I recently got the chance to talk to Anthony Edwards about his role in ‘The Dark Lurking’. Here, Anthony talks about how the film is different to most sci-fi horrors and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Anthony. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘The Dark Lurking‘.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
All hell has broken loose in an underground research facility where the arcane has been mixed with science. It is up to a small group of mercenaries to navigate the dangers and rescue any survivors from the depths. It is a wonderful homage to the action movies of the eighties that most of us grew up with. Plenty of scares, surprises and twists and turns.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Dare leads the mercenaries through the facility. While it feels like a natural role for him, there are the internal feuds and power struggles to navigate as well as the obvious dangers around him. He may not be a natural leader, but as the position has fallen to him, he’ll do anything to live up to the responsibility.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It was a strange series of coincidences that drew me into ‘The Dark Lurking’. My career had been primarily as a theatre actor and live performer up until that point. I had done some work in commercials and a few short films, but found that working with audience was far more rewarding. Out of the blue a former employer for street theatre gigs phoned me. She had booked me an audition slot, even though she was not directly involved in the production at all and refused to take “No” for an answer.
I showed up for the audition with no real expectations and found that I knew half of the people involved. I had met the director Greg Connors, producer Stuart Wall and Bret Kennedy on Greg’s first short ‘Netherworld’ a couple of years earlier. I had worked with DP and actor Dirk Fougler in live shows and had met Ozzie Devrish a few years earlier. So the audition process was incredibly comfortable and organic. We rolled through a couple of scenes and improvised a couple more and the job was offered to me on the spot. Although the shooting process was going to be quite long, there was so much excitement that I couldn’t wait to become involved.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
The film is unique in it’s ambition and scale. We used to joke on set that ‘Avatar’ had a bigger budget for sandwiches than this entire film was working with. The amazing part is that on-screen none of that is apparent. While this is definitely an homage to the eighties action set pieces, ‘The Dark Lurking’ has its own twists and turns within the story that ramp up the pace and take it in a unique direction. I guess in this day and age the film is unique in pulling back the amount of CGI used. Anything that could be done practically, was. This meant hours under prosthetics for many of the stunt crew and actors. We were always dealing with elements on set, like fire, explosions, gunfire, and rigging. Odds on if it is on the screen, it was there on set with us. This in turn gives the film that visceral quality that computer generated work is still growing towards. For us as actors on set however, it kept the situations real. This made any of the discomfort worthwhile.
The film stars Tonia Renee, Bret Kennedy, Ozzie Devrish, Roslyn Van Doorn, Dirk Foulger and your good self – with Gregory Connors onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
It truly was a wonderful experience. I had had the good fortune to work with a couple of my cast mates and a few of the crew before, but only for brief periods. This film gave us the chance to become more of a family. Low budget filmmaking has no room for prima donnas and large egos. Fortunately for us, whatever happened in the audition process must have weeded those out. I love working with people who will pitch in if the job needs doing. I think it came from many years of touring with small casts and working on shoe-string budgets with live theatre. In those situations, if you have the skills then it is nearly a necessity to help out. ‘The Dark Lurking’ was very similar in that regard because although Greg runs a tight ship, the creative process was extremely collaborative. Elements from all departments helped drive choices for scenes and as actors we were given quite a bit of freedom to interpret the dialogue and movement. We really did become a large family. I remember that when the cut was called for my last scene, that first thing I wanted to do was keep going. We were having so much fun that we really didn’t want the process to end.
Let’s talk a bit about you Anthony. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I did the usual thing in school and found myself in the theatre shows. These were very rewarding, but had no great desire to build a career in this industry. So school finished and I packed my bags and started working. I had been accepted into Engineering at university, but wanted to take a year working just to settle before hitting the books again. It was strange and it definitely crept up on me, but I missed performing. Every time I thought of doing something else as a job, acting just crept into the back of my mind. Again coincidence worked in my favour. Just before I was due to start my university course, a former high school acting teacher phoned me. She was involved with a one day street theatre show for a festival. They had lost one of the leads due to injury, I was the right look and I slotted in at short notice. During that day, a director from a Shakespearean theatre company saw me, managed to get a card to me and invited me to audition two days after for a supporting role in ‘Macbeth’. I showed up ready to audition, but never did, the job was already mine. From there I was sold. I changed courses at university to acting and would study during the day, while rehearsing at night. Everything else grew from there…
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Accept that you will hear “No” far more often than “Yes”. Really love what you are doing, whether it be a film, street theatre, theme park shows, television or a volunteer job at a community theatre. That kind of passion shines through and does get noticed. Take any job you can and work out whether you can do it later. Failing is just another way to learn new skills. I know this all sounds like one of those new age help books, but they are all things that I have had to learn (mostly the hard way).
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
That is a big list…… I listen to a lot of Australian music. John Butler Trio, The Waifs, the new Funkoars album has been getting heaps of play lately. I do still rip out music that I grew up with like Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Also movie soundtracks and a bit classical whenever I am writing, just to help theme the mood.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Cliché I know, but Jesus…… I have to know. Son of God ? Revolutionary? Or the world’s greatest entertainer? Either way it’s going to make for some pretty wild conversation.
Hannibal, the great general, not the movie character (I always have to justify that). I would love to find out just how driven, charismatic, strategic and intelligent the man must have been to achieve what he did in a short life.
Christopher Nolan, I love all his films and think he is one of the most intelligent story tellers for the modern world. Put him with either of the historical figures and we’re bound to get a great movie out of it.
If you were stranded on a desert island – what three things could you not live without?
I am going for the completely impractical list …… otherwise it is just going to be water, clothing and a knife.
- My I-Pod is a must. It has travelled with me all around the world and been a constant source of music and movies. Guess I’ll have to hope that I am in range for wireless otherwise there will be a lot of repeats.
- My local library, it has been a constant source of great books, comics and research material.
- My mates, there are a constant source of inspiration, help and friendship.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I have just finished up with a music festival project with my company and we will be building that to an even larger scale for next year. I leave in the next couple of weeks to shoot on a new Australian series being shot in Port Douglas. My character gets to do a lot of diving and underwater work, so it’s going to be a blast to be working on the Great Barrier Reef. I am working with a great entertainment company out of Sydney on a project with Sony for the US next year, but that can’t be named as yet. I also have a few films that Greg Connors and I wrote together that are past the first few hurdles and are in the development phase right now. But we are waiting for news from AFM and hopefully we’ll be working together on one of the projects next year. All I know is 2012 is shaping up to be pretty busy.
Thanks for the interview!