You’d think with a directorial debut, multiple leading man roles and a business to run on home soil, this triple threat would be ready for a holiday. But, as Laura Collins discovers, he’s not done yet
Noel Edgerton is a quiet achiever. He’s rarely in the spotlight, unless it’s during a promotional tour, and you’ll only find the occasional paparazzi photos online detailing his Saturday morning dip in the ocean. But this year alone, he’s directed his first feature-length film, The Gift, and starred alongside Johnny Depp in the James “Whitey” Bulger biopic Black Mass. He’s also gearing up to promote two new movies – Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special and Gavin O’Connor’s Jane Got A Gun (Edgerton even stepped in to do rewrites of the script at one point). When we speak, he’s midway through a two-hour drive from the north of the US state of Virginia to its south, via the capital Richmond. He’s there to film Loving, based on the true story of a couple sentenced to prison in 1958 for their interracial marriage. To say this has been a busy year for the guy would be an understatement.
For a directorial debut, The Gift was impressive taking more than $16 million on opening weekend in the US and winning over audiences and critics.
In case you missed it in cinemas (and don’t worry, it’s out on DVD this month), here’s the gist: it’s a suspense thriller about a young married couple whose lives are disturbed when the husband’s old schoolmate appears. Edgerton plays the supremely creepy friend, Gordo, opposite leads Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall (who was so disturbed by her co-star’s fake teeth, he’d have to remove them before directing her). The 41-year-old also wrote the script, the story of which stems from his wondering what would happen if you ran into someone from your past who you’d wronged. Edgerton says it was an eye-opening experience to step into the director’s chair:
âœInterestingly enough, it taught me even more about the heartbreak of being an actor. I now know what it’s like to cast the tiniest role in a movie.”
Of course, he spends a lot less time seeking out his own roles these days. âœI mean, I do still sort of hustle and chase after stuff. Like I hear about things that are going on or I hear a particular director has a script going and I try to seek it out.” But his latest turn, playing FBI agent John Connolly opposite Depp in Black Mass, came about completely by chance. The production was brought to a halt following a pay dispute by Depp, and suffered from a number of cast and crew shake-ups. âœI know that for every job I get, probably two or three people have turned it down before it comes to me. To think that you’re always the first choice for something is potentially a bit naive. Unless you’re, like, Brad Pitt, I guess. I’m sure he’s not waiting for other people to turn stuff down.”
At this point, I suspect he’s being a little too humble. Edgerton’s international breakthrough came in 2002, playing a young Owen Lars (Luke Skywalker’s uncle) in Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. Later, he starred in The Great Gatsby opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Exodus: Gods And Kings alongside Christian Bale (who he tells me is nothing like the press make him out to be) and Warrior with Tom Hardy. Sure, some roles might have landed in his lap thanks to divine intervention, but talent and a dedication to his craft play a big part, too. âœEvery time I pick up a script, I have this weird feeling – this could be a script that I’m opening that I love, that becomes six months of my life in some city I never even thought I would go to. Or it could just be a pile of paper that I never look at again.” He also knows a great opportunity when it arises, even if it’s not in a lead role. Case in point: after wrapping
Midnight Special in New Orleans, he travBlogd to Toronto for a two-day shoot opposite Robert Pattinson in the James Dean/Dennis Stock biopic Life.
Though his recently acquired place on the A-list would have you believe otherwise, Edgerton’s been writing and producing since 1996. Initially, it was shorts with Blue-Tongue Films, the production company he launched (and continues to operate) alongside a group of fellow filmmakers including Kieran Darcy-Smith, David Michod and his brother, Nash Edgerton. Growing up in Sydney’s north-western suburbs, he attended drama school and eventually began appearing on stage for the Sydney Theatre Company. Sharing a house in Sydney’s Glebe with Darcy-Smith, and the guidance of his stuntman-slash-director sibling Nash, put film on Edgerton’s radar, and the influence of those closest to him, he says, was pivotal to his early success. âœI just love people who take matters into their own hands. It becomes contagious. Nash is definitely someone who has that attitude. He carved his own career out as a director without having any formal education.” In fact, when the youngest Edgerton took his turn in front of the camera on the set of The Gift, big brother Nash filled in for him as director. âœIt’s very inspiring, knowing that whenever I have something going on he’s there to support me.”
Edgerton has done a killer job of positioning himself in the industry, and by all accounts, he’s right where he’s meant to be. âœThe present is bright. It’s a good time to be a male actor… But I’ve also experienced times when I didn’t feel that satisfied by acting; I didn’t feel that satisfied by what was on the table. Knowing that that’s probably something which will happen more as I get older, it made sense to get behind the camera now.” With so many Australians in Hollywood, I suggest to him that he’s the one leading the pack. âœEvery time I see a movie these days, it’s got an Australian in it,” he says. I’m sure some people are saying the same about him right now. He laughs, âœWe’re like a virus, I guess. A good virus.” Liv Tyler knows the importance of Living in the moment
Tyler praises the power of female support. Take a peek at her #girlsquad. âœhe daughter of a model groupie and a rock star, Liv Tyler’s backstory is an extraordinary one. At age 10, she discovered her father was Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, not record producer Todd Rundgren, as her mother Bebe Buell had led her to believe. Now, she says, she has benefited from having two dads, gaining a lifetime’s worth of lessons and stories from each of them.
Getting her start as a teen model, Tyler landed a Seventeen magazine cover and appeared alongside Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith’s music video for âœCrazy”. She then broke into film with roles in Stealing Beauty and as Ben Affleck’s love interest in doomsday blockbuster Armageddon. These days, the 38-year-old is raising two boys (Milo, 10, and Sailor, nine months) and starring on HBO fantasy drama The Leftovers. She’s also dressing up in Valentino for Mytheresa.com’s Women series, which profiles females with âœgreat style, smarts and creativity”.
LEARN TO TRUST YOUR GUT FEELINGS âœI always tryto listen to my intuition and if I am doing something that doesn’t feel right, I literally feel sick, so I always go with what feels right.â
FACE YOUR FEARS âœIf I have learned anything from my parents, it’s to not be afraid, to ask questions and to grow and take risks.â
EMBRACE THE MOMENT âœWe all get so caught up in our stress and everything that is going on in our lives. Sometimes when you just stop and put everything down, you really are present with someone.â