I recently got the chance to talk to Daniel Webber about his role in ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Here, Daniel talks about what it was like working with Emily Browning and which three guests he would invite to dinner…
Hey Daniel. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The plotline follows Emily Browning’s character, ‘Lucy’ and her journey as a wilful but struggling University student who finds herself within the world of a kind of corporate erotica.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character meets Lucy late in the script. He works a part-time job at a camera store, I think that he feels trapped by the meaningless work but needs the money in order to support himself and his lifestyle. He too studies and regularly goes out. He is juxtaposed to Lucy who earlier in the film has pushed the retail/low paid work aside; they represent different mindsets.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
The script came to me through my agent. I read it that very night and was intrigued by the depth of the script. I began working on the piece I had been given and I auditioned the next day. The funny thing is I originally was auditioned for Lucy’s roommate, but due to age and looks lost out the role to another actor. It was great that they chose to give me another role that they deemed more suitable for me. I didn’t meet Julia Leigh (writer/director) until I walked on set. It enjoyable working with Julia and Emily, both with their own styles, it was easy and memorable.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
There are so many things that make this film different and unique. For me the largest variance from other films would have to be the subject matter, the world of corporate erotica and fetishism woven with the fairytale that Julia wrote wonderfully. It is a slow-moving train: it peels back the layers of Lucy’s character so gently, somehow easing you on a very private and perverse journey, a journey that in many ways is very relatable.
The power in the film came for me through its whispers of a very dark part of society: the sexual freedoms people are able to afford and the prices that are paid for them. I also believe it is a brave film for which Emily Browning deserves a standing ovation for as she exposes much of herself emotionally as well as physically throughout the film; it is refreshing to see that commitment.
The film stars Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie, Peter Carroll, Chris Haywood and your good self – with Julia Leigh onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
It’s an extraordinary experience to work amongst such talent. It makes the work such a pleasure and a joy because everyone is so professional at doing their job and having a good time with it. Emily was lovely to work alongside, and as you see on-screen she delivers a very strong performance as Lucy and that was my experience on each take. There was a nice freedom to work within the script, dialogue was movable and pliable, a gift that is not always bestowed on an actor, but Julia Leigh was very open to everything that we put forward on the day. The day would work something like, get to set, eat, go through costume, make-up and then wait until called. Julia and I spoke briefly about what she wanted with the character, then when it came to shooting she was very hands free and relaxed.
Let’s talk a bit about you Daniel. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Acting was a passion for me throughout my later school years. My interest was originally piqued by my older sister when she was so enthused after her first day of Year 9 drama, after hearing her passion for this class I made it a point to choose it as one of my electives.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?
It is a tough career and there are many sacrifices that you’ll make, but if you are willing to go through it all you’ll find that it is a very rewarding vocation.
If you could have dinner with three guests (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Richard Burton because I admire his work. Any of the empire forging legends like Alexander or Napoleon, just to be around their presence. Last, (just so I could hear him sing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” while eating dinner) – Bobby McFerrin.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I have the lead role in an extraordinary independent feature film that is currently in post production, titled ‘Deceit’ - (look out for it on the festival circuit). It’s about a young con man on parole who discovers that a con has been played against him after a job went wrong and so he is forced back into the world of crime.
Thanks for the interview!