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Guy 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!

Even 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.

His latest film is an Australian piece called The Hard Word.

In 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.

The 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.

We met at a swanky LA hotel to chat a bit so let's have a read shall we:

E: 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 better!

E: [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 character…that just kind of evaporated. I think that would be more of an issue for those actresses and for the people watching the film.

E: So how'd you prepare for Dale in The Hard Word?

G: 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.

E: You speak of Two Brothers the tiger film?

G: 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!

E: 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?

G: [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].

E: [ Bit what dear? Rrrrrrrrrr psft psft! ] What's the origin behind the weirdish language the brothers speak in The Hard Word?

G: 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.

E: So it wasn't gibberish jargon?

G: 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.

E: Is there any preference between say doing an American film vs an Australian?

G: 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.

E: 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]

G: 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.

E: Can you talk about the chemistry between the three brothers? You don't look alike but yet it worked.

G: 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.

E: 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.

E: And he's really cute.

G: [laughter] I'll say yes. Yes [laughter]

That's 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


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