Interview With Luke Arnold of Broken Hill
by Laura Tucker
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The musical drama Broken Hill is screening in limited locations worldwide this fall, being compared to movies such as The Last Dance, Billy Elliott and August Rush. It stars up-and-coming Australian actor Luke Arnold as a sheep herder in the Australian Outback, dreaming of being a great musician. Arnold is currently traveling across the globe promoting the film and took some time out to answer some questions for me.
Laura Tucker: Playing someone with musical inspirations in Broken Hill, do you have any musical inspirations of your own? If not, how did you connect with the part of Tommy?
Luke Arnold: Unfortunately, as much as I love music, my talents do not equal my passion. I do own a ukulele, which I play whenever I can, but it definitely isn’t the coolest instrument in the world. I guess while playing Tommy my other artistic aspirations were substituted for his love of music. I definitely understand his obsessions. For me it’s a general love of storytelling through film, theatre and writing, and just like Tommy, I have a lot of ideas and aspirations that don’t always sound practical to everyone else.
Laura Tucker: Tommy risks a lot trying to impress Kat. What’s the biggest thing you’ve done trying to impress someone?
Luke Arnold: Ha ha. In primary school I used to do my own one-man shows, but I don’t think they ever impressed anyone. I’ve tried writing songs for girls, but they would probably be more impressive if I knew how to sing. Once I had to pick my girlfriend-at-the-time up from the airport and I came dressed in wrapping paper. I don’t know what she thought, but the other people at the airport were more impressed with how stupid I was willing to look.
Laura Tucker: Did you pick up any acting advice working with Academy Award Winner Timothy Hutton?
Luke Arnold: Working with Timothy was incredible. I had so much to do on this film, and there was so much happening around me, that it was sometimes hard to remember to settle into each moment. Timothy carries such a calm, but intense, energy. Working with him showed me that no matter what is happening around the rest of the set, you need to respect yourself as an actor and take the time to drop into character before you even start the rehearsal. He was a really generous actor to work with, and a real honor for my first film.
Laura Tucker: Broken Hill has been compared to movies like Save the Last Dance, Billy Elliott, and August Rush. How do you feel it compares?
Luke Arnold: Like all those films, I think it responds to people that not only have a passion for music, but a passion for anything. Dancing and playing music is such a dynamic way to express yourself, but Broken Hill (and all the movies you’ve mentioned) can relate to anyone who knows that there is one thing that makes them happier than anything else, but feel like it is just out of their reach. I think the setting of Broken Hill is what really sets it apart. For Tommy, he not only has to go up against his Father and the those around him, but also the remote location where he finds himself. The other difference is that Tommy cannot express his music himself. He writes it, but he need to find the musicians who can perform it to the world.
Laura Tucker: Reading your bio, I see you got into acting at the age of 18. What would you be doing right now if not turning to acting back then?
Luke Arnold: I think I would still be mixing in very similar circles. If I wasn’t the one out there saying the lines, I think I’d be trying to write them, or be the one behind the camera. Luckily I’ve had some great opportunities in the acting world while I’m young, giving me more time to work on my writing and directing skills before I put them to the test. I don’t think I’d be very good as an accountant or a scientist. I like to use my imagination, and I think it’s taken over the mathematical part of my mind.
Laura Tucker: What’s next for you?
Luke Arnold: I’ve had a great couple of months promoting Broken Hill, with more to come into the new year. I’ll have another film coming out in 2010 too, but as far as the next actual job, I’m not sure. I’m going to spend the holidays relaxing and preparing for the new year, but I’ll have a hard time finding a job as fun and rewarding as Broken Hill was.
Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com
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