Was there a film that inspired you?
CURTAIN The “Hills Have Eyes” remake. That’s a really nasty little movie, but also it’s quite beautifully shot. It’s out in the desert and the gore is really good and there’s action to it. Besides that, it was classics like “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” — what I think they call hicksploitation.
Thomas, why did you take this role?
THOMAS ROACH Sam and I were out having drinks when he pitched me the idea. As soon as he said “lead,” he had me. [Laughs] I was concerned with the extreme nature of the role and what it would take to get it done. I probably did underestimate that, because it was quite demanding in the end, physically and emotionally.
It was as grueling as it looks?
ROACH Yeah. I spent a large portion of the shoot with these big, heavy appliances over my eyes and I couldn’t see at all. That was quite isolating. Between takes you’re just sitting in darkness and you don’t know what’s going on around you. It’s strange how quickly you withdraw into yourself. I found myself not really contributing to conversations around me because I didn’t know where anyone was. I just sat there. I had to be taken like a toddler to the toilet.
I wanted to spend the movie acting like I was in a state of shock. I was shivering and tensed up and hyperventilating for a lot of it. Before we’d start rolling, to the chagrin of everyone on set, I’d go into a coughing fit and get to the edge of where I would vomit and then be like, ready to roll. You end the day sore all over.
Is there something uniquely Australian about the film?
CURTAIN The Australian characters, these big burly blokey-blokes with thick Aussie accents.
ROACH The whole “Crocodile Dundee” bloke — maybe outside of Australia they think everybody’s like that. We wanted to turn that on its head. The archetypal characters we have in our movie are quite toxic. The landscape is also a character. The real antagonists are the elements, specifically Tasmanian.
Thomas, would you be in a movie like this again?
ROACH Would I do it tomorrow? No. I’m either a glutton for punishment or an idiot, but I would do it again.