Aussie Ringer Spy Matt dishes out the goods and sends us a great interview with David Wenham (Faramir)!
This morning a local Melbourne (Australia) radio station interviewed David Wendham (Faramir), and I managed to tape it for your listening pleasure.
He mostly talks about his latest film, but they discuss LOTR for a couple of minutes. Interesting.
Radio Host: And you’d know our next guest as diver Dan from ‘SeaChange’, but he’s also the star of a new film that’s out this Thursday it’s called ‘Better Than Sex’ please welcome David Wenham!
David Wenham: Thank you very much
RH: Now Dave, the film’s great but when you read the script did you think to yourself ‘I’m going to be naked…am I ok with that?’ or is that not an issue for you?
DW: It wasn’t the first thing that popped into my head, I read the script and though ‘ooh this is a fairly funny script’, it’s a poignant script, good character, and um, well the issue of the nudity was about 5 or 6 down the list.
RH: Oh really? 5 or 6 down? You’re going to be naked on a 30-foot screen, simulating sex, and, you naked and it’s only like, 6 down for you?
DW: Absolutely, if you think about it too much you’d just
DW: Well yeah, you’d be disrobing and getting in front of the cameras you’d be saying ‘ooh, no I’m not going to pull down the trousers’
RH: Great work, both yourself and Susie Porter, I thought it was terrific acting, particularly because while I was watching the film I realized ‘wow this is weird’ there’s scenes of you walking outside but you don’t say anything, then there’s scenes in Susie’s bedroom, and then there’s scenes of you on a stool sitting next to a fixed camera. Now as an actor, that must have been so hard to get the performance rolling because I imagine you shot all the apartment scenes in one go, and allot of those had voiceover on them so that wasn’t there when you were shooting them it must have been bizarre direction, but very hard I would have thought to; ‘ok, where’s my performance how do I show nuance in all these things’…was it like that? Was is a process like that or was it different?
DW: It wasn’t exactly like that, but you always have to be aware of where you are with any specific time within the film, and you’re right we shot everything separately, we shot everything in the warehouse over a five week period, we shot the exterior stuff another time, and all the camera stuff, the times where the actors actually talk to the camera we shot on one particular day. Why I like the film is that fact that it’s about little moments in relationships, especially those first few days meeting somebody new, and you’re not used to the person’s body, to their mannerisms, their behavior so it’s a time of discovery.
RH: Yes, and it also portrays very well the wariness, you know you’re kind of stalking around each other a bit, you know, fighting the attraction because of the fear you know what can happen when you’re attracted to someone, and I thought it portrayed that really well to, you know that ‘I’m really hot for you yeah, but at the same time I’m getting a bit nervous about this now, this has gone beyond the one night stand bit that I was quite comfortable with’.
DW: Yes, that’s right, and I suppose the character I play, Josh, has the escape clause in place because he works as a wildlife photographer who’s based in London and he’s got a plane to get to, so he’s got to get back to London in a couple of day’s time
RH: Yeah I like that; it was one of the reasons for the characters to get together because ‘ah he’s going in three day’s, what can happen?’
RH: And we find out of course, with amusing consequences
DW: That’s right, things can and do go wrong within a one nightstand.
RH: Is it very different to do a film where essentially in a two-person play? There’s only you and another character, some other character’s drift in but you only interact with one or two other characters in the whole film, does that make for a different acting experience for you?
DW: Yes, more intense and probably more pleasurable as well, I didn’t think about it, it’s only in retrospect that I think about it now, the fact that it was an intense 5 week period with Susie Porter, and it was somebody who I got on with extremely well, a lot of laughs I had with her
RH: You’re lucky, because essentially you’re going to be naked
DW: Absolutely, yeah
RH: That’s another think I wanted to talk to you about, did you know who you were working with, and is that one of your 5 factors? After you looked at the script and the story, and you look at the actors and go ‘not her, she’s a bitch, I couldn’t stand being this person close to and sharing the work load with someone I don’t get on with’
DW: Yeah, I’ve been extremely fortunate, I did know what Susie was cast in that role, I was very pleased about that. But it would be an issue if it was somebody I knew that is just wouldn’t work.
RH: Even if they just had a different work ethic to yours
RH: Because there’s only two of you
RH: So if there was someone who is ‘oh I don’t want to learn my lines and I’m late for everything’, and you’re not, by week 2 you’d be driving each other mad, like a real couple. All movies, as it seems to me as I talk to actors and directors, all movies change and metamorphosis in the editing suite, but particularly this scene because of the way the scenes are shot and voiceovers and such, what did you think when you sat down and saw the final version?
DW: Very happy, I only saw it was all the bells and whistles on it, with the soundtrack and whatever and I was very pleased and very happy. It’s good to do a job where you can sit there and not cringe too much and think ‘yeah I’m quite happy with it’
RH: Was it as you imagined?
DW: It is actually, yeah
RH: So the film you had in your head you actually saw on the screen?
DW: It was, yeah
RH: But I’m sure people listening to this are going ‘duh’ but in fact it’s really rare isn’t it? That the thing you signed on to do ended up actually looking like that on the screen.
DW: Because there’s so many variables in making a film, things can go wrong, people’s performance can be not what you imagined, music can make a difference, the way the film is cut can alter it completely.
RH: The investors decided they wanted a different ending
DW: Yeah absolutely, they can do an old re-shoot and shoot the ending; I’ve done that to.
RH: All right, let’s talk about some other things, Sea Change, do you still get stopped in the street with the ‘Hay diver Dan!’
DW: Not as often anymore, I am recognized, but very few people actually approach me, I must give off the hey-don’t-come-near-me-vibe.
RH: Ah, so they point at you instead
DW: Well, like I don’t even get that much really, I just get funny looks and whispers
RH: Will that change with Moulin Rouge? What was that like to work on?
DW: Well, I could get people saying ‘ooh, there’s that effeminate writer going by’, but it was allot of fun, I do play an effeminate writer in it.
RH: Well I guessed, otherwise you’ve given out a little bit more of yourself than I asked!
DW: (laughs) yeah
RH: Still, you’re opening up (laughter) so what was (Moulin Rouge) like to work on?
DW: Very exciting, Baz Luhrmann, very interesting to work with
RH: Yes, he’s exciting, Nicole Kidman I’d find very scary and daunting, because you got the ‘curise’ machine behind her
DW: Oh no, she’s wonderful
RH: Oh really? What about all the flunkies and PR people and all the ‘excuse me not that angle, excuse me let me see the script, excuse me could get out of the way’ what about all that?
DW: Well as a fellow actor, I’m not aware of all that, we’re just there attempting to play a character, do your job and enjoy.
RH: ok, Lord of the Rings, how did you get that project and what are you in Lord of the Rings?
DW: What am I? I play a character called Faramir, who is a Stewart of Gondor and who ends up being…um yeah can’t say
RH: Yes, don’t look into the fire! Don’t look into the fire!
DW: Yes! Exactly
RH: Don’t do it! You’re going to go mad! You’re going to take Gandalf away at a crucial time! That little halfling is going to have to stand up.
DW: You should have got a gig in that
RH: Man, I could have
DW: Why didn’t you?
RH: I don’t know, they wouldn’t take my call, story of my life.
DW: (laughs) How did I get a gig in (The Lord of the Rings)? Um, I don’t know really, Peter Jackson saw a film I did a while ago called ‘The Boys’, he seemed to love that, and for some strange reason he was interested in me being involved in this film. I put something down on tape, I thought nothing of it, and didn’t think anything would come of it, but they perused me and eventually found myself in it.
RH: Had you read the book? Do you know it?
DW: Had I read it? No I am probably one of the few people in the world who hadn’t, I knew of it’s existence, but never picked it up because there weren’t enough pictures in it for me. The cover pictures were great, the maps were difficult to read all those funny names, but no, now I know a little more about it
RH: Have you read it since?
DW: I have, I flicked through it, it’s taken me a while
RH: You haven’t read it have you?
DW: (laughs) I have read it!
RH: Yeah, sure
DW: I have
RH: You look like me at school going ‘I have read it!’ I looked at the Ralf Bakshi…thing…good enough, has it come out in comic? (Laughter) David, your career has gone from strength to strength, is it a planned thing, or can you not plan, as an Australian actor, you just kind of swing on the monkey bars, or swing on the rope and hope there’s another one when you come off the swing.
DW: Yeah, I think I’m doing the monkey bar swing at the moment, it’s very difficult to plan, it’s all left up to the fate of the gods really. You can only plan so much, the only things that have been the result of my own work, as far as my career path has been the film ‘The Boys’ and the film I just completed doing which is called ‘The Bank’, everything else has been, just sort of happened in a way.
RH: Yeah, it’s karmic
DW: I make that sound easy, it hasn’t been easy
RH: No, it’s the luck of the draw, because even as we speak now, people are working on another film in another city talking about you. Which makes it more important that your body of work stands up, because essentially that’s your calling card, would you go back into television? Would you ever do television if the right thing came up?
DW: Absolutely, I love television, I think it’s a great medium, I’ve talked about this before I think its a very underutilized medium, I don’t think we produce enough television in (Australia) which appeals to other things other than the lowest common denominator, I say that because I’ve done wonderbout and SeaChange for the ABC, which I’m very proud of
RH: Well David you can be very proud of ‘Better Than Sex’ it’s a fantastic film, it’s out this Thursday, congratulations and thanks for coming in today for a chat
DW: Thank you very much