Luke Hemsworth, actor
As a kid growing up in relative isolation, the reality of being an actor was a dream that I rarely entertained ...
Luke Hemsworth first graced our television screens as the baby-faced drug-dealing footy player Nathan Tyson in Neighbours and went on to appear in a range of shows from All Saints to Blue Heelers as well as the television mini-series Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms. In 2014, he made a successful transition to films and appeared in The Anomaly, Kill Me Three Times and recently Infini, which is screening as part of the Gold Coast Film Festival. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the oldest Hemsworth brother, he went on an indefinite hiatus from acting to pursue alternate endeavours, but much to the delight of audiences around the world, he is back and better than ever. The Weekend Edition Gold Coast caught up with Luke Hemsworth ahead of his visit to the Gold Coast to chat about the pitfalls and perks of acting.
Congratulations on your new film Infini, can you give us some hints as to what we can expect from the film?
Thanks a lot! You can expect the unexpected. I don’t want to give too much away but this is the kind of film that leaves you breathless. You will not be able to get enough air while watching this and when it’s over, you’ll sit there and say, “What the hell just happened for the last 100 minutes?” It’s one of the most wonderfully intense rides into beauty and darkness I’ve ever seen. I still have nightmares about it – nightmares that I love.
The film also features Daniel MacPherson, Grace Huang and Dwaine Stevenson among the cast, were there any memorable moments filming?
Every day on set was memorable because of the intensity of the environment and the cast. The warehouse where we shot was 48-degrees on a good day and we were all wearing spacesuits! The cast were all so committed that if you stepped out of line and weren’t prepared then you would cop a full-on assault from everyone. Shane Abbess (the director) is one of the most complex, brilliant, generous people I’ve ever met. He has the ability to turn ideas on their heads and make the most of every single nuance and moment, all while providing a safe haven in which to express everything you need to. He is an incredible human being and director. There were cast members and crew sleeping on set. Eating, sleeping and working together. I’ve never met a more dedicated bunch of people and the end result is something so special and a piece of work that all involved in should be proud of.
Let’s rewind a bit, did you always dream of being an actor, even as a child?
Yes and no. I always loved acting, film and arts. I love stories and characters and fantastic adventures. But as a kid growing up in relative isolation, the reality of being an actor was a dream that I rarely entertained, excuse the pun, which is why I went to university and got an education and then became a tradesman! I believed I needed a solid background in order to be financially secure. But acting never left me through all that; I kept learning and working for years. But I’m tactile, I like to work with my hands and be involved in making things.
You cut your teeth as a drug-dealing footy player in Neighbours, do you have any favourite memories from the early days of your career?
Those days were amazing, because I knew so, so little about anything. I couldn’t hit my marks to save myself. I actually had one of my first ever days on set at Neighbours with Dan MacPherson and always loved what he did and how generous he was.
You became disillusioned with show business and started a flooring company, what were some of the things that led you to that decision?
I had kids to feed. Having the business allowed me a certain amount of freedom to keep pursuing the acting. As an actor on the edge you are forced to do a lot of tough jobs, labouring, bar tending, night work in order to have time to go to auditions. I had the good fortune to be able to run a little business that gave us a regular income and allowed flexibility.
But now you’re back! How are things different the second time round?
I feel more focused and committed. Financially it’s still a struggle but I think I enjoy acting far more now than I ever did, which makes the sacrifices easier.
What are some of the perks of being an actor?
I love exploring new characters. I love reading, so every script that comes along I meet with anticipation and expectation. Getting to read the scripts of writers and directors is a joy and a privilege.
You’re coming to the Gold Coast for the Gold Coast Film Festival, what are you most looking forward to doing while you are here?
I look forward to showing this incredible film and hopefully if there’s some swell I’ll get a surf because it’s flat where I am at the moment!
What career achievement are you most proud of?
My kids. They’re a full time career!
What’s next for you?
I start shooting the HBO series Westworld soon, which is pretty exciting. And then hopefully Shane and I will get to do some more crazy stuff together.