Most actors would be overjoyed to be offered film roles without having to audition, but Joel admits that his insecurity makes him want to have that opportunity to prove himself and get “that pat on the head” from a director:
"There’s a certain security in auditioning for movies because by the time you’ve arrived on set, you know the battle has been fought and won, that you deserve to be there. But when I just get asked to do a job and turn up, I have a week or two of uncomfortable paranoia, of thinking, ‘Fuck, are they happy with me?’"
Whether or not Joel ever gets to reprise his role as Uncle Owen in the new “Star Wars” films, he’ll always be the original Owen Lars. Looking back on those days, he’s comically self-deprecating about how he came to be cast in the role, saying it had nothing at all to do with his acting ability, and everything to do with his chance resemblance to Phil Brown who was playing the older Uncle Owen.
Joel claims the casting director took one look at him and excitedly said to herself, “That’s a very chubby-cheeked, small-eyed man that could double for Uncle Owen!” and promptly gave him the job. :-)
“The chubby cheeks, the almond-shaped eyes, a round head – physically, I could use Phil Brown as a guide to what I’ll look like when I’m in my mid-50s,” Joel says. “I’m like a mini-Phil Brown.”
Classic style, elegantly worn….
— Joel Edgerton at the LA premiere of “Felony”
Joel is one of those people who is always disgustingly full of energy and always doing something. “I have a hard time sitting still and relaxing,” he admits. This was true even on the set of “Exodus.” After very long exhausting days of driving speeding chariots and filming massive battle scenes in the desert heat, Joel would still be raring to go. Ben Mendelsohn, Joel’s longtime but decidedly less active friend and co-star, reports that:
"Joel keeps going. He is an energiser bunny. We’d be in our Egyptian regalia and then Joel would go and do his hundred laps of the pool [to maintain] the Ramses God-on-Earth routine and I’d be having a nap poolside."
Photo: Joel emerging from a dip in the sea during the filming of “Exodus”
“I know that a lot of us actor guys are always looking for the next cool thing we can do, and I just thought it was strangely cool about how uncool this movie was.”
“It was exciting and was kind of thrilling for me. … As a guy, often you kind of have these handholds through your career. And a lot of it is it’s easier to lean on emotions like anger. It’s easier to play aggression and malevolence on-screen often than to hit softer notes.”
"We can make great movies and we can also make terrible movies, but when we do make great movies, we still don’t have a lot of money to build a PR campaign around them. It’s also why particularly back home, local people can often look at our own movies as smaller than movies made offshore. It’s simply because we don’t have the dollars to push it when it counts."
— Joel (and Nash) Edgerton lamenting the difficulty of convincing Australian audiences to support Australian-made films
“Human beings, I think – and I’m one of them anyway….we want, want, want – more, more, more — all the time and it’s very easy to just kind of go, ‘Okay, got that. What’s the next thing?’ And every now and then I stop and I go, ‘I am a very lucky human being,’ because I had this dream and this desire to do a thing, some bunch of people out there are letting me do it on a level that I never imagined they would let me do it at, and life is like a grand adventure.”
— Joel Edgerton on his gratitude for his burgeoning acting/writing/directing career
An admitted workaholic, Joel says he finds it difficult to just sit around and do nothing during the long waiting periods on a film set, and usually fills the time by industriously writing story treatments and scripts. He started fleshing out “The Square” in Ireland whilst filming “King Arthur;” spent many hours in the desert during “Zero Dark Thirty” revising the script for “Felony;” and wrote “Weirdo,” the film he plans to direct next year, whilst filming “The Thing” in Canada.
Describing life on a film set, he says, “It’s very mundane, in general. There’s a lot of waiting around. As an actor, you’re not using your brain all day long.”
"You’re often just waiting around on set for hours waiting for lights to be set up. There’s a responsibility on yourself to fill that time somehow.”
— Photos: Joel trying various ways to kill some time on the set of “The Great Gatsby”
[click for high-res]
"I have been an admirer of Joel’s for some time. We didn’t know each other prior to this film. When I read the script, I did notice his name on the front page and it did definitely intrigue me…"
"It is fun to get to do the big blockbuster films as well, but as an audience member I respond to this kind of cinema a little more. It is more in line with the kind of film that intrigues me and gets me putting my feet up. It was very refreshing."
"I was just very lucky to be a part of it. To be honest, it was probably one of the most fulfilling personal experiences that I have had. No frills, but no bullshit either. It shows you don’t always need a big budget to have a lot of fun."
— Jai Courtney discussing “Felony” and its creator and co-star, Joel Edgerton