I recently got the chance to talk to Rob Carlton about his role in new film, ‘Mental’. Here, Rob talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place and what it was like working with PJ Hogan…
Hey Rob. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Mental’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Mental’ is about a dodgy local Mayor (Anthony La Paglia) whose wife is having a nervous breakdown. Unable to cope with his five ‘crazy’ daughters, he picks up a hitch hiker called Shaz (Toni Collette), and brings her home to look after his kids. Shaz could be more crazy than the lot of them.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character is a political crony and mate of the Mayor. He’s there to up the pain and pressure on the Mayor’s character.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I’d auditioned for the role of the Mayor and really enjoyed myself at the audition. It was the first time I’d met PJ Hogan, whom I’d always greatly admired. He then offered me the role of Jack and with the great story, cast and amazing team behind it I was thrilled to be involved.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
This film is different and unique because it’s been made by PJ Hogan, who is a most different and unique individual. He’s also greatly supported by his amazing wife Jocelyn and the Zuckers as well. It’s been crafted with such attention to detail, and so much of it has come out of PJ Hogan’s real life experiences. When you draw inspiration from your own life, the results are rarely run of the mill.
The film stars Liev Schreiber, Toni Collette, Anthony LaPaglia, Caroline Goodall, Kerry Fox, Deborah Mailman, Rebecca Gibney, Lily Sullivan and Sam Clark – with P.J. Hogan onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Working with all of these people was fantastic. My first day on set, when we were filming the finale in a huge theatre with hundreds of extras, was one of the great days of my career. I’d had only a half hours sleep because I’d been filming a night shoot in Melbourne that night, so had to fly up to Brisbane to get on set. Anthony La Paglia was in full comedy flight, which is a joy to see, Rebecca Gibney too. PJ Hogan was calling the shots and our DOP was Don Macalpine, a world legend of cinematography. And flying round the edges was Jerry Zucker, creator of the ‘Flying High’ movies and ‘Top Secret’ and the rest. It was a boyhood dream to work with Jerry. There was singing and breakdowns…. It was too good to be true!
Let’s talk a bit about you Rob. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I’ve been an actor since I was 14 years old. Whatever it was that got me started, it’s been curiosity about the way humans behave, with all the good and all the bad, that’s kept me going.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Advice I’d give is turn up on time and always default to being curious… then mix that curiosity with passion and perseverance.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
Working with Rachel Griffiths recently was a joy. She’s a hugely talented woman, very generous on set, and completely grounded as a person. Working with Anthony La Paglia on ‘Mental’ was great fun. For a start, he’s a top bloke, but it was also invaluable to me to hear his stories of his acting life. How hard he works, and continues to work, to get good work done. No matter how famous you get, nothing replaces the hard work you constantly have to do. Recently I had the opportunity to interview Geoffrey Rush as part of my Tropfest commitments. Rest assured, Geoffrey is still as playful and cheeky and fun as he was before he shot to international success. I haven’t mentioned Toni Collette simply because we didn’t have any scenes on ‘Mental’ together… And I’ve known Toni since I was 17 years old so I’m biased. Simply put, I think Toni is one of our living treasures; her acting talents never cease to inspire and amaze me.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Joan as Police Woman
Ray Le Montagne
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- Julius Ceaser – I’m a Roman History tragic.
- Cleopatra – I’d love to meet perhaps the most powerful woman to ever live… and she knew Julius!
- Henry the VIII. I’d like to find out why, as a multiple murderer, he thought he’d be the right guy to start his own church.
If you could choose a literary character to will into existence, who would you choose and why?
Jane Austen. I have a suspicion she was a very funny, very naughty woman who couldn’t be her true self in the time she lived. I think if she were alive today she’d be a riot.
What’s coming up for you in 2012/13?
Busy year coming up. We’ve got the launch of the sequel to ‘Paper Giants’ called ‘Magazine Wars’. That stars Rachel Griffiths and Mandy McElhinney. I’m developing an entertainment show through my production company, and there are a couple of big TV dramas in development which I’m set to act in.
Thanks for the interview!