Actor Julian Curtis is the Spotlight.
Julian Curtis is a 2008 NIDA graduate and is one busy and talented actor that has loads of passion and has marked a steady flow of work in theatre and film. This year alone 2016 he appears in ‘Call of Duty: Infinity Warfare’, ‘Acting Out’ (MTV), ‘The Neon King’ (Cannes Short Corner premiere) and ‘True West’ at the Brisbane Powerhouse that will be opening up August 17th.
He has also received awards for Marten Bequest Traveling Scholarship, Just for Laugh Montreal Finalist. TRAINING: NIDA, Groundlings Writing.
You’d think I’d have a really great answer to this question by now, hey? I really don’t remember to be honest. The answer to why I pursue acting now I’m sure would be a very different answer to teenage Julian. I pursue it now because I genuinely feel like I have something different and special to offer. My experiences, my point of view, my strengths and weaknesses are all part of that package. When I read the role of Austin in True West, I heard my own voice in his journey. I instantly thought now, that’s the kind of role that defines why I continue to pursue this career. It’s the kind of role that fires you up as an actor to think how have I not played this role before?
2. As a NIDA graduate, what would you say is the best experience you had while studying acting there? Do you have any advice for others wanting to audition to study acting at NIDA?
Highlights were innumerable. It is a pretty special place to attend. Visiting directors, elaborate sets to play on… Oh! I got to impersonate Michael Jackson with my own rapper and backup dancers! What I got most out of it is a mental toughness and total lack of inhibition. It takes a lot of confidence (or lack of dignity, ha!) to strip down and crawl around the floor like jungle animals in front of an entire school. That is a special type of humiliation that prepares you for anything this crazy industry throws at you.
It is hard to offer definitive advice based on my own experience because the teachers have all changed and inevitably the taste of the school changes also. All I can offer to prospective students is to be yourself. No-one else is like you so let that shine at your audition. And if they don’t choose you? Welcome to acting. Embracing and learning from rejection is essential to this career.
3. Your career has seen you cast in a diverse and broad range of theatre, film and television roles. What has been the your favourite or most significant role or production for you and why?
The half hour comedy Spooked on HULU in the USA that Bryan Singer (X-Men) produced was a real highlight. I got to lead the cast and the director was so encouraging in enabling me to bring my own quirk to the role. That whole cast also became such good friends. That doesn’t happen on every set; that sense of genuine, long-lasting friendship.
Theatre wise, True West is going to be something pretty darn special. Characters like Austin don’t come along everyday. I also really enjoyed playing the ‘Gentleman Caller’ in the Glass Menagerie at La Boite and I also look back fondly on Harriers at Metro Arts. In Harriers, I played a child soldier and the writer of that play is now the director of True West, Marcel Dorney! It is great to connect with him a decade later.
4. Who has been your main influence or support in your development as an actor?
Definitely my Mother! The poor woman. I think she scratches her head sometimes when all I watch are legal dramas and US political coverage and here I am…an actor! Then there are those mentors who have always been there. Margi Brown-Ash at QTC has certainly been a constant. The sense of play she brings to her own performances is right up my alley. I’d love to act opposite her.
5. You have been LA based for parts of the year for a few years now. What has been your experience of living in LA as an Australian actor? Do you have any advice for any others wanting to do the same?
I love LA! I love everything about it – warts and all. It’s like a mining town but with actors, writers and directors. My advise would be to toughen up. Preserve your vulnerability and sensitivity for your performances. Remember this is a business. A business everyone wants to be involved in. Rejection is never personal so try to not make it so.
6. True West opens later this month with you in one of the lead roles as ‘Austin’. Tell us about your experience of preparing for and rehearsing this role…
There is a lot in this play I identify with so the process has been rather smooth for me. And when the writing is this good, it is just such a pleasure to explore. All the references are recognizable to me having lived in California. Thomas and I are very good friends as well so we have an immediate bond and chemistry that existed before the first rehearsal. The whole process has been such a pleasure.
7. What other roles (film, television or theatre) would you like to have the chance to fulfil in the future?
I try not to hope and dream too much because this career is largely chosen for you. That sounds really depressing but disappointment is not your friend as an actor or a freelancer for that matter. You have to maintain the fun of the game. That can be easier said than done when rent is due, but it is essential.
Having said that, I’ve been developing an original play under Stephen Carelton’s mentorship at University of Queensland. I also have aspirations to direct one day. But for now I’m enjoying all the eclectic roles that seem to hover my way. I can certainly never complain about typecasting because the roles I tend to attract could not be any more different from one to the next.
8 What is your favourite film genre? What are your top five film picks?
Right now I’m all about comedy. The world is so depressing right now that I’m keeping it light. Luckily True West is written so slickly that there is still much humor to discover. I’ve seen Melissa McCarthy in Spy, like, seven times. This is Forty is another one I find is perpetually on repeat. On the more serious side, I love Dancer in the Dark and Boogie Nights.
9. If you were asked to select a director and a cast of four to five actors to work alongside in a theatre production in Brisbane, who would you choose and why?
*brain explodes* After seeing Medea at La Boite, I really wanted to work with Christen O’Leary. True West has ticked that off for me now! There are so many great artists and actors in Brisbane this is an impossible question!
10. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
1. Endless cash. Money might not solve problems but I’d rather cry in a mansion than cry in a tent.
2. Free unlimited health care world wide!
3. Ashton Kutcher announces that Donald Trump was just an elaborate episode of Punked.
17th – 28th August 2016
brisbanepowerhouse.org OR 07 3358 8600