Spe­cial Olympic gym­nast adds film star to skill set

Chris Bun­ton plays Evan in new black com­edy Down Un­der

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Elisha Pearce

CHRIS Bun­ton is a very busy man.

He has not long re­turned from Italy, where he won five medals at the Tri­some Games — a com­pe­ti­tion for peo­ple with Down syn­drome — and al­most im­me­di­ately headed to Mel­bourne where Down Un­der, a feature film in which he had a prom­i­nent role, pre­miered.

Bun­ton, 23, of St Clair, is a high achiever.

He has com­peted as a gym­nast at the Spe­cial Olympics since 2003, win­ning gold medals for Aus- tralia; stud­ied act­ing at NIDA; starred in theatre pro­duc­tions and has now added act­ing in a feature film to his sub­stan­tial re­sume.

Down Un­der is a black com­edy about the Cronulla race ri­ots that con­fronts stereo­types and prej­u­dice.

Bun­ton plays Evan, the voice of rea­son, who high­lights the ab­sur­dity of the sit­u­a­tion the char­ac­ters find them­selves in.

“Evan is an in­no­cent young man from the coun­try­side,” Bun­ton said.

“He has come to visit his cousin in Syd­ney and came at the wrong time, to the wrong place. My char­ac­ter wants to fit in with his cousin’s friends and, at one point, my cousin’s friends clash with an­other group of hot­heads.”

Bun­ton said film­ing fight scenes was new for him de­spite his short film and theatre act­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It was a bit rough ac­tu­ally ... but it was also funny, be­cause it is a black com­edy,” he said.

While he has been build­ing a strong list of act­ing cred­its, Bun­ton has a long ca­reer in gym­nas­tics.

Bun­ton’s mother Halina Bun­ton said of the Tri­some Games: “He had to do a test to prove he has Down syn­drome.”

Bun­ton said: “I en­joyed many parts of it, like mak­ing new friends.”

Bun­ton trains three times a week, works at Spe­cial Olympics Aus­tralia, runs gym­nas­tics classes at the Pen­rith YMCA and stud­ies se­lec­tive cour­ses at Syd­ney Uni­ver­sity.

He cred­its his suc­cess to stick­ing to a tight sched­ule.

What’s next? “I have just two things right now,’’ he said. “One would be do­ing more films and also I want to do a pod­cast.” Down Un­der opens to­mor­row at Black­town Hoyts.

Main pic­ture: Justin San­son

Chris Bun­ton at work at Pen­rith YMCA in Jamison­town and (in­set) with the cast of

Down Un­der.

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