Ben took over the Sydney Film Festival with the premiere of ‘Una’, a screening of ‘The Year My Voice Broke’, a jam-packed conversation event with David Caesar, and several Q&As in Sydney and Melbourne.
Ben was hilariously captured on June 7th walking around Sydney, looking happy as a clam with his face stuffed in a meat pie:
Day 3 (June 9) of the festival kicked off with Ben at the premiere of his film ‘Una’, along with him introducing the film and speaking before several screenings. One of our favorite things about Mendo is his unique red carpet fashion, and he definitely didn’t disappoint:
The Sydney Morning Herald on ‘Una’:
Una, the third film to screen in the festival’s competition for “courageous, audacious and cutting edge” cinema, centres on a woman (Rooney Mara) confronting a factory manager (Mendelsohn) who sexually abused her when she was 13. After he has served time in jail and changed his name, she tracks him down to get an answer to the questions that have trapped her: did he really love her? Why did he leave?
Adapted from the acclaimed play Blackbird, Una features blazing, raw performances by the two stars as the confrontation heads in unexpected directions, interspersed with uncomfortable flashbacks, although opening up the play has diffused some of the potential drama.
Soon after, the much anticipated In Conversation with David Caesar with Ben took place. Here’s a few highlights:
- “I used to be the sweet affable, couldn’t-get-a-girlfriend kind of guy,” Ben Mendelsohn said of his acting career. “Then we perfected larrikinism. And then it suddenly went to murderers, paedophiles and Death Star builders.”
- He was funny about not being able to get an acting job in the early 2000s. “I was pretty happy,” he said. “I had a lovely girlfriend. She had a beautiful dog. I spent about two or three years just walking around Darlinghurst-Surry Hills with Tetsui the shar pei.”
- Mendelsohn was realistic enough to know why the Hub was packed. “I know you f—ers. You’re not turning up in these numbers without a Death Star in there somewhere.”
- That thing when Ben Mendelsohn’s dad tries to FaceTime him on stage in mid-interview
The next day, Ben arrived at a NSFA-restored screening of the film “The Year My Voice Broke”, and then traveled to Melbourne to promote ‘Una’ with 2 screenings and conversations with the audience:
ABC.net.au: Ben Mendelsohn: Intimidating, menacing and all-round good guy
News.com.au: Dark lord, drug dealer, paedophile … it’s all in a day’s work for Emmy-winning actor Ben Mendelsohn
The Daily Telegraph: Veteran actor Ben Mendelsohn taking well-deserved break after filming five movies
With five films — including one in which he worked with Steven Spielberg — slated for release over the coming year, the 48-year-old is fast emerging as Hollywood’s silent achiever.
“It has been a hectic little while, so I am actually going to bludge for a month or two now,” he said.
ScreenRant: Ready Player One: Ben Mendelsohn’s Character Not Faithful To Book
Sun Sentinel: Clothes, furniture from Florida-filmed ‘Bloodline’ up for sale
The Wrap: ‘Bloodline’s’ Ben Mendelsohn on History of Danny’s Cigarette Dangle, Which Rayburn Is the Worst
Madman.com.au: Ben Mendelsohn In Conversation Screenings of Una
The Australian: Ben Mendelsohn returns in a blaze of glory
He remains, he says, indebted to many players in the Australian film, TV and theatre industry for encouraging his career. During a fallow period in the early 2000s he contemplated throwing it all away, but didn’t thanks to film critic David Stratton.
“I was thinking quite seriously about leaving and David Stratton said ‘you’ve got something really worthwhile’ and he said some really nice things to me which have stayed with me and which I really treasure because I like being a part of the history of this thing we’ve done,” he said.
“There was a period of quite a few years where things were pretty quiet in my 30s and it just felt like ‘oh well, this is more or less over. I’ve had my run, it’s a good run’ and all that, but these things come to an end and this is looking like it’s come to an end so I’d better find something else to do’ and he was very, very good to me.”
Daily Telegraph shoot:
June 7th AAP shoot:
Sydney Film Festival is geared to start soon and Ben is getting a jump on promoting ‘Una’ and ‘Bloodline’ while in Australia. He’ll be in Sydney and Melbourne for premiere screenings and Q&A/conversations of ‘Una’ while the festival is going on.
Ben was a guest the other night on talk show Drive, hosted by Veronica and Lewis. The entire interview hasn’t been uploaded yet, but here’s a brief clip of Mendo doing a reading of “The Lion King”:
Ben was also interviewed on the Australian current affairs show “7.30” the other night. He talked about playing a pedophile in ‘Una’, being homesick about Australia, Rogue One, being unemployed for a time, and his success. You can watch the whole segment below or read the transcript here:
Ben will return to Sydney in June to attend the premiere of ‘Una’ at the Sydney Film Festival and hold a conversation event/Q&A with audiences, along with director David Caesar (‘Idiot Box’, ‘Mullet’).
From the film festival website:
Following the screening of Una, Ben Mendelsohn and director David Caesar will discuss the film and his extraordinary career from the beginnings in Australia to his more recent international successes.
The screenings and conversations will be held on June 9th and 10th.
‘Una’ will also have a Melbourne premiere on June 11th, and Ben will hold 2 Q&As after that screening as well.
Mendelsohn will first arrive in Australia for the 2017 Sydney Film Festival, where he will attend the Australian premiere of Una and participate in a discussion after the film on Friday June 9 and a second in conversation on Saturday June 10. Following the Sydney Film Festival, Mendelsohn will travel to Melbourne for two in conversation screenings on Sunday June 11.
The first Melbourne in conversation will take place on June 11 at the Astor Theatre at 4pm followed by a second in conversation at Cinema Nova at 6pm.
Gorillaz’s new album, Humanz, was released this week and you can buy the album on iTunes and Amazon. Ben has narrated several interludes for the album so be sure to give it a buy or a listen!
A brief video of Ben recording, from Gorillaz’s Instagram story:
Ben spoke to music mag Q Magazine about working with Gorillaz:
“I came to this already a fan. I got a call asking if I was interested. Obviously, yes. We did a couple of sessions which were a blend of written lines and jumping off from them into structured ad lib. After that I’d just blurt whatever for a while. I’d keep going at it till Damon got something he liked. I left with my fan hat firmly still on. I now have a T-shirt and scarf to match.”