Joel Edgerton: “If I’m going to work for twelve hours a day, I want twelve hours of awesomeness!”
Little known until recently despite key roles in the Star Wars prequels and King Arthur, actor Joel Edgerton came onto a lot of people’s radars with his role in Warrior. He won’t be going away anytime soon, with big roles in The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Great Gatsby all set for release in the next several months. Edgerton spoke to New York about coping with the different off-screen challenges of shooting films and recent roles that he hasn’t been able to land.
After shooting the lavish Gatsby, Edgerton moved on to shooting Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty in the deserts of the Middle East. However, Edgerton confessed he didn’t notice much of a difference in accommodations, saying, “You get treated so well on one set, you have to watch out not to assume that’s your new constant state of affairs. Sure, you’re flying first class for one film, but there might not be the budget to do that next time. And when you’re shooting a movie in the Middle East, the budget is all going to be onscreen. I saw a few scorpions there, but I’m from Australia — we don’t mind critters!”
Despite his recent success, Edgerton doesn’t simply get every role he is offered. He had to pass on a role in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and was in the running for the lead role in The Bourne Legacy that eventually went to Jeremy Renner. On those missed opportunities he says, “I would have happily done Bourne Legacy, but a lot of decisions are made for you. But sometimes, I can’t imagine myself serving the project well, or I don’t find them as challenging. I couldn’t do Eleanor Rigby because it was clashing with another project, something I was going to go do something with Liv Ullmann. But now that’s not going to happen, at least not this year. You make the best choices you can. And my writing fits in between the cracks. Actually, that’s what was a little disappointing about being in Jordan, that I couldn’t plug in my computer and wile away the hours when we were just sitting around. If I’m working on writing and producing a project, then I’m constantly engaged. But when I’m just acting, I might work for five minutes, and then wait for hours for them to reset all the lights and sets to redo one take. If I’m going to work for twelve hours a day, I want twelve hours of awesomeness!”