It is a little over four years since I walked into Alex Proyas’
office in Paddington and had him ask me if I thought I could help
him make the film he had always wanted to make, a story about
a garage band in Sydney. While I did co-write the script with
Alex and Michael Udesky, with lots of input too from Alex’s script-editor,
Mathew Dabner, this is very much Alex’s film. His hand has been
firmly on the tiller from day one, pursuing his vision. From a
writer’s point of view, he was terrific to work with, allowing
the writer creative freedom, then honing in on those parts of
the script he liked and working and re-working them. One thing
I can guarantee is that the band stuff in this film is authentic.
Both Alex and I played in bands so the rehearsal room stuff is
how it really goes down. Ultimately I think this will be a young
person’s film, a bizarre, romantic comedy with dark moments complemented
by a heart. Over to the popcorn munchers to decide its fate.
the official Garage Days web site here
new interview with Alex Proyas at Dark
ALEX PROYAS DIRECTOR OF GARAGE DAYS
DAYS, a coming-of-age comedy about the aspirations
of a young Sydney rock 'n' roll band, marks the return of Alex
Proyas to an all-Australian setting, cast and crew. The script
was co-written by Proyas and Dave Warner. Headlining the
cast is an ensemble of Australia's most promising young talent.
Kick Gurry (Buffalo Soldiers, Looking for Alibrandi)
stars as Freddy, the charmingly naive lead singer of the band.
Maya Stange (In A Savage Land) stars opposite him
as Kate, the source of his musical inspiration. The film reunites
Gurry with AFI award winning actress Pia Miranda (Looking
for Alibrandi) who co-stars as the band's sassy bass player.
Newcomers Chris Sadrinna and Brett Stiller round
out the band's line-up as the chemically enhanced drummer and
brooding lead guitarist. Previous AFI award winners Russell
Dykstra (Soft Fruit) and Andy Anderson (Halifax
F.P.) also join the cast as the band's well-meaning "manager"
and a nostalgic rocker from the '70s. Yvette Duncan (Praise)
and Marton Csokas (Lord Of The Rings, xXx)
join the ensemble in supporting roles.
Days should be released in the first half of 2002.
spoke to Dave Warner Online webmaster Stuart O'Connor.
What stage is Garage Days at?
Proyas: We've just finished shooting and we're in the
editing mode right now. There's another week of shooting which
we're doing in December to coincide with Homebake and we're going
to be doing a few other bits and pieces at that stage. We've deisgned
this project in an interesting fashion. I've tried to leave myself
a window of opportunity to shoot bits and pieces when you're
editing a film you always find gaps here and there and it's nice
to have the luxury of being able to fill those gaps. We had to
construct this production around this whole thing of shooting
a scene around the Homebake concert. It also gives us a side-effect
of having this chance to augment scenes here and there, so it's
worked out quite nicely.
Are you happy with the way Garage Days is coming together?
It's always hard to talk about a film when you're in the middle
of it, but I'm delighted. I think the performances are great and
I think it really works.
Do you think Garage Days will appeal to your
I hope so. It is different but I think they'll find a number of
elements that are perhaps consistent. People who like my stuff
and I've had a little bit of contact with them throught
my own Web site or through doing the odd screening and talk
they all seem to be aspiring filmmakers, a lot of them. I see
myself as a young filmmaker in a lot of these people and I know
what I liked as a young filmmaker -all the directors that I used
to like were ones that were always doing something different and
really trying to sort of push their own limits, their own horizons,
with each and every project. And so I've always looked up to those
sorts of filmmakers and I guess I'm trying to do that with my
own work, so I feel that my audience, if you can call it that,
will hopefully enjoy seeing me push the boundaries a little bit.
I think Garage
Days has probably the broadest appeal of anything I've ever made.
Obviously you can never know that until you actually release the
film and I could be eating my words, you never know
but it seems to have a very broad appeal. We seem to have made
a film with a lot sex, drugs and rock and roll that appeals to
a wide audience.
We went through a very elaborate rehearsal process on this film.
We workshopped it a lot. I actually did somethieng that I've never
done before, which is I shot the whole movie on video in the last
week of the rehearsal process and then changed a whole bunch of
stuff based on that. And I think some of the best writing, the
most impactful writing, we did on the project was probably in
the last two weeks before we started shooting, because that's
when you've got your characters in place, you know what's working
and what isn't working very clearly, you know what's funny and
what isn't funny and what needs to be improved and changed. And
that's when you really sort of get down and do the real serious
Are you happy with the performances you got from your cast?
I'm very happy, I think they're a great cast. It was a fantastic
process to work under because it's been a while since I had a
young, enthusiastic cast who were actually available for rehearsals.
the downsides of working with American actors is that they often
come to your project straight off something else and they give
very little time, so you end up with like a week of rehearsals
before you start shooting. And during that week wardrobe wants
them and makeup wants them for tests, and camera wants them to
shoot some lighting tests etc etc, so you end up having them for
such a small amount of time. And then doing stuff on the set for
the first time, you don't get a
work the material. And then as a director you're knee-jerking
based on that, trying to work out how to film it and capture every
moment you want and that makes things very difficult. So on this
film I designed it to be this way from the start. I wanted to
work with a relatively unknown cast. As it was, we ended up with
I think the cream of young Australian actors on this film, who'd
had a fair bit of experience but who were available to me when
I needed them to be. And I think they brought an unbelievable
level of energy to this project, and I think it really does show
on the finished product.
What can you tell us about the Homebake shoot?
still trying to work things out myself and trying to work out
how we're going to do it. Basically our band will be on stage
for a period of time. I can't say too much about what they're
actually going to do beacuse it gives away a little bit about
the movie, but they will be on stage in front of the Homebake
crowd. Part of the reason I'm doing publicity now, which I very
rarely do, is to just get the word out there so that people know
that's the intention; so it's not too much of a surprise when
we appear on stage.
Were you a fan of Dave's work before you were involved with him
on this project?
knew of Dave's music, of course, from years ago. A few years back
I started looking for Aussie screenwriters and there was a real
lack of established people around, and so I started approaching
it in a more lateral way and started reading a lot of local novelists'
work, and playwrights, and just trying to find writers from other
areas to try and bring them into the screenwriting world. I picked
up one of Dave's books at the time Big Bad Blood
and thoroughly enjoyed it, and gave him a call, or his agent a
call, I don't remember exactly how we first got together ... not
knowing, of course, that he's the rennaisance man that he is and
that he'd already written screenplays and done just about every
other form of writing as well, and was quite pleasantly surprised
to see that he'd aleady done a bunch of work in the movie world.
So I came to meet him in a totally sort of roundabout way basically.
have another of Dave's screenplays Drill It
that's right, which we are hoping to get up pretty soon.
© 2001 Dave Warner Online & Stuart O'Connor.