Having first noticed the now established screen idol Richard Roxburgh in a cool but hardly seen 1994 romantic drama (TALK) filmed in Newtown, he has flipped effortlessly from stage to screen over almost three decades. I first met him in 1998 after the Sydney Film Festival premiere of the extremely ordinary, In the Winter Dark, when we discussed equally terrible wigs. Despite being on the soundtrack, Richard tells me he has not kept up any singing since Moulin Rouge: “I wouldn’t inflict that on anybody, although my wife was a soprano in Italy and our sons have received their mother’s genes.” His new film GO! is a family action feel-good teen romance, good old-fashioned Australian story, now in cinemas.
Why do you think it is that Australian films rarely enjoy major box office success?
RR – Some of it may be advertising dollars allocated to Australian content or literally do not have the resources to support titles sometimes.
How did you get the part of Patrick in GO!
RR – Fortunately I do not have to audition for projects in Australia, I say fortunately because I am really horrendous in auditions. Was sent script, met Director Owen who worked on TV ‘Top Gear’ then said yes.
Did you do go-kart training or were you already a go-karter?
RR – Certainly never been a go-karter (laughs). It’s incredible fun driving those things, they really move fast. I had proper supervision, it was fun.
Are there any extreme sports you have an interest in?
RR – Started to get a pilots license as I love the feel of flying in a little aircraft – essentially a piece of farm equipment in the sky. However hang-gliding is my one danger sport. Keen to do with my older son, a father and son glide.
Who stood out amongst the young cast members to work alongside?
RR – All the young adult ensemble were on time, humble, creatively engaging. Especially as for many, it was their first feature. Anastasia Bampos and Darius Amarfio Jefferson are outstanding while I think William Lodder could be anything, star presence with exceptional talent.
Has it changed much in the industry for young actors to break through?
RR – There are a lot more TV or film opportunities than ever. Straight out of drama school, I immediately entered a theatre company. So many of this generation don’t go to dramatic art institutions, they go through Neighbours or Home & Away. Frankly, they’re fantastic training.
What brings out your sense of adventure?
RR – Always loved travel, getting out and about seeing where new trails take me. I’m off to India soon for a project, Shantaram, an epic adaptation of a great tome of a book. That prospect excites me.
Reunited with Frances O’Connor in Go! – 23 years after Thank God he met Lizzie (1997).
RR – Yes how wonderful but the weird thing is, although we are both in the film, sadly I didn’t see her. Fran literally flew out the day I arrived. Also in GO!, my dear mate Daniel Wyllie departed the day I arrived.
Filming in scenic Western Australia must have been a bonus?
RR – What it is about Western Australia is they have an incredible active film commission rolling their sleeves up to intelligently contribute to an abundance of Australian films, which is sadly lacking in other states, New South Wales included. Such sensational diverse location there, I filmed three films in WA recently. Looking for Grace (2015), Breath (2017) & GO!
Is it a challenge for you to perform or act or not at all?
RR – No, I absolutely love it to bits still. I guess the only thing I don’t love is to be away from family for extended location shoots. Recently I filmed in Lithuania and put in a seven week rule to get back and see them.
In your own words, describe GO! Why should people see it?
RR – It’s a beautiful, fresh film with a big heart that’s full of great Australian character spirit. Shot against a stunning backdrop with an array of terrific local talent. There’s always a place for these feel-good movies.
GO! (102 min, Rated G) is in cinemas now.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.