HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The conversation begins casually while Joel Edgerton admires a few paintings in the room. Wondering whether it is just limited to admiration, a question juts out, so, such artwork fascinates you? With a prompt response he says, “I really wanted to be a painter when I was young, I enjoyed creativity and was good at drawing and painting.”
But who knew he would discover his passion in acting? “Later on I realised I wanted to become an actor. When I was 16, I went to Texas to do a play and that bug (acting) caught me, which became infectious.” After high school, he attended drama school in Australia and worked in theatres. He thought someday he’d become an actor and travel the world. Little did he know, his wish was on the path to be fulfiled. His journey thereafter began in Hollywood with Star Wars’ episode two and three when George Lucas, Creator of Star Wars series visited Australia. “On my 25th birthday, my brother gave me a DVD player in the morning. It was the best gift ever, later in the evening, I got a call saying I got through the audition and got a role in Star Wars, now this became the best gift ever,” Edgerton says with a huge smile.
He never imagined he’d work in Hollywood, being from a small town in Australia. But Star Wars took him to the US and opened many doors. He then worked in films like King Arthur,The Thing, and Warriors among others and a recent addition is The Great Gatsby, to be released on December 25, 2012. “Working in such movies has changed things and has proffered me lots of opportunities.”
Edgerton is a man of various facades and is not limited to Hollywood. He owns a company called Blue Tongue. Everyone in the team fulfiled different roles. Edgerton, his brother and a friend made the first short film called Loaded. Without any formal film making training, they completed the film in a year by working on a script and with a burrowed video
camera from a university. “We did that to create work opportunities, but we didn’t realise how much we loved making movies.” Since then they haven’t stopped telling stories through the lens.
As a child, Edgerton was into theatres and one of the reasons was the attention he got from his parents. Gradually that changed, he later began acting because he loved it. Love of acting always yearns for a dream role and Edgerton is not different. “Dream role is to find anything that challenges me outside my normal life and play complicated characters. And role in The Great Gatsby is a dream role.”
He would also love to do Shakespeare play, but believes in walking the talk than otherwise.
Edgerton is perhaps living many people’s dream; walking on the red carpet, thousands of flashes and
all the attention. But what does he feel about it? Is it that easy? What about the scrutiny? “Actors’ life look glamourous, but there is more to it than just that. Tabloid media perhaps think that actors have steel ego, but people do get hurt. Yet being in the public eye comes with a price,” he says.
As for Edgerton, there hasn’t been nasty things mentioned about him and he guards his privacy. But he recalls when Warrior didn’t make it big in the US box office. “To me Warrior is the film I am most proud of, but in America, it wasn’t a huge box office success and it made me very disappointed.” He then reminded himself there is no point dwelling on it and he got over it.
He explains, “Narcissism exists in everyone particularly actors, we are constantly looking for validation for the work we do and I am no different, I am very human about that, but I have to resist. It’s a waste of time!” And he jovially adds for a way out with the scrutiny, “I will not become too famous.”
As a writer
If you are thinking he is just an actor then think twice, because he is also a writer. He loves writing as a writer has the freedom to create characters and a separate world. but if he had to choose between being a writer and actor, what would it be? “My ego would perhaps choose to stay an actor, but I hope to have the strength to choose the writer. I hope no one makes it do that,” Edgerton says earnestly. He emphasises if you are a writer, you constantly engage in work and live long and tell many stories. But being an actor is not easy as he explains, “To be honest, an actor is like a small part of a big puzzle and it’s really frustrating at times. There is a lot of waiting and hard work involved.”
Visit to Nepal
Admits all the queries, one question remains, why is he in Nepal? “I want to help others and make a stronger connection to a foundation or charity. Knowing about the The Fred Hollows Foundation which has been working with Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, I want to contribute something and for a first hand experience about their work, I am here.” Moreover, he wants to make the best use out of it.
He imagined Nepal as a mountainous version, but he was surprised to see it is more than that. He stayed in Bouddha for few days and travelled to Hetauda as part of the foundation’s work and he couldn’t resist capturing pictures for memories. “I was avoiding doing that because I didn’t want to look like a tourist, but I did,” he says sharing a light moment.