Off Cut Forty One
CLIFF CURTIS is a New Zealand actor who came to international attention playing Uncle Bully in "Once Were Warriors" and since then has played a list of supporting roles in American films including "Three Kings", "Blow", "Training Day" and most recently "Collateral Damage". He is mostly the 'bad guy'. This interview for the "Weekend Herald" was by Russell Baillie. Because CLIFF'S previous employment prior to working regularly as an actor was as a carpenter, he slips into using this experience to assess the acting world. The result is informative.
"There are things about being an actor that have never really suited my personality. I came into it with a builders attitude and I developed the artistic element." He has recently directed a television series episode and feels he likes the idea of being behind the camera instead of in front of it.
However, in responding to questions, which emerged from discussion of his role opposite ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER in "Collateral Damage" , about always being the guest in the film roles he plays, CLIFF referred back to more builder's analogies. "I come at it with a workers ethic. Stuff like, 'So you're a builder, do you want to build a garage? 'Yeah, okay, I'll build a garage'. That's my craft. That's what I do."
He went on to say, "It's just an opportunity to do what I do and get better at it, and once people stop looking at me as a bad guy they might start to say, 'Actually, he's just a good builder - I got him to do an extension on my house and he was actually really good at that.' 'Oh, really? We'll get him to build the whole house then'."
"I've build enough garages to show I am good at building."
In fact CLIFF is trying to broaden his performance base by playing dad's and detectives and romantic leads when he is home in New Zealand. He is less attracted to being the bad guy in American movies.
Acting in the movies is such a romantic profession that using a craft orientated analogy works very well. It's a very straightforward approach to assessing the actors role.
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