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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Supanova Supastar-Guest: Andy Mackenzie

Looking through Andy Mackenzie’s resume is like looking through a gang lord’s rap sheet.

Mackenzie has played all types of bad guy imaginable, from drug dealers through to thieves and everything in between. Currently in Australia to promote his latest film – Sushi Girl, which has him playing perhaps one of the most intense bad guys he has yet to play, Mackenzie takes the time out to talk to Rachel Barnes about being typecast and getting to work alongside the actors behind some of Hollywood’s most iconic characters.

Mackenzie has been switching from television to films and back since the beginning of his career. Even though he has worked on some massive television shows from Big Bang Theory toTrue Blood, Mackenzie says the strict scheduling of TV work is not his cup of tea.

“Film stuff is more fun for me, especially in a role like Sushi Girl where it’s kind of a big chunky role so I can actually collaborate with the writer and the director and kind of make something cooler than what is on the page, as opposed to TV where you just want to do it and get out,” he says. “So I enjoy film stuff more.”

Despite the constant movement between the two mediums one thing has remained the same. Mackenzie definitely looks like a bad guy and he has used that to his advantage, playing some of the baddest characters on screen.

“I love playing the bad guy ‘cause it’s so not me so it’s fun for me. I get into some weird dark zone and pretend,” he laughs.

Although it is unusual to find an actor who likes being typecast, Mackenzie is an exception to the rule.

“I am typecast right now at this point and I don’t mind,” he says. “My hair’s long and you can’t really mistake me so when you need somebody like that they call me. It’s kind of a choice that I’ve made so until something comes up that they need to shave my head and clean my face up then I can do whatever. It’s been working well so I don’t know why I would want to change it up.”

And he’s right. Mackenzie achieves possibly his best work yet as one of the lead characters in a film that has taken the film festival circuit by storm – Sushi Girl. Despite an R18 rating on the film Mackenzie didn’t hesitate to commit to the film.

“I picked up the script and I think I got to about page three and I sent them an email saying “I’m in!,” he laughs. “As an actor like this there’s always a project that you’re waiting for or you’re looking for or you’re hoping that something like this will come along. And this came along.”

Mackenzie is not surprised that reviewers are comparing the films’ director – Kern Saxton to Tarantino.

“This is absolutely in that same vein. Kern is weird like that so he’s going to have a great career that’s starting with this movie,” he says.

Mackenzie was so keen on the role that when he signed on there was nobody else in the cast. In fact, the films’ director, writers, and producers were going to film the whole movie over one weekend with friends just for fun. However as the film picked up more and more attention, the cast quickly began to fill with several big name actors. The group spent over a year together getting to know each other before filming even began.

“When we were about to shoot we had seriously gotten my icon dream. It’s me walking into a room where I’m surrounded by Candyman, Luke Skywalker, Atreyu, Frank the Bunny, Lawn Mower Man, Machete, Kyle Reese… this is like ‘woah’,” he laughs. “And here I am, nobody, and I gotta be this badass around all these badasses. So it was a lot of fun and it was pretty cool.”

The cast and crew became one big family over the process and Mackenzie says everyone is excited about meeting up in Australia.

“They’re my best friends right now, I see them every week and it’s been three years since we started talking about this movie,” he says.

This will be his first time in Australia and he simply can’t contain his excitement, but you won’t find Mackenzie cuddling any koalas.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do but I’d love to do some shark diving,” he laughs.

You can catch Andy Mackenzie with entire cast of Sushi Girl at Gold Coast Supanova on April 19-21. Don’t forget to check out the film at the Gold Coast Film Festival on Friday April 19 and Saturday April 20 at 9pm.

Supanova Supastar-Guest: James Duval

Supanova and the Gold Coast Film Festival have joined forces this year to bring the coast one of the best ‘Supastar’ guest line ups that the events have seen. The cast and crew of Sushi Girl– a film that has been said to have so much gore it would make even Tarantino blush – are all hitting our shores for the film’s Australian premiere. Rachel Barnes speaks to one of the stars of the indie film, James Duval about his out-of-the-ordinary role in the movie and his struggle with finding work as an actor.

Starring in films from the likes of Independence Day and Gone in 60 Seconds through to indie classics like Donnie Darko, James Duval has had a very diverse career as an actor and this time it’s no different.

“I’ve been very fortunate over the years to be able to shop around and be in different movies from studios to independents, to genre hoppers and horrors and all types of drama and comedies and I’ve had a really great time,” Duval says.

Despite this Duval says he doesn’t really prefer one type of film over the other.

“When I was younger I did prefer to do little indies and it was fun to go and get on a big set and do things like Independence Day or Gone in 60 Seconds and then go back to these little tiny movies like Donnie Darko where we would be utilising every single resource we had and then still trying to come up with something. What I realised is that I don’t have a preference, I like to do both actually. I just like to work,” he laughs.

With work as an actor always very temperate, Duval is more than excited about the success of his latest project – indie film Sushi Girl. Duval didn’t even hesitate to take on the role of Francis in the film despite the R18 rating and the intense script.

“I read the script and I kind of found it exciting to play the character Francis,” Duval says.

“It’s not a part that I normally would do and in that sense I think I’ve been very lucky, instead of being typecast into one role, I’ve had the opportunity in Francis to grow out of it and tackle various different roles. It’s probably one of the best experiences I’ve had,” he says.

The cast and crew of the film quickly became like family with Duval unable to pick any favourites among the team. “It’s a smorgasbord of favourite actors,” he says.

“I ended up working with some of the best actors ever growing up, and now still, and we’ve all become family – more than just friends. What more could you really ask for? Well, I guess that you guys like the movie,” he laughs.

And if the film’s recent success in the film festival circuit is anything to go by it looks like Duval will be getting his wish. Shooting eight films between the time he had finished shooting Sushi Girl and the time that it hit the festival circuit, Duval was just simply excited to share a film he truly loved with the world.

“That was a pleasant surprise. I was just hoping that people liked it,” he says. “Because I love the movie so much and I love the guys so much it’s exciting for me to meet everybody who loves the movie. There’s nothing better than talking about it,” he laughs.

Duval will get to talk about the film as much as he wants when he hits our shores this week in the lead up to the Gold Coast Film Festival and Supanova. Duval is also excited to meet all of his Australian fans and to get to catch up with people he has worked with in the past or connect with people he wants to work with in the future.

“The thing about Supanova is that there are a couple of other friends that I have worked with over the years so I’ll be happy to be seeing those people and uniting with them as well as mySushi Girl family,” he says. “From Eliza Dushku through to Natalia Kenya, I’ll get to meet these other actors and I’m a big fan of their work.”

In Australia for the first time, Duval is ready to hit our shores. “From everything I’ve head I’m sure it’s going to be an incredible time,” he says.

You can catch James Duval alongside the entire cast of Sushi Girl at Gold Coast Supanova on April 19-21. Don’t forget to check out the film at the Gold Coast Film Festival on Friday April 19 and Saturday April 20 at 9pm.