Australian actor Brenton Thwaites is best known for playing Luke Gallagher in the Fox8 teen drama SLiDE, and Stu Henderson in the soap Home and Away. Now Thwaites is making it big in the US. He stars as Dean McMullen in Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, a remake of 1980 film The Blue Lagoon. Playing a young prince, he also appears with Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, an adaption of Sleeping Beauty due out next year. Kate Waterhouse caught up with the 23-year-old actor to talk about his career, his big break and his famous co-stars.
Did you spend much time with Angelina Jolie while filming Maleficent?
On set we joked around a bit but it wasn't like we went out for drinks and dinner or whatever.
What is she like in person?
She is stunning, absolutely beautiful. I had a great time working with her.
Were Brad and their kids ever on set?
They came in a couple of times but I wasn't working. I was working once when Brad came in. I was doing a stunt so I was all hung up, literally.
Did you always want to be an actor?
Always, even as a little kid. I was fortunate because my mum shared my love of film with me, so we would go to the movies twice, three times a week, and we would watch movies at home. As a teenager, instead of going out we would have these huge movie nights in. But I almost failed drama at school. I hated it. It was all about the history of theatre.
I auditioned for drama extension and didn't get in. I was a horrible drama student at school.
When did you realise you could do it as a career?
When I realised learning the history of theatre wasn't acting; when I realised acting was about delving in and telling stories. I studied drama at the Queensland University of Technology, which was amazing. I can't speak highly enough of that school.
What was your first big break?
My first job on the screen was Sea Patrol, and that was quite intense, but I guess my first big break was SLiDE.
Tell me about your time on Home and Away.
Growing up, I was always adamant that I would never do Home and Away or Neighbours, because as an actor you want to set your path as that serious kind of actor. But my agent gave me this character brief and it was such a great character background, I felt that I could do so much with it. I couldn't say no.
How did you make the transition from the small screen in Australia to the big screen in the US?
I was cast in the film Save Your Legs! and we were filming in India. I wanted to audition for Blue Lagoon, so [actor] David Lyons helped me shoot an audition in the backyard of the hotel. I sent it in and then I landed the role.
Had you seen the original?
No, I had never heard of it before the audition. I told my parents and they were like, ''Yeah, Blue Lagoon!'' and my dad was like, ''Brooke Shields!'' and I was like, ''What are you talking about. What is this?'' I think it was good I hadn't heard of it. It gave me a chance to think fresh and just have my own ideas about it.
What is your dream role?
My dream at the moment is just to be cast as my age. I usually get cast as someone at high school and that's fine and fun and it's great to have the experience but I'd like to delve into being an adult. I'm going to be playing a teenager until I'm 31!
Are you going to base yourself in LA?
I'm staying on a buddy's floor in Newtown at the moment, but things are in the pipeline, which I can't talk about, so I'll head back over to LA when something comes up.
Do you have a girlfriend?
No, I don't have one.
What do you do for fun?
When I'm not acting, I'm at the beach. I like to spend a lot of time in the water, surfing.
What's next for you?
I jumped onto a film called Oculus that we shot in Mobile, Alabama, and stars Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff. It comes out summer next year.
Do you want to return to doing Australian films?
Definitely. It just so happens once you get booked in films overseas, everyone is excited about you in Australia and that it is the natural progression to do something here. It makes it kind of easier to get in the door.
WE WENT TO Ananas Bar and Restaurant, The Rocks.
WE ATE Salad nicoise.
WE DRANK Cappuccino and a latte.
BRENTON WORE White shirt and Levi's jeans.