You’ve spent years working on smaller budgeted Australian films, and now you’re suddenly in two big budget science fiction films, Ghost in the Shell and Netflix’s Okja. How have you found the transition?
I’ve been lucky, mate. I’ve been in a television show called Turn [a historical drama about the Culper Ring, Washington’s spies during the Revolutionary War] over in the States for the last four years, and it’s much bigger in scale. I’ve been slowly eating my way up the financial chain of filmmaking I suppose, so that gave me a lot of confidence. But to be honest, despite the larger number of crew and the bigger sets and pay cheque, you’re still working with a director, fellow actors, and a cameraman. So there’s a similarity from the smaller stuff to the bigger stuff. It’s a lot less, say, intimate, but that can inspire and influence larger scale things and lift you into a heightened world and reality, which both the films I’ve had to chance to work on of larger budgets have been. But I think it’s great practice to learn what you do when you can have a more intimate space – it’s a lot easier to learn the ropes. So that’s put me in great stead, working on smaller budget films in Australia.
Would you say paying your dues on low budget projects helps you in terms of discipline as you rise in the ranks, as you’re used to limited resources and time?
Not necessarily. With Snowtown we worked with a lot of first time actors and the methods we used were quite unorthodox and it was all about performance, so we had a lot of time within the constraints of the budget and the scheduling to focus on performance. It does give you a sense of discipline. You have to work the work yourself – there isn’t necessarily anyone there giving you a hand. It gives you good work ethics. I’m not sure if you have to work harder – it’s just different circumstances, I suppose. It’s much different working on something large scale – you can be much closer in terms of communication or collaboration on a small thing, as opposed to being at the end of a very long food chain on a larger thing.