Friday, June 27, 2008

M Ward - Live

@Newtown, Sydney

So you ask what magic is? And the roof above you has lights like long red teardrops hanging from it, splashing down stars into the green curve of my beer bottle as I think it over. Magic is light in the night, I say to myself as I look at them glow in the glass and spin them round and round. Like real stars when they come down to you from the real night sky and the truth is they died a long time ago, but they’re still shining, sending out messages in long waves from the times of Christ and Rembrandt and Keats and cowboys and Robert Johnson and way before them all and us.

On stage M Ward is starting his strum and all of a sudden we’re deep inside Bowie’s Let’s Dance – he’s playing it so slow, so spooky, it’s like this poem to a dying thing, not just a love, but what feels like the end of the world.

As it finally passes into silence, people turn to each other and nod. “That’s the best version of that song I have ever heard.”

Ward’s cap is over his face, typically hidden. He has a few hieroglyphic moves, some contrary tendencies - like someone half entertaining and sidestepping us at once - the vaguely arrogant politeness of an early Dylan and a similarly withdrawn quality that goes well with such a big comparison.

It could be The Gaslight, New York, 1961, here, now, tonight. But it’s Newtown RSL, or @Newtown (sick) in Sydney, 2004. Ward knows the dates, both of them. He’s like some bridge in our minds.

Pursuing such greatness is not easy - and as Ward swaps between acoustic guitar and piano there are moments when the night submerges between his dream of history and some big sleep that can’t be conquered. When you just want him to turn the flame on a little brighter. It’s when I see how much of a purist he is, dead set on his path.

Before you know it, though, as he seems to slip and nod, some enchantment or other is suddenly upon you again. Helicopter: the surreal tale of a man escaping through a hole in a wall, a child in his arms. Going To Carolina: which could be about a two-timer getting his comeuppance or a Rimbaud of the American road trying to decide where to call home. Outta My Head: Ward’s own near-hit song, which comes on so sweet and smooth you never want it to stop. Story of An Artist: by the American songwriter Daniel Johnston (to whom Ward pays great tribute), a kooked-out and funny-but-broken song about what it means to live creatively. And It’s A Wonderful World: the title lines so precious and ghosted by Louis Armstrong’s greatness Ward doesn’t sing them - he just goes quiet and gives us the melody like someone or something has passed away but might come back one day (he prefaces it by talking about how hard it is to stay optimistic in America right now, and then says, “this might possibly be the greatest song ever written”).

There’s plenty more: a song where he wants to be a bird; another about a friend who could make his guitar string buzz like it was 1989; notes on Ward’s own guitar that literally run and always make me think of Nick Drake; strokes where it sounds like his thumb has hit a bad place, shaking us from the wooden, shivering fret, back from some acoustic trance into consciousness. Then the piano that goes all dark and silvery when he touches it, delicately, hesitating, like his thinking his own songs over as his plays them; then an old style rag feeling when he gallops and rolls across the keys like the saloon is calling ‘time, ladies and gentlemen, time please!’

And yet in the end this is not a great night for M Ward. No. He’s too slow, too thick in the honey of his own mysterious history: the cracking voices and whispers, the hoarse-but-private confidences and their drowsy wit that colours everything he does in shades of blue and smoky reds. But then Ward’s chasing greatness and greatness doesn’t always come when you call. All of which still makes him the most marvelous company on a cool summer’s night in Sydney when the world is not so right and getting wronger and Matthew Ward is your strange little radio star dreaming of another time.

- Mark Mordue

* Story published in Drum Media. Australia 2004 and Plan B Magazine, UK 2004.

+ Photos sourced from The Rum Diaries,

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nicolas Rothwell's Another Country

Another Country
Nicolas Rothwell
(Black Inc., $32.00)

“As I drive past a wrecked, burning vehicle from some military convoy, or the remains of an IED attack along the Baghdad International Airport Road, or as a roadblock manned by dubious-looking paramilitaries looms ahead, my fingers close around a little piece of ochre I always carry with me as a guardian charm, deep in my coat’s inmost pocket – it is white, with pink hues shot through it, like a constant mineralised, Kimberley dawn: and I see Freddie Timms leaning towards me, handing me this piece of country and murmuring, ‘We’ll be coming with you in your head – you won’t be lonely. Just remember us.’”

Passages like this are littered throughout Another Country, glittering with the same force as the Aboriginal artworks and Pilbara diamonds of the Kimberley region with which Nicolas Rothwell is so powerfully familiar. When it comes to colour, metaphor, historic detail and mysticism, you don’t get better in Australian non-fiction than Rothwell. And yet something is missing.

The above riff from ‘Jirrawun: Beyond the Frontier’ appears late in Another Country. It pinpoints a yearning central to this collection of stories and essays and portraits: to belong, and to feel this belonging through what might be termed ‘a calling’ from people and country itself.

One of Australia’s most fluent and intelligent journalists, Rothwell made his reputation decisively for The Australian during his twenties, reporting from Europe as Cold War divides fell away in the 80s and 90s. His work in America, the Pacific and periodically in the Middle East has only consolidated this reputation and the kind of stellar newspaper grooming that lays the world at your feet.

For him to return in 1996 and ask to be posted to Darwin as The Australian’s northern correspondent shows a uniqueness of character that must have surprised contemporaries. It was not the most obvious career move.

Of course the Territory houses some of this country’s finest non-fiction writers, a reflection of its frontier appeals. Among them the self-styled Hunter S. Thompson of the Top End, Andrew McMillan; Paul Toohey, who Rothwell calls “The Bulletin’s cunning northern correspondent”; and “the wraith-like, anarchistic Chips Mackinolty, sometime stringer for the Fairfax press and a current media svengali of the Labor government of the Territory”. All are members of the wryly named Darwin Foreign Correspondents Association.

Rothwell calls Darwin “the capital of the second chance” and captures a little of what Mackinolty calls “the lotus eating quality about the town”. But he’s better at watching rather than joining in, and it’s the eerie journeys into Aboriginal country and his own isolated reflections that really stun you.

A heady analyst of the world around him, he’s overly fond of flashing his intelligence forward in the odd word certain to send you to a dictionary. His sense of other people’s voices also jars, as if everyone is gifted with the Queen’s English and a perfect philosophical riposte. One senses in these Chatwin-esque flaws how hard he finds it to let the human world permeate him. How much more comfortable he is with landscape and dreams.

Rothwell opens this collection with a statement about “a dream that afflicts the writer and correspondent staring out across uncharted terrain: the dream of total coverage, a kind of Borgesian dream that one’s words will spread out and relate all the stories, all the nuances of landscape and every momentary thought and yearning that has ever been felt by those within it.”

He claims to refute this ambition, to be looking for “another way… the way of chance: a life path that is fragmentary, spasmodic, full of erasures and forgettings, of mirages and missed encounters.”

It’s a manifesto, of course, for a collection of articles like this. But Rothwell, a Romantic, is still bound up in the Borgesian project he claims to reject. He does want to sum it all up. Somewhat detached essays on everything from Aboriginal health to alcohol, violence and social dysfunction dominant the middle of the book: they’re important but they don’t advance the Kapuscinski-like dimensions of Rothwell’s earlier storytelling. His portraits of Aboriginal artists suffer even more by being lined up like so many same-shaped dominos, taking on the standardized hue of the 1000 word newspaper profile.

For all the hints of his inner self, the poetic grandeur, Rothwell is also oddly absent from the work. In a book with so much great writing, it’s as if the frontier he has yet to break through is himself.

- Mark Mordue

* This review first appeared in the Sun Herald Extra, 15th April 2007.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It Ain't the Cool Ones

It ain’t the cool ones
who know what it means to be free
it’s the prisoners of their own passions
hearts bursting through
the buttons of their corduroy jackets
slicking their hair back
through a night full of Bourke Street leaves

Yeah, it ain’t the cool ones
who kiss like the wind is whipping them
then serenity-in-a-breath
like a glimpse of a single star,
o to burn with you when you’re 26 years old
and walking home from the music of a late-night, Taylor Square bar

It ain’t the cool ones who will do that!
who will part on corners
like hieroglyphs in dreams,
who will taste Friday
night in the scent of soft street lights,
turning-on-a-dime straight after it all
then looking back
because they can’t help their ecstasy

It ain’t the cool ones
who will call sooner than they should
who feel their heads bursting with blood
by Sunday, not Monday!
who’ve spent the whole weekend as prisoners
in a universe of songs
that lead to you like maps,
like gravity against a bird’s chest

It ain’t the cool ones
who hand you their corduroy jacket
that Sunday night near 12
happy to breath with you once more,
a poem hidden in the top right-hand pocket,
pulling at their t-shirt after you’ve gone
just to taste the scent of you
again on their shoulder

- Mark Mordue

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lou Reed: Another Brick in the Wall

An interview with Lou Reed about Berlin

Talking to Lou Reed is like trying to communicate with a doorstop. The kind of thing you inevitably stub your toe on. Reed is, of course, notoriously difficult: testy, abrupt, contemptuous of journalists and prone, at best, to dead weight answers that refuse anything akin to conversation. Management demand to see all likely questions before the interview, ‘control’ is the dominant theme once we are actually talking. With a new stage production of his 1973 record Berlin due at St Ann’s Warehouse in New York (December 14-17) and the Sydney Festival in Australia (January 18-20), it was all the more pleasurable to be warned by Reed’s personal assistant just prior to our phone chat that it would be wise to avoid questions about his past. A little difficult, I tried to explain, when we’re supposed to discussing a show based on a 33-year-old recording. The PA sighed as if to tell me ‘don’t say I didn’t warn you’. As for Reed, he would convey a lot by his tone of voice too. Just before we began there was some noise in the background, then the PA said in a rising cry usually reserved for freak waves about to hit a boat, “Here heeeee comes!”

I wanted to ask the obvious question - why return to Berlin now?

'You know, it’s the one question I get asked. Susan Feldman, who runs St Ann’s Warehouse [an arts space in New York] - John Cale and I did Songs for Drella there - always wanted me to do this. I just said, “Yes. Why not? It might be fun.”'

When Berlin came out it in 1973 it got a lot of antagonism for being ‘the saddest record ever made’, for being an ugly record, so I wondered if you if you wanted-

'You mean from critics? Why would I pay attention to that?'

Returning to Berlin now, I thought there may have been a desire, somehow, to be more emphatic about the beautiful side of it in terms of the music and-

'Well it’s [the beauty] always been there. I can’t control what critics say. And I have no interest in it either.'

What about the team around Berlin this time? The influence of people like Julian Schnabel (direction and stage design) and Jennifer Tipton (lighting)? Is there anything-

'Bob Ezrin, the original producer [of the record Berlin], is arranging, and Steve Hunter, the original guitar player is playing. Steve Bernstein has put together the band. I just worked with Steve on a tour where we all did Leonard Cohen songs in Dublin – that was interesting, by the way. And Hal Willner, who I’ve worked with forever - he did The Raven and Ecstasy with me - he’s involved as a music director, him and Ezrin and Steve [Bernstein]. Julian [Schnabel] is doing the sets and directing, and his daughter is doing visuals…'

I’m just interested if you can see any shift in the flavour of what you’re doing because of that team now compared to the original team on the record?

'It’s a similar team. Bob produced and arranged it, Steve [Hunter] played on it.'

How about something like the way Andy Warhol suggested you follow Albert Speers way of lighting Hitler-

'What, what, what, what, what?'

I read when you first toured in the wake of Berlin, Warhol advised you to use Albert Speers lighting techniques – the way Speers lit Hitler – extreme black and white contrasts, extreme spotlighting on you, etcetera. I wondered whether that might have affect what Jennifer Tipton might do?

'Err, wow! That’s an amazing statement. Who knows if that’s true? But it’s certainly not being told to Jennifer Tipton. She’s really accomplished person with the Wooster Group.'

Okay, so you never heard that comment before about the Speers lighting?

'Well I may have, but I certainly haven’t remembered it. You don’t find it funny that you’re asking me, thirty years after the fact - just because you read it somewhere - whether I remember if Andy Warhol said that I should use the same lighting as Albert Speers did? You don’t find that strange?'

No. I don’t find it unusual you don’t remember.

'You do. And that’s what you came up with to ask me about. That’s very funny.'

It’s good to keep you amused. But I was more interested in what Jennifer Tipton and Julian Schnabel might be doing now, beyond the fact they’re simply doing it.

'Well, you’d have to ask them.'

So you’re basically not taking an interest in the staging and lighting?

'(Pause) I pick people that I really love. Like on the records I make, I pick musicians that I like, and I don’t try to change them. I don’t get someone to do something they can’t do - it’s that I like what they do in the first place. I went over a bunch of the sets with Julian, and they’re pretty amazing – actually, it’s staggering.'

Are you able to describe it at all or-

'No. But we’re going to film it.'

What about your musical team? I know you said it was pretty much the same-

'We’re following the original arrangements. I loved them then, and I love them now. I thought Bob [Ezrin] did an amazing job.'

Why does thematic story-telling interest you so much? Obviously you’ve had Songs for Drella and more recently The Raven and-

'I’m interested in writing. Writing married to rock. I’m pretty simple. No big mystery in me. Truly.'

I ask because-

'I mean it’s like saying “Gee, A Streetcar Named Desire is a very depressing play” or “Wow! Hamlet is a depressing play.” Yeah?... You know, [rock ‘n’ roll] recordings are thought of at such a low level. Like “Wow! What’s that doing on a record?” It’s really odd.'

You referred to Hamlet in relation to Berlin when it first came out, and you just mentioned it again then. Why does that link attract you so much? You also used the phrase ‘Hamlet of electricity’ back in 1973 as something you wanted to aspire to.

'I just mentioned it because people think Berlin is depressing just as Hamlet is depressing. I’ll ask you, is Hamlet depressing?'

No, Hamlet is probably my favourite Shakespeare play.

'But everybody dies at the end. What do you think?'

Well one of the things that always interested me about Hamlet was the question of whether he’s neutered and procrastinating, or if he’s driving everything [towards tragedy]. I tend to think he’s driving everything.

'My teacher [the famed American poet and short story writer] Delmore Schwartz said, “One way to think about Hamlet is that he’s drunk.”'

That’s interesting-

'He was joking.'

Well I make a bridge back to Berlin because of the self-destructive themes that have characterised your music. Why that interests you so much, and what you were trying to explore in Berlin - then and now?

'First of all, I don’t think what you said is true. You’re just picking isolated things, for whatever reason. It’s a real potpourri that I do. Song for song, note for note, idea for idea, attitude for attitude, I like to think I have a broader palette than what you said.'

I don’t think I was saying it was the only thing you do, but it’s definitely a theme – sadism, annihilation, loss. Archetypal stuff really – but, focusing on Berlin-

'What about love?'

Love too, yeah. Love is very strong in your work.

'Love, friendship, survival, transcendence, spirituality – what about all of that?'

Yeah true. But what about in terms of the things you were trying to develop with Berlin in particular? Like this talk of wanting to bring Hamlet to music-

'It’s called ‘writing’. And the object is to make a reality with lyrics and music that someone can respond to and relate to. I wanted to tell a story. And I put it in Berlin because it was a divided city and I thought it was a great metaphor.'

That’s interesting because obviously you’ve been associated with New-

'I hadn’t been to Berlin [back then], you know.'

It definitely seems like a state of mind on the record.

'Yeah, well, ‘the Wall’. Of course the Wall is not there now.'

I thought the whole divided city theme wasn’t just a way of looking at a relationship - but clearly, because you’re the writer, it was also a matter of looking at yourself.

'I don’t know. Writing is writing. I never understood it, so if you do, you’re ahead of me.'

Listening to Berlin, I felt you were exploring issues to do-

'With everybody.'

With everybody, yes, and you can’t avoid yourself in these things, I mean-

'Everybody and everything is writing.'

Okay Mr Reed, thank you.

'You’re welcome.'

- Interview by Mark Mordue

BERLIN notes

When Berlin first appeared in 1973 it was criticised for its depressing subject matter and described as “the saddest record ever made”. After the glam rock success of 1972’s Transformer and its hit song ‘Walk on the Wild Side’, Reed had hoped to make Berlin his masterpiece. Critical antagonism along with a mediocre commercial response all but buried the record and his mainstream career. No wonder. Berlin told the love story of two drug addicts in Berlin, using the theme of a city then divided by the Wall to explore themes of addiction, domestic violence, suicide and the destruction of family (‘They’re taking her children away”). Reed played the dark chanteuse - almost talking us through his vignettes at times – in a recording that seemed as close to Cabaret as rock ‘n’ roll. Berlin has since grown in stature to the point where it is now regarded as one of his finest recordings. It was originally produced by Bob Ezrin, then the whiz kid behind Alice Cooper’s School’s Out and Billion Dollar Babies and much later Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Reed’s new stage production of Berlin brought Ezrin back to the fold as a music director, along with Hal Willner, best known for the Leonard Cohen tribute Came So Far For Beauty. It also utilised the talents of Julian Schnabel, the film director behind Basquiat and a famous painter in his own right, who worked on stage design and overall direction; and Jennifer Tipton, renowned for her lighting work with the experimental theatre company The Wooster Group. It was, in every way, a raging and incandescent success. Julian Schnabel has since turned the series of concerts that took place for Berlin at St Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn into a documentary, Lou Reed's Berlin. M.M.

* This story appeared in various edited versions in Rolling Stone Australia, December-January 2006-07, New York Magazine, USA December 11, 2006, and The Word, UK February 2007. None of the abbreviated versions quite caught the full affect of the unexpurgated transcript above.

Guy Pearce: Reverse Magnetism

He's walking through a shopping mall, the space around him strangely emptied. A movie star, unrecognised but still emanating a presence that isolates him from the crowd.

I look down from the mezzanine level above and immediately spot Guy Pearce. And then I quickly turn my head away. I guess magnetism has its inverted qualities too.

Pearce has a light walk, is slightly bearded and blazingly lean, as if freshly recovered from an illness. Dressed in sandals, cargo pants and a loose T-shirt, he could be a refined castaway just returned to civilisation, a little lucky to have made it back and not so sure of his place any more.

Today he is privately screening his film Memento for family and friends at a small theatrette in Melbourne, the town he still prefers to calls home over Los Angeles (a city he says he hates in almost every press cutting you care to read). It's an intimate occasion and a proud one for the 33-year-old actor whose career has taken curious turns since his first role as Mike Young "the dag in Neighbours" and that flash of international stardom that followed his role alongside Russell Crowe in L.A. Confidential.

An existential thriller, Memento tells the story of Leonard Shelby (Pearce), who suffers a rare form of memory loss after being knocked unconscious during a violent attack that leaves his wife raped and murdered. Told though flashback and constant narrative rewinds, the film is presented as a fractured kaleidoscope of shifting meanings while Shelby attempts to track down his wife's killer.

Masterminded by the English director Christopher Nolan, whose script won the screenwriting award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Memento has been hailed as a return to the elliptical, sophisticated storytelling of British arthouse directors such as Nicholas Roeg and Lindsay Anderson. Pearce haunts the film with a dynamic that alternately chills and aches, an acting tour de force that imbues a sometimes disorienting experience with a much-needed emotional core.

After the screening, Pearce's intellectually disabled older sister Tracey makes her way through a crowd of friends who have gathered around him. They part like the Red Sea as she demands to know where her drink is.

Suddenly, he's the obedient younger brother, breaking his conversation to go the bar while she storms along behind him. "All right, love," he sighs good-naturedly. "It's coming, it's coming!"

The next day I ask him how his sister had coped with such a demanding film, and its portrayal of him as a psychologically damaged figure. "To be quite honest, when Mum told me she was going to come I kept thinking, 'Oh poor Tracey. She is going to be bored immediately. She's not going to like it.'

"I mean, I went to see Chicken Run with her and she had to knick out three times for cigarettes. That's my sister. So I thought, 'She's going to come to Memento, I'll have to sit up the back with her, and we will have to go out and just go for a wander around the shopping centre.' But she stayed in there the whole time.

"It's weird. I don't know what Tracey thinks. I mean, I remember years ago her being so confused when I rang her while Neighbours was on [the TV]. And it really spun me out for ages that it confused her so much. So trying to ascertain her perspective on things is pretty interesting. She didn't offer anything up to me about Memento, but she more than likely will in the next 12 months out of the blue."

When Pearce and I meet over coffee at the Royal Botanic Gardens, he has just been walking Zelda, a basenji, a barkless African hunting dog that likes to climb trees. Back home are two cats called Dudley and Gabriel and another dog who's "just visiting".

Pearce lives with his wife Kate Mestitz. They were married three years ago, inviting friends over for a housewarming party and surprising them instead with a wedding ceremony. They're now feeling peer-group pressure to start having babies and it's a pressure Pearce clearly resents.

"The thing is I have a lot of pride in is my ability to be responsible. But I must admit that as I get older I am wanting to be the 18-year-old I never was. Which is embarrassing: I'm 33, and now I want to do irresponsible things? As everyone else I know is getting older and becoming responsible, I'm going, 'f ... kids. I'm not having f ...... kids!"'

Yet the idea of family clearly means a lot to Pearce. His father was a test pilot who died in a plane crash aged 39. Pearce was just eight, and suddenly found himself the man of the house.

"After Dad died, Mum didn't say, 'Right, you have to be responsible, you have to be the man of the family, you have to be this.' She didn't say that. Instead she said, 'Oh it's great you are so responsible. It's so helpful you are so responsible."'

He dives into the memory of that conversation. "'Oh yeah, right, right, I am. I am responsible. She's seen something in me. OK, I will carry on with that."'

He pauses. "I'd hate to say something as corny as that being the catalyst for me going, 'Right, I have to act to save the situation'. But I just think in line with Dad being gone and me spending a lot of time in my room on my own just drawing and painting and singing and creating an imaginary world that was in some ways more enjoyable than this responsibility that I had that something was created."

I press him about acting and what it means to him in light of all this. His response is distinctly ambivalent. "I don't know. I think about acting every day: why you do it, what you are actually doing, and if it's some form of release or if it's just perpetuating some childish or childlike part of your personality.

"The funny thing is, this continual or perpetual anxiety that I feel about it which may just be about me and not about work makes me question the whole idea of getting out of acting. If acting is some sort of therapy or expression that is there because of a struggle in me, then obviously when I grow out of that struggle I won't need to do it any more. I'm curious to know what that happiness will mean.

"I also struggle with it because I know there are brilliant actors out there who don't have half the success that I seem to have had. I know they must be thinking, 'How can Guy Pearce even sleep at night?' I just feel embarrassed about my success."

It's rare that unease with stardom is anything but a cliche among Hollywood actors. Only the likes of Sean Penn and Gary Oldman spring to mind as personalities genuinely at war with their own charisma. But Guy Pearce is precisely that kind of figure.

"I actually had Gary Oldman tell me he was a big fan of mine," says Pearce, shaking his head in disbelief. "And I'm like, 'I don't know if I can accept this'.

"I just never thought, for some reason or other, that I would ever get that respect, let alone work with people like Kevin Spacey and Tommy Lee Jones."

He's not alone in that. When Pearce left Neighbours after four years on the show he was just 22, a former teenage body builder who had barely passed his HSC. Pantomime work and mediocrity, or oblivion, seemed assured.

Sure enough, the children's theatre and bad films followed, but so did something completely unexpected. He took on the role of a drag queen in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1996), against all the advice that a gay part could damage his status as a sex symbol.

It was a career-changing role. The film became his kitsch calling card on an Abba-obsessed world, and led to the part of Ed Exner, the conniving, overconfident young cop in L.A. Confidential (1997), a role that launched him as an international matinee idol opposite a seething, thuggishly fragile Crowe.

Since then, Crowe has trodden the highest ground imaginable in Hollywood, culminating in last month's Oscar win. Meanwhile, Pearce has made some odd choices: Woundings (1998), Ravenous (1999), A Slipping-Down Life (1999), all independent efforts, quirky stories, off-centre roles. Only last year's Rules of Engagement stands out commercially, but even then, Pearce was in the background in a character role.

With Memento, though, he's picking up some rave reviews. Suddenly, Pearce is back in contention as an actor with that elusive quality Hollywood power-brokers like to call "heat". He is currently slated to star in a remake of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by the writer's great-grand-nephew Simon Wells. The Count of Monte Cristo is also coming up for international release, a mainstream epic with Pearce playing "the bastard" opposite Jim Caviziel.

It's hard not to wonder if Pearce has been deliberately taking the hard road up till now. And when I ask him if he is simply afraid of stardom, he says "Yeah".

But, after a long pause, he adds: "I have to be honest and say my ego is saying go for it, to listen to what my American agent wants me to do. But I think the Neighbours experience and I wasn't even in the front line like Kylie and Jason were was really enough for me.

"If I can just find a line somewhere between the independents and the mainstream, I'll be happy. Quite often people will say to me that this or that is not a good career move. But the people who work for me know I will do what I want to do. And when I come across something like Memento and see that it takes me into another world, that it's original and innovative, well of course I will want to go there.

"It's funny, you know, a lot of people say to me, 'Oh God, you've obviously given up acting after L.A. Confidential. Russell went on, but you didn't?"' He laughs at this outrageously and responds to his imaginary interrogator. "'No mate. You've really got no idea why I do what I do, or how I operate at all'.

"I just love the idea of coming out of the woodwork, saying, 'Here I am, this is what I am offering: whammo!, Seen it? OK. Goodbye'."

- Mark Mordue

* Story first published as Making Pearce - Not a Mainstream Guy in The Age, Melbourne, 15th April 2001.

+ Photo of Guy Pearce at top of story by Ed Van-West Garcia

+ Following photo from Memento