In the upcoming darkly comedic thriller from Aussie director Kriv Stenders, Luke Hemsworth plays Dylan, a good guy caught in a bad situation. He falls for Alice, a sweet girl that lives in his small town, despite her being taken her sleazy, abusive boyfriend Jack. When Nathan starts to finally catch on to what’s happening, he orders a hit on his wife, leaving Dylan with no choice but to take up arms and avenge his love, leaving his naive self behind to become the kind of man that’s capable of taking lives. Full of interesting twists and turns, Kill Me Three Times is one of the most entertaining films in recent memory.
A few days ago, I was lucky enough to sit down and have a talk with Luke Hemsworth about his latest project. In the interview, Luke talks about what it’s like working with Alice Braga, what it’s like to work with firearms, and his love of surfing.
Kalyn Corrigan: How did you come to join this film? Were you approached by the director, or did your agent ask you to audition? What was the process like?
Luke Hemsworth: Uh, both actually. I spoke to Kriv and had a great little Skype chat with Kriv about the project and what we thought about it and kinda fell in love with him. And it didn’t really work for a little while and then I came back to do some chemistry reads with Alice and I’ve never met Alice before, but my brothers both had so it was kind of uh, there was a familiarity there, which was really easy. The chemistry was great, it was very relaxed and it felt right.
KC: Did she join first or did you?
LH: She’d been attached right from the start, I think. Maybe a year or two, they were trying to get the project up and running. Actually, when we met again she said our chemistry felt you know good and a little bit better than the others, so that was nice.
KC: Was that chemistry instant, or was it something that grew over the course of filming?
LH: I think both. I think there’s an instant chemistry. I think there’s always like, like the psychology of dogs. When you meet someone, there’s an initial reaction and then as you get to know them, things change, things deepen, or they go the other way. You can always kind of tell in those first few moments whether or not you’re gonna get along, and we got along, and then we became great friends.
KC: What kind of affect do you think that had on the film?
LH: I think a huge effect. I think it just makes everything so much easier when you spend so much time together waiting and talking and going through things and helping each other with scenes, and it just creates an underlying tone which can otherwise not be there. It definitely helped me.
KC: What was your relationship like with the rest of your costars? I know you worked with Callan Mulvey previously.
LH: Yeah, great, I love Cal. We’re still good friends to this day, we actually went to his, well, I didn’t go, but the rest of my family went to his son’s play recently. I loved the cast, we had a great relationship with Simon, Sullivan I’m still friends with as well. And Bryan Brown, I kind of felt like he was a member of my family, like he was my uncle or something. There was instantly an affinity there, yeah, odd and awesome at the same time. You spend your life looking at these people, emulating them, and all of a sudden you’re talking to them, and performing with them, and it’s a wonderful honor.
KC: I know that for some of your more recent work, you worked in America and in the U.K. so how nice was it to go back to Australia, and work with an Australian director?
LH: Oh, it’s amazing, yeah I love it. There’s a level of ease that comes with working in Australia that can be missed working in other places. Yeah, it’s just, that place, I felt a really kind of close connection to that land. I took my surf board, and I was out on the surf. I spent a lot of time surfing and exploring the countryside.
KC: Do you spend a lot of time surfing?
LH: Yeah, yeah, we always have. Up in the little surfing community, mom and dad still have a place there, and it’s something that’s always been a huge part of my life. I think it’s the one thing that keeps me calm. It makes me a better person, surfing, I think. It’s a great outlet.
KC: Yeah, like kind of cathartic?
LH: It’s very, very cathartic. That one thing, if you find that one thing you can do and think about nothing else, then that’s the key.
KC: Yeah. So I guess it’s a little bit easier to do that in Australia than it would be here?
LH: Yes and no, there’s great surf here, it can be a little bit more fickle. You have to chase it a little bit more and dodge the crowds, but there’s wonderful surf here.
KC: Did you have much experience with guns before this film?
LH: Um, very very little. I did a project with Cal, the Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms and that was the first time I handled a gun, I think, and it was a big pump action shotgun.
LH: Yeah, and the subject matter was very touchy, but I think there’s a part of me who as a kid, who, you know, you love movies and you see those slow-mo action shots with bullets spinning out and we got to do that and that was great. But there’s another part of me that’s kind of really fearful of guns and getting too comfortable with them as well. There’s something about holding a gun that makes you stand differently, you know? When you’ve got a gun in your hand, you stand differently.
KC: Yeah, and you used a pistol more in this one.
LH: Yeah, even so, it’s tucked into your back pocket.
KC: How was that different from using a big shotgun?
LH: I don’t know. I mean, it doesn’t differ that much other than what you’re holding. There’s still a sense of danger, you know it’s a real weapon that can fire real bullets and you’ve got to have the respect and the fear, as well.
KC: Did you do a lot of training?
LH: We do a lot on set, you know. We don’t have to hit cans off of a fence, you know? (Laughs) It’s more about how to hold a gun, and how to point it, so you know. You’re never really pointing it at someone’s face. There’s camera tricks.
KC: Were there any films that you spoke of earlier that you saw when you were a kid that you took notes from?
LH: On how to hold guns? (Laughs)
KC: Yeah, to get that attitude down, for inspiration for your character?
LH: No, I think it just comes from when the gun comes out, there’s something in you that changes. That’s what comes through. There’s no part where I’m practicing in the mirror how cool I look this way. It was more about making it real and believable. He was a character who hadn’t had that much to do with weapons which was a great surprise for the film because he’s the one who gets to kill people.
KC: It’s more of like, a naive take?
LH: Exactly, yeah yeah. He’s kind of thrown into this situation which then snowballs out of control, and also, there’s a great kind of juxtaposition between him being a nice, caring simple guy and then being someone who’s able to kill people.
KC: So how did you prepare for this character?
LH: I mean, I prepared the same way I always prepare. It comes back to me, and how truthful I can be in the moment and I don’t ever go to the lengths of going to be a mechanic. Well, actually, I’ve been a mechanic, my first job was in a gas station changing tires and pumping gas. It was one of the last places, where we lived, that actually had people that would pump your gas for you and it was a small town, it wasn’t the beach but it was little town, everyone knew each other, the guys who were coming in, you knew, the motorcycle, not to touch, so you use those things. I used those feelings. But it’s more about being kind of present and focused at the time. There’s definitely work that goes into it but this was so close to my life and experience that it was kind of easy.
KC: Those are great skills to have.
LH: Yeah, yeah. And I think it’s part of being an actor, the more life skills you have, the better and easier it is to cross those boundaries.
KC: So, if you say that you’re going for a more truthful performance, then would you say that acting to you is more about stripping away than adding on?
LH: Yes, well, both. I’d say both. You add on and add on and add on, and then let it all fall away, and then hopefully there’s something left which is what’s…well, I don’t want to say right. I don’t think there’s ever a “right”, there’s good choices and bad choices but yeah, hopefully what comes through is me, there are parts of that that are so inherently me, and those are the bits that are confronting, crossing lines and boundaries. You know, am I capable of shooting someone? What would I be like if something like this happened? Those are questions that you don’t get to ask, which is the attractive part. You get to do things and say things that you never thought you would.
KC: Yeah, but perhaps you see a little bit of yourself in these characters?
LH: I think you have to, yeah. You don’t ever look at it from the third person point of view. You’ve gotta be in there, bringing you, otherwise you’re just copying something I guess.
KC: It’s not as authentic?
LH: Yeah, I guess sometimes. (Laughs)
KC: So, you were saying that you grew up in a little town in Australia. So what was that like?
LH: Amazing. We started out our childhood in a very remote Northern territory, which is right up at the top of Australia. In an aboriginal territory where we were one of two white families, and I mean, it’s great. Chris and I have had the experience of racism and living with people who are very poor, very little services, very little infrastructure out there, so it gives you kind of a unique view.
KC: Would you say that it helps keep you grounded?
LH: Yeah, sure. You know what? Yeah. I think we’re all pretty grounded. I don’t think we ever change, I mean, the nature of your relationship kind of changes, but we keep each other pretty grounded. I mean, we do normal things as well. Like I said, surfing is such a love of ours, surfing and motorcycles.
KC: Is that something that you do with your brothers?
LH: Yeah, yeah. We always have. We’ve always done a lot of surfing, dad and the boys.
KC: What was it like growing up in a house full of actors? Was it something that you inspired them, or they inspired you, because neither of your parents acted, right?
LH: No. And we’re still growing up now. I don’t think there was ever a point where I’m like ‘Wow, it’s so weird to be growing up in a family full of actors.’ It was just something that we did, and it was something that….it’s always Chris and me. It was a normal childhood, it was normal happy, playful childhood that’s the only way I can kind of describe it. It wasn’t a place where we were out of our minds performing at home or anything like that, we were just kids playing, a lot of the time.
KC: Okay, so really quick, let’s discuss your upcoming projects. You have Infini?
KC: What’s this film about?
LH: This is about a rescue team. We’re an elite rescue squad that go to a distant mining station to rescue a soldier and all hell breaks loose on that mining station, and it’s so cool.
KC: That sounds really exciting.
LH: It’s epic. Shane Abbess who directed Gabriel, he directed that and he’s a madman. He’s one of the best, craziest ways of working and he kind of changed me in a lot of ways, I think, that film,
KC: How so?
LH: It just made me question the way I was going about things and a much deeper involvement than in before projects.
KC: Do you have a release date set yet? Or, when can we expect to see this?
LH: Yeah, it’s like May 6th, I think? It’s all dropping on May 6th. That, and I’m doing Westworld as well, which is HBO’s new show. It’s based on the old Yul Brynner film by Michael Chrichton and it’s about cowboys who are robots. It’s a theme park and you can go and pay your money to draw weapons on robots, and the robots start to awaken. It’s awesome.
KC: I look forward to both of those.