Eamon Farren: Heart of Darkness

From transvestite to teenage killer accomplice, no one can accuse Queensland born actor Eamon Farren of choosing easy roles.  While building an international reputation for his striking looks and intense performances, Eamon is returning to the Gold Coast – the city of his childhood and adolescence – for the tour of his new film Girl Asleep.  Eamon exchanged emails with Blank’s cultural editor Natalie O’Driscoll about how it feels to be returning for Gold Coast Film Festival.

A few years ago you described Jennifer Lynch’s Chained as being a career highlight.  Has anything since surpassed that experience?

Chained has been and will always be very special to me for many reasons and over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate to have found myself working on other great projects and with incredible people. Two of which are Switzerland and Carlotta. Switzerland is a play I did last year with the Sydney Theatre Company. It’s a brilliant two-hander that tells the story of the last few days of author Patricia Highsmith’s life. It’s a dark, witty thriller imagined by Joanna Murray-Smith. In it, I got to work opposite one of ‘the greats’ in Sarah Pierse and loved every minute of it. Another project I’m so proud to have been involved in is Carlotta. Apart from being an incredibly important story, it was lead by the incomparable Samantha Lang who gave me the opportunity to play Ava opposite Jess Marais’ Carlotta. It was the kind of shoot that was all at once intense, hilarious, inspiring, heartbreaking and magical. And as a Gold Coast kid, it was so awesome to meet another Gold Coaster – Carlotta herself. I won the AACTA award for that role and I will always be incredibly proud of that film and everyone who threw their hearts into making it.

Tell us about your character in Girl Asleep, and what connected you to him?

I play Adam in the film. Adam is a pretty cool customer with as much 70’s swag and ‘tude as anyone can handle. He’s Greta’s sister’s older boyfriend and I think, to Greta is a representation of male sexuality. What Matt (Whittet, the film’s writer and star) and Rosemary (the film’s director) have done so beautifully, is create a story about adolescence. It’s a story that explores that time in everyone’s life when you careen toward adulthood with your childhood still hanging on for dear life. It creates fears, excitements, explosions and feelings that seem bigger than everything. And Adam is just one part of that. Another part is Adam’s alter-ego Benoit Tremet, the incredibly talented French crooner. I loved playing Benoit and got to employ some muscles I developed in Benowa State High’s French Immersion Programme.

Having worked with Matt, Rose and Windmill Theatre on the stage version of this show, it was an honour to watch them create a whole new machination of the story for film. I’m very proud of what Rose and Matt and everyone involved have created. It’s also just awesome to watch Bethanny and Harrison (the film’s stars) knock it outta the park.

How do you feel when you bring a film to the Gold Coast, where you started to tread the boards? 

I was born in north Queensland and moved to the Gold Coast when I was six. The GC was where I went to school and spent most of my adolescence so I’m so stoked and think it’s fitting that Girl Asleep plays the Gold Coast Film Festival. I started acting on the Gold Coast and owe a lot to its theatre community and local film industry for giving me the opportunities to do what I love. From Lost in Yonkers to The Crucible and Blackrock – I had a blast. And to have a film I love come home to screen feels really great.

I understand you’re jettsetting at the moment.  What’s happening right now and what’s next on the agenda for 2016?

So far this year I’ve been spending some time in the US and UK for work. Coming up this year, I’m in a movie called Lion starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman – it’s an amazing story and I can’t wait to see it. We are also taking Switzerland down to Melbourne for a season at the Melbourne Theatre Company in September and then I’m off to New York for the Sydney Theatre Company’s Broadway season of The Present starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxborough and directed by John Crowley which will be a Goldy kid’s dream come true.

The Gold Coast Film Festival runs 31 March – 10 April 2016. Girl Asleep screens Friday 8 April, 6.00pm at The Arts Centre Gold Coast plus Sunday 10 April, 1.00pm at BCC Coolangatta. For the full program, visit gcfilmfestival.com.

Get tickets for Girl Asleep here.

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