005 British Islamist extremists detonated a series of coordinated bomb blasts that hit London's public transport system killing 52 innocent people and injuring a further 700 people.

As we rehearsed the original production of Redemption: Through the eyes of Shakespeare, on 1 October 2005, bombs exploded at two sites in south Bali killing twenty innocent people and injuring a further 129 people.

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.

back of bourke

Today I returned home from Brewarrina and Bourke (some 800 kilometres north-west of Sydney) where, through NIDA's Open Program, I spent five days running drama workshops with secondary students.  Brewarrina Public School has just over 200 students, Bourke Public Primary some 300 students and Bourke High School approximately 200 (between 55-97% identify as being Aboriginal).  Some students had never participated in drama workshops before but in the end we had all students experiencing what it's like to perform in front of a live audience.
My companion, Matias Stevens, a Sydney based actor managed by BLA Management like myself, worked with primary school students and also had students up in front of an audience, most for their first time.  I must say Matias was a delight to travel with (we laughed so hard) and has a great ability to get fantastic results due to his energy and enthusiasm.  It was a wonderful week that I hope will be the first of many.

flood cover

GIO

GIO

In February I shot a television commercial for GIO with directors Kenn & Simon MacRae, brothers from Orange Whip Films (previous article).  It appears continuously on television and still shots appear in magazines and newspapers.  It seems strange that after all these years in the industry, I am getting recognised more now than ever as "the GIO man".  NIDA staff have commented, my students have all seen it and family and friends keep talking about it.  The response is always that the ad's a good one and often that it makes people laugh - nice to hear.

Image by GIO.

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.

the macrae brothers

Last year I witnessed the amazing creative relationship of two brothers, Joel & Nash Edgerton when I worked on their first feature film, The Square (previous articles 1, 2 & 3).  Today I got to witness a similar relationship in Kenn & Simon MacRae as we worked together inside an enormous Fox Studios sound stage on a TVC for a large insurance company.  The MacRaes uniquely write and direct their projects together and they are indeed 'A Winning Combination' as they say on their website.

macraesTeaming with producer Alex Mooney, they have a list of successful works including winning Project Greenlight which earned them $1 Million to make their first feature film, The View from Greenhaven, due for release this year.

I also got to work with actor Helen O'Connor who I've seen many times at castings and on screen but never actually met.  It was great spending the day with her and we were both quite chuffed when in the lunch queue producer Alex Mooney said "You guys are awesome.  It looks great."  You'll all see for yourself on television soon, no doubt.

To find out more about the team we are going to hear a lot more about, go to their website Orange Whip Films and be sure to look at some of their clips: fantastic.

Links by Orange Whip Films & IMDB.  Image by Orange Whip Films

summer school

teachingdramaI've spent the last five weeks in locations over Sydney facilitating a number of workshops with participants aged 9 to adult.  I ran two separate workshops called Acting on Screen for participants age 12-16 years, two Drama School courses where partcipants aged 9-11 and 12-15 gained some understanding of what it's like to train as a professional actor and also steered a number of 12-16 year olds through the auditioning process in a two day Auditions and Screen Tests intensive.

Two days ago I finished running auditions for two one-year-long courses I will facilitate part of throughout 2008: Young Film Makers and Drama Studio.

Two weeks ago I also facilitated a two day Teaching Drama course for Primary School Teachers.  Eight teachers from all over Australia came to Sydney to participate and the results were great.

Following is some of the feedback I received from these courses.

.........................................................................................................................................

Teaching Drama for Primary School Teachers (2 Days)

  • Fantastic - I will be a much better teacher - especially when I deliver drama lessons.  Paul's sessions were clear, explicit and fun.  I wanted to return on the second day!  Will tell my peers!!!  Debbie
  • Excellent, very helpful for practical exercises to do with all ages within primary.  Paul was excellent, encouraging, has an obvious passion for drama which came across in his enthusiasm & great teaching ideas.  Tracey
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the course and have gained confidence and a repertoire of resources for teaching drama.  Jeanelle
  • Absolutely awesome.  Fantastic ideas to run with in the classroom.  Really got the creative juices flowing!  Paul was excellent!  Great to work with.  Understanding. Very knowledgeable!  Sharon
  • A fantastic opportunity to learn new relevant ideas.  Paul was well prepared, relevant, supportive and positive - a great facilitator.  Leanne
  • I found the course great, really rewarding and I feel I can go away with a repertoire of ideas and use them effectively.  Craig
  •  Fantastic! Paul was wonderful, researched, experienced, open to answering all our questions, supportive and patient.  Sally

Youth Drama 12 - 15 years

  • Awesome! Couldn't have been better!  (Paul was) Friendly, really helpful and a great tutor.  He really knows what he's talking about.  Colin
  • It was great and very rewarding.  It gave me new friends, new experiences and new skills.  Paul is a great teacher, he knows how to treat and teach us.  He definitely knows his stuff. Justin
  • Heaps of fun!  Learnt a lot of different things that I didn't know about before.  Paul's a really good teacher.  Anita
  • Awesome and great fun!  Paul was great!  Adam
  • I had a great time and enjoyed working with Paul & all the people in our group who were all really inspiring.  Paul was awesome.  I was given really good direction & advice & feel I have improved as an actor.  Ainsley
  • I thought this course was a lot of fun and I met a lot of nice new people.  Paul was a great teacher.  He was really enthusiastic and supportive and gave good constructive criticism.  Ruby

the marquise d'o

In 1992 I had the pleasure of being directed by Simon Eine in my NIDA graduation play Image d' Moliere.  Simon is an 'Honarary Associate' (having 44 years of service as an actor and director) of the Comedie Francaise, France's oldest theatre company established in 1680.  Recently on my travels in Paris I caught up with Simon and had the great privilege of seeing him in La Marquise d'O.  At an age when most have been retired from their profession for ten years, Simon is still a powerhouse on the stage, with a voice and the physique of someone half his age.

La Marquise d'O (based on Heinrich von Kleist's book) is the story of a Marquise trying to deal with a pregnancy she can't explain.  It is a harsh story but the most beautifully told story I've ever seen on stage.  I could not understand a word of the french drama but was mesmerised from start to finish.  I've not seen such disciplined performances anywhere in the world; the actors' physicality was intense and their hearts immense as they jumped from addressing the audience directly in the telling of this amazing story, and slipping back into the action as they played their role in the drama.

themarquised'oOne scene I found particularly emotional as tears formed in mine own eye: Simon as the Colonel and father of the Marquise has just found out how his daughter has become pregnant and appearing up stage, he makes his way toward the audience with his face in a handkerchief, all the while releasing the most howling wails of sorrow.  The Colonel and the Marquise embrace ending with the Colonel sitting, with his adult child on his lap and stroking her hair as though she'd returned to her youth (pictured). 

I consider myself privileged to have experienced this incredible production: the story amazing, the telling sensational, the cast incredible.  Thanks for the honour Simon.

La Marquise d'O
Directed by Lukas Hemleb
Cast: Lucas Anglarès, Francine Bergé, Simon Eine, Cécile Garcia-Fogel, Brontis Jodorowsky with pianist Stéphanos Thomopoulos.

something wicked this way comes

Recently in London I saw Alex, a one man show featuring Robert Bathurst from Cold Feet; Dealers Choice, a hilarious comedy on addiction to gambling and the most amazing production of Macbeth I've ever seen (at the West End's Gielgud Theatre).

Patrick Stewart starred as Macbeth, Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth and they were joined by an incredible cast.  Patrick makes playing Shakespeare look easy, he seems to do very little but so so much at the same time: he has an enormous presence on stage.  The production is staged with so much clarity and emotional punch: the set is a cross between a bleak royal kitchen and a hospital; the witches make sense in a modern time, Stalin's Russia, as they appear a cross between maids and nurses.

The ending of director Rupert Goold's first half is a spine chilling climax taking you to the edge of your seat and literally standing the hair on the back of your neck: the banquet at which Banquo appears as a ghost is staged through Macbeth's eyes, so we actually see the blood-gouted horror.  After interval, the banquet is seen again through the eyes of the other guests: Macbeth appears to be screaming at thin air.

Images from this amazing production linger in my mind: clearly the best Shakespeare I've ever seen.  If only this wickedness would come this way, so Australian audiences could see it.

Links by IMDB.  Image by Chichester Festival Theatre.

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.