I recently got the chance to talk to Shaun Austin-Olsen about his role in ‘Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy’. Here, Shaun talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Shaun. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Irvine Welsh‘s Ecstasy’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Ecstasy’ is basically a journey from the love of ecstasy to the ecstasy of love as experienced by a nineties era Glaswegian raver. With thematic similarity to Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’, the story sees the main character, Lloyd, face reality and grow up a bit, realizing life is only what one makes of it.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character Mr. Case is the head of and spokesman for “Scotland Against Drugs” and he is the uptight boss of Heather, the love interest of Lloyd. Case is stuck in the stagnancy of middle-life in his marriage and job, charmed only by his crush on Heather. Drink is his drug.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I had known director Rob Heydon for years and had worked with him in the past. When I discovered through a mutual friend that he was working on a screenplay of ‘Ecstasy’, as a fan of Irvine Welsh I was immediately interested in the project and have been on board ever since through the many ups-and-downs, and ins-and-outs, and years of production.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Even the very title, ‘Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy’, makes the film and its story inseparable from the legacy of Irvine Welsh with the successes of the film ‘Trainspotting’ and an ever-present shadow of expectation. To the fans, ‘Ecstasy’ must be an acceptable follow-up to ‘Trainspotting’ to be considered a success.
This acceptance is now apparent as the film achieves international recognition with many film festival appearances and awards. Most recently, at the Burbank International Film Festival, ‘Ecstasy’ won for best foreign film, with Adam Sinclair awarded Best Leading Actor in a feature film, and Billy Boyd receiving Best Supporting Actor.
The film stars Adam Sinclair, Kristin Kreuk, Billy Boyd, Carlo Rota, Ashley Pover, Keram Malicki-Sanchez and Olivia Andrup – with Rob Heydon onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Everyone involved with the film was great – professional, hard-working, dedicated. The shoots went smoothly and things were accomplished quickly. It was a bit of a drag to be filming some scenes in northern Ontario during a snowstorm, but it is Canada after all.
Let’s talk a bit about you Shaun. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I loved watching plays as a young kid in London, both amateur and professional, and was lucky enough to meet a very good drama teacher, Tim Hughes at Tulsehill Secondary School and managed to get into the National Youth Theatre when I was about 12 years old.
You’ve been in a number of different TV and film projects – which actors / actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
I really like working with actors who have a generosity of spirit, for instance: John Travolta, William H. Macy, Hugh Grant, Colm Fiore, Forest Whittaker to name a few. These are all actors who care about the project and the people working with them.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- Jimmy Grieves my favourite footballer, played for Tottenham Hotspurs and England.
- Harold Pinter, so that Jimmy could talk through the pregnant pauses.
- Oliver Cromwell, to add some earthiness to the conversation.
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
I love to just get away from the city to visit friends or to spend off time relaxing and having fun with my family. I wouldn’t trade an afternoon of soccer with my four sons for anything.
What is your favourite word?
Wanker. It’s a good answer to an annoying question.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I have a movie called ‘Home Again’ showing right now at the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ve had a few television roles this year, and do lots of voice work. (I also became a grandfather this year.)
Basically I’m a character actor and I never know what’s going to come up next. My ultimate dream would be to appear in a production written and directed by my son Macgregor, hopefully I won’t be too old by then…
Thanks for the interview!