Escaping the clink for crime flick Son of a Gun, the upcoming Aussie actor knows his way out of a tight corner
“I walked past it the other day! It was this bottle opener in the window and I was thinking, ‘That bottle opener looks like a penis,’” says 25-year-old actor Brenton Thwaites. He's talking about a chance encounter with The Icelandic Phallological Museum on his most recent holiday with stopovers in LA, Edinburgh and Iceland. So did he venture inside? “Nah mate, I’ve got one… I don’t need another one!” he jokes over the phone from Spain. The Aussie has turned his cheesy soap star status (he featured in Oz's famous TV drama Home and Away) into one of a bona fide star. Last year, he fronted the SF adaptation of Lois Lowry's The Giver and now he's busting out of the clink with his convict mentor Brendan (Ewan McGregor). Once he escapes jail, it's a by-the-seat-of-your-pants thriller as they Bonnie & Clyde their way on one final heist, with ample distraction provided by crime boss mistress Tasha (Alicia Vikander). Here, the actor dishes about growing up at the skate park and what it was like filming in Australia's version of Guantanamo Bay.
GROWING UP ON DECK
“I still skateboard. Me and my half brother started at like 12, 13. Our neighbour James O’Dwyer skateboarded so we always skateboarded together. It started out of pure boredom as a teenager. His older brother Reece started skateboarding so I think we all started skatebaording to try and be like Reece. I once tried to skateboard down a hill and broke my ankle. I haven’t really skated like that since, that’s kind of a horrible story (laughs). I didn’t get it on film, unfortunately. Growing up, Ryan Sheckler was probably my favourite skater. Has he got a reality show too now? I loved him when he was young. I guess I loved Rodney Mullen as well cos he was doing different stuff. My first job was washing dishes in a Chinese cafe at 13. I really wanted to buy some new skateboard equipment so I started working.
I made a few skate movies when I was younger. They were Shite. They were horrible. They're definitely not on YouTube, if I’m lucky they are probably at the bottom of some box, in some garage in some country. It kind of comes back to acting in film. Performing a whole new trick in front of the camera is like performing an emotion in front of the camera or a monologue or something, you know? I’m sure it helped somewhere down the line, just trying to understand how to find the camera, how to edit a movie, how it all works.”
BUSTING OUT OF THE CLINK
“We did shoot in a real jail, Casuarina in Perth. It’s pretty sketchy mate. We were escorted by guards and we had a whole block to ourselves, and we shot inside the block with extras that would come in and out with us. My boxing coach was one of the extras so I felt kind of safe. It was good, I mean you have to give Eddie Baroo and Matt Nable some credit – with those two by your side nothing can happen to you.
(Breaking out of jail) I didn’t feel badass, More, I mean that day that you are talking about is when the helicopter lands and we have to get all the guys into the helicopter and fly away. It’s very technical and very dangerous so I was more nervous than anything because If I screwed up the take, we couldn't go again. That was my first time in a helicopter. I always get a little nervous before a scene I have to say, but it was good being nervous in that scene because my character was very nervous.”
SKIVING SCHOOL AND MAKING IT BIG
“In (upcoming film Ride), I play a guy who is enrolled to study creative writing at NYU. His mum's a journalist (Helen Hunt) so there’s a lot of pressure and expectation for him to go into writing and the pressure and expectation gets too much, so he decides to drop out and leave New York for Los Angeles to spend more time with his father; once his mother finds out she follows him to LA to try to understand why he's thrown away what could have been such a great opportunity.
I don't think about (whether I'm close to making it big) at all, I have never really thought about that. It’s very moment by moment with this job. At the moment I’m excited for my next movie, after that I will be excited for my next movie or I’ll take some downtime. I don’t think you can really plan your status or plan where you want to be. I believe in just going with the flow, being organic and just going with life and doing what you do.”
Son of a Gun is released in cinemas on January 30th