INTERVIEW WITH TEN EMPTY ACTOR DANIEL FREDERIKSEN
BY MATTHEW PEJKOVIC
Empty was your debut lead film role. How
does film acting differ from the worlds of theatre and television
acting, which you have become accustomed to?
FREDERIKSEN: I guess the difference that I felt with it
- especially with this experience - was that it was a bit more
like doing a co-op theatre production, in a sense that everyone
is on the same page. There was very little money so everyone
was doing it for love as supposed to money. Being the lead in
it came with a little bit of pressure. If you are not at all
likeable or if the audience doesn't like your character or at
least understands him, then the whole experience as a movie
goer can be boring. So there was that sort of pressure. But
over all it was such a lovely experience to work with really
nice people who want to be there and help each others performances.
MP: There are many tense, dialogue driven scenes throughout the
film. Was their much in the way of rehearsal before filming?
DF: Yeah, which I think is quite rare for such a low budget film.
Tony (writer/director Anthony Hayes) insisted that we have a
couple of weeks of rehearsal. So we got to go to all of the
locations, and go over all of the scenes before hand and build
a basic kind of map amongst us on how the film was gonna carry
out, which was incredibly helpful.
MP: With Anthony Hayes and (co-writer) Brendan Cowell actors themselves,
were they open to suggestions in terms of character development
on your behalf? Was it a free flowing, collaborative environment,
or strictly by the script film making?
DF: It was very collaborative and free flowing. And I think I have
got to be the first to admit that the character of Elliot was
the least fleshed out of all of the other characters, so I had
no idea what I was doing and I think that those guys didn't
really have an idea on exactly what he wanted to be as well.
So it became a process of trying to figure it out together.
MP: You have stated that you found it tough to identify with your
character. Is that still the case?
DF: Yeah. I mean, sometimes as an actor you read stuff and the character
just leaps off the page. You know exactly who they are and you've
got a particular idea on how you should be playing it. And other
times you read stuff and you've got no idea who this person
is or how they work. I kind of was doing a basic interpretation
of what I got off the script, and I think it was fortuities
that those guys saw qualities in me that they thought would
work well with the character of Elliot.
MP: The suburbs have long been a favourite setting for
film and television productions in Australia. Why do you think
DF: Well a lot of people come from suburbia. It's a large part of
our culture and our environment spending time in those areas.
Plus, with budget constraints and everything else, Australian
filmmakers have to go, "Well, I do want to set this in
a big city and have big shops" and what not, but they just
can't afford them. So you end up bang in a house in suburbia,
and try to make the best with what you can. So I think it is
a combination of a lack of money for filming and an interest
in those kind of characters and that world that most of us come
from, or at least have some ties to.
MP: After Ten
Empty, you scored a supporting role in Ghost
Rider. What was that experience like?
DF: Well, that was actually before Ten
Empty. It was good, a 6 month holiday where
I got paid for the entire six months and only worked for about
a month. So it was great! I got to hang around on set and chat
to Peter Fonda, so it was awesome.
MP: Did he share any Easy Rider stories?
DF: Yeah, he was very forthcoming. He was great!
MP: And in Ten
Empty you shared screen time with another
legend in Jack Thompson. What was he like to work with?
DF: He was great. Really generous, supporting
I think Jack
Thompson is in a position in his career where he doesn't have
to do budget films for equity rates. But he believed in the
project and was involved in it from early on. He really liked
those boys (Anthony Hayes and Brendan Cowell) and really liked
the script so he stuck with it. And he is a really sweet guy,
a really nice guy. Down to Earth, relaxed, and he talked about
important things, such as indigenous issues. He is an old hippie,