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Dirty Deeds: Interview

Interview by Clint Morris

Interview with Bryan Brown
Actor in Dirty Deeds film.

If ever there were an ambassador for the Australian Film Industry it would be Bryan Brown. The star of such greats as Breaker Morant, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and Newsfront has always supported the thriving filmmaking industry here and encouraging writers, actors and filmmakers to make a go of it Down Under.

And although he toyed with Hollywood for a while (Cocktail, Gorilla’s In the Mist, FX), these days, Brown likes staying on home soil, if only because that's where all the great movies are now being made. As he discovered when he read the script for his latest film Dirty Deeds, which Clint Morris talks to him about.


Brown is at his best
in
Dirty Deeds

Clint: What attracted you to Dirty Deeds?

Bryan: David. David Caesar. I had seen David's film Idiot Box at the Toronto Film Festival and thought it was bloody great. I remember thinking if he's doing this kind of material now, imagine what's down the road. And those times – the late 60's of Australia – also interested me because I was a young guy growing up in those times.

I was always hanging around those illegal bars. The film nailed the whole gangster and dirty cops time in Australia well. The pokies, the brothels - spot on.

Clint: You played a very similar part in Two Hands. Did you consider this when jumping into Dirty Deeds?

Bryan: Gregor (Jordan) had been writing Two Hands for several years, and I was already involved in the other. They're both very different films. I mean Barry is essentially telling his stories of crime in Deeds, and Pando (in Two Hands) was just playing a bit of scrabble and sending people out to kill.

People say that Barry could be Pando's father, so what that means is that little kid in Dirty Deeds who wants to kill the vampire is actually Pando.

Clint: As producer, did you get much say in casting?

Bryan: Filmmaking is a collaborative medium, so I guess I did. Yeah. I mean we would look at who was right for the people and who wasn't and I'd always say if I think someone was perfect for a role or someone wasn't fitting in.

Clint: I hear when you were making the film you were dancing on the bar at the Broken Hill Pub?

Bryan: Oh yeah. I'm always dancing on bars. I'm a bloke that loves a drink, and when you're just free and on the loose like we are on films – it happens.

Clint: The Australian Film Industry is doing fantastic at the moment, isn't it?

Bryan: It is. But what people are forgetting is that when we first started out – say in the 70's – all our films were great too, and all did great -The Breakers, The Sunday Too Far Aways, Gallipoli, and Jimmy Blacksmith.

Everyone kind of went ‘wow’ where did that come from? And I guess in a sense we started too big, so what they really should have done is release one good one, say every couple of years and kept it going that way.

It would have saved us the slump. But now with Baz with Strictly Ballroom and P.J with Muriel's Wedding things are going great. I mean Rabbit Proof Fence made $7 million. Do you know what that means for a film – essentially with an Aboriginal theme – to make that much money? Bloody fantastic.

Clint: And is that why you came back to Australia?

Bryan: Everyone thinks I left Australia to go live in America. That's wrong. I've always lived here. I never moved. I would go over to America, make a picture and then return to Sydney. Jack Thompson and Judy Davis did the same. They never moved and either did I.

My last American picture was Blame it On the Bellboy, Rachel was doing After Dark, My Sweet and by that stage my girls were growing up and we just decided enough was enough and wanted to get back here. Going over there for 10 weeks on end to make a picture was just too long a stint away from home.

Clint: What was the biggest difference between working in America and working here?

Bryan: America is different to everywhere. It's just bigger. They put so much money behind every picture. It's just out there.

Clint: Will there be another FX Movie? Say, an FX 3?

Bryan: Not with me in it.

Clint: Have your kids watched your films?

Bryan: They saw Breaker Morant not long ago. They cried. They've all seen Dirty Deeds and loved it. The young lad especially likes it, because Dad doesn't die in it. He has a hard time watching his Dad get killed in movies. He just doesn't like to see that.

Clint: Which one of your films are your favourite and least favourite?

Bryan: My favourite experience would have to be Dead Heart. Don't ask me why – I don't really know, just something in my heart tells me it was something I had to do.

I can't imagine not making that movie. It's funny because it's probably one of my films that's hardly got around.

But then again, it seems to be getting seen more and more these days. I have a least favourite, but I better not mention it because I wouldn't want the director to be labeled.

Clint: Was it an American movie?

Bryan: Yeah it was.

Clint: A lot of your co-stars – Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe – have all gone on to big things in the states. How do you like that?

Bryan: Well firstly, heaps of Australians before these guys had opportunities in the states. In the 70s actors would get big opportunities in America too – it's only now the media is talking about all these Aussies in Hollywood.

It's never been any different. We've always been over there. Let me say something about Heath Ledger though, I'm so glad he's playing Ned Kelly.

Clint: And you didn't get offered a role in Ned Kelly?

Bryan: Nah. I'm too old, I guess.

Clint: What's next for you then?

Bryan: To tell you the truth, after Dirty Deeds, I'm feeling exhausted. I would just like to have a decent break for once. Have a think about what's next. There's plenty of stuff on the tables, but first of all just a nice break.

Clint: I hear you were spotted in Albury possibly mulling over a picture about the infamous Commercial Hotel?

Bryan: Yeah I did go down to Albury. But there's no movie. I simply went down there to catch up with an old mate of mine, who owns the place. He's the one who wrote the book on the place, but no, no movie, just a beer.

Click here for the Dirty Deeds review.

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