Pearce | Goodonya Guy!
an emily blunt interview
Guy Pearce is best known for his role in Priscilla Queen of
the Desert (Felicia Jollygoodfellow) or the sensation Memento
(Leonard Shelby) or from the icky Time
Machine (Alexander Hartdegen). However, remember also
he was in that manfest extravaganza LA Confidential as
the nerdy Dudley Doright Det. Edmund Exley - um yum!
with all his oozing talent and sharp good looks Guy's transition
into the hearts of American audiences hasn't been as smooth as
say Russell Crowe
. but he's just as talented and his Australian
fans are die-hard folks that are well aware of his delectable
and multiple talents.
latest film is an Australian piece called The
The Hard Word Guy plays Dale the eldest of three brothers.
The boys are a crime committing family. Dale is the strongest
of the three and takes life as it comes yet perpetually has one
eyebrow raised in cunning fore planning. Pearce sports a rubber
nose attachment for the role that actually looks real if you were
unaware of his real GQ chiselings.
film's director and writer has created a fun piece. For me it
just loses a bit in the stitching of character and story- shame
because the cast is brilliant and Guy, in particular, gives a
riveting go of it - as always.
met at a swanky LA hotel to chat a bit so let's have a read shall
Many of the "Australian" films have a bit of a different
attitude towards "bad guys." Is there a different attitude
towards criminals in general there?
G: Australia has a number of attitudes about criminals but I think
there also a mythological fantasy- like say Ned Kelly - that carved
the historical of our country and obviously Australia was built
as a convict colony. So, there's
there's not just a criminal
attitude it's also the underdog mentality. That guy that's suppressed
by the government or England the working class guy that gets the
hard time from the politician. That kind of dilemma - that kind
of struggle is a really common theme in Australia. The down to
Earth working class guy says, "None of you are better then
me. We are all on the same level." And that guy was so poor
at some time in his life that he had to go and knick something
- then there's good reason for that. It's not morally correct
but it's not as cut and dry as it is in this country where "you're
the bad guy and you're the good guy!" He's only bad because
he's had to do this. What Scott's written in this film is very
Australian. Which is a particular sense of humor when you are
caught in a dire situation and yet you can manage to laugh about
it. Here he raises the question are the guys outside the prison
in suits are they not more criminally orientated then the guys
that are stuck in the prison?' Cause they should very much know
[What a lovely voice and diction this edible chap has...]None
of the women are very "nice" or for lack of a better
word, realistic, in The Hard Word.
G: Yeah I agree with you. We had a number of discussions about
that. Look the funny thing is Rachel had to play that character
[Carol] and she's the first one to say, "Are the women being
hard done for in this movie?" She's very bright, very intelligent
and very powerful and she's the first person who's going to say,
"There's women out there like this that exist. I'm going
to play a woman like this." I think what's more difficult
is what happened to Mal's girlfriend or Joe's the Psychologist
that just kind of evaporated. I think that would
be more of an issue for those actresses and for the people watching
So how'd you prepare for Dale in The Hard Word?
I didn't spend time in jail or anything. We filmed at a closed
jail, which helped with the feelings. I have people I know that
have been in prison so to a certain extent I feel I have a sense
of it? Ya know? What that lack of freedom you have and whatever
is going to happen to you. I didn't feel I needed to go to extensively
into that stuff to do what I needed to do. I get so carried away
with what the emotional state of the character is that to do a
whole lot of research is unnecessary for me. It becomes too much
information [laughter] it's not like if I wasn't sure of something
I wouldn't go and investigate- I mean every film you're on a buy
a few books on the topics. I bought a great book on prison life
and was readin' it while we were filming so that in a sense allowed
me to kind of go eeerrrr here is where I am. I have about twenty
books on tigers for my next film for Jean Jacques Annaud, which
we finished about a week ago.
You speak of Two Brothers the tiger film?
Yeah. It's set in Cambodia in 1921 and follows this guy who wants
to have a road built that leads out to the temples to create a
tourist attraction. He's trying to get on side with the king so
he van get the road built. I play an English hunter that is trying
to sell ivory in London - it's not selling- what is selling is
Buddhist statues Buddhist artifacts found in South East Asia.
So I turn up in South East Asia to try and pilfer these temples
and while I'm there one of my men gets attached by a tiger. I
shoot the tiger and end up confiscating his baby- the tiger's.
I get arrested for everything that's happened - stealing this
that and the other. The administrator decides to let me go and
use me to set up some tiger hunts in order to get the king on
side. I am sort of stuck in a situation I don't want to be in-
but the whole film is about these two tigers. I don't know if
you saw The Bear also by Annuad but the work the actor's
did in that film was even less prominent then the work that we'll
do in this film. That film was sort of like watching a documentary
about a bear. This will be sort of like watching a documentary
about tigers. All our silliness in there is assort of a backdrop
to their lives. Really it's a fascinating story. I was in Cambodia
for six months!
Sounds like a great story. Six months in Cambodia - WOW. [Six
months?? A scary vision of no running water and no Starbucks in
the morning makes this city gal actually shudder... focus....
focus...] That country is fascinating to me. Beautiful yet frightening
How was it working with tigers?
[laughter] I'm a big animal lover- a big cat lover! I always had
cats. Weirdly enough about month
before I took on the film one of my cats died. When I got the
script I said, "Aaahhhh, I have to do this for my little
cat." Working with them either becomes a very interesting
prop or another character and one of the tiger I worked with becomes
a very important relationship in the film. They really are the
most incredible creatures in the world. The level of safety was
extreme. Most of the time we are in shots with the tigers we were
on blue screen and the rest of the time we were all- even the
crew in cages. The dare devil part of me kind of wanted something
to happen and I was excited when the little one bit me on the
shoulder or something! [laughter].
[ Bit what dear? Rrrrrrrrrr psft psft! ] What's the origin behind
the weirdish language the brothers speak in The Hard Word?
Ah - teah. Butcher's Talk. Apparently Scott Roberts was aware-though
I'm not sure if it's [Australian] butchers in prison or [Australian]
butchers in general - They have this made up language.
So it wasn't gibberish jargon?
No. There's a structure to it the way the words are flipped around
and a letter is placed at the end. Every now and then you throw
in a word normally. It was a bit tricky to catch on to it. I didn't
have as much of it as the others.
Is there any preference between say doing an American film vs
Ah. It's much more of a form of expression for me to go back home
and play an Australian character and obviously it's far more familiar.
You all speak a very different language. It's more cathartic.
To work in America or other places is more a curiosity. I'm dealing
with cultures sensibilities that I don't really know.
Is it more work doing like say a Time
Machine, then a Memento? [ I wonder if he read
my review? I hated that film oh-so-very-much]
Definitely. Studio films are harder. Doing Memento
felt like doing an Australian movie because it was little and
intimate and low budget. Everyone understood what we were doing.
Where as working on a studio picture I can't help but be aware
of all the political stuff that's going on and I have to work
to survive in a sense. So yeah that's kind of hard work.
Can you talk about the chemistry between the three brothers? You
don't look alike but yet it worked.
Well I'd done a play with Damien [Richardson] the guy who plays
Mal and we'd become good friends. He'd was the essence of the
script. And when Joel Edgerton came on board as the younger brother
Shane ... I have to say he's one of the most extraordinary actors
in the world.
Yeah, he's super. Maybe the next Aussie import!
G: Maybe! [laughter] I was working with him and I'd be like [Guy
stutters in befuddlement and awe ] , " Oh it's me. My turn
eh?" He's so engaging. So electric and a lovely guy.
And he's really cute.
[laughter] I'll say yes. Yes [laughter]
the chunk of it kids. I could sit and chat with an Australian
for hours. It's such a lovely language. And since Guy's not exactly
a hideous creature the time flew by.
Pearce has tremendous talent and I'm glad another of his films
from home has landed. He relishes in the dark humor of The
Hard Word and the performance is wonderful