Jai Court­ney on Shake­speare – and get­ting Rus­sell Crowe’s ap­proval.

``AUSSIES HAVE A SPE­CIFIC WORK ETHIC AND SENSE OF HU­MOUR´´

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by STEPHANIE SQUADRITO

“Work­ing with some­one like Rus­sell Crowe, you’ve got to be on your toes”

You grew up in Aus­tralian sub­ur­bia [Cher­ry­brook in Sydney’s north-west]. What’s it like to be back af­ter spend­ing so much time in LA? It’s great, but it’s weird these days be­cause no­body else is on holiday. Ev­ery­one else is nine-to-five­ing so there’s al­ways that sweet pe­riod of a week or two, but any longer than that and I of­ten need to have some pur­pose to be here. It’s a strange space be­cause I don’t live here any­more, but it is still home. Some­times it is a bit of an arm wres­tle but I think, cer­tainly on a spir­i­tual level, it’s where I’m most com­fort­able in the world. You’re here with Longines where the motto is “el­e­gance is an at­ti­tude”. On a scale of one to 10, how el­e­gant are you? I do my best. I reckon I give my­self like a… 7.5. I know how to be­have when it’s re­quired of me. When you first met Rus­sell Crowe a few years ago, he told you that you’d been do­ing some ter­ri­ble movies. If he saw your ré­sumé now would it be up to his stan­dards? [Laughs.] He didn’t say ter­ri­ble, but he did take the piss out of me a lit­tle bit. He was pok­ing fun and try­ing to get a rise out of me to see what I was made of, and work­ing with some­one like Rus­sell, you’ve got to be on your toes. That was prob­a­bly, in a strange way, my first au­di­tion with him. If that con­ver­sa­tion had gone down re­ally awk­wardly, I’m not sure he would’ve wanted to work with me. So we had a laugh and a drink, and be­fore long we were get­ting ready to do a movie [ The Wa­ter Diviner] to­gether. That was a dream come true for me. You’re about to play Mac­beth with the Melbourne The­atre Com­pany. How do you feel about tak­ing on one of Shake­speare’s great­est works? I can’t wait. I think Mac­beth is re­ally the role of a life­time. I would feel ner­vous tak­ing on any of his works and it’s been a few years since I was on­stage, so it’ll be in­ter­est­ing to flex that mus­cle again. I’ve just got to blow the cob­webs out in or­der to find that love for it again, but I’m not trep­i­da­tious. I’m ex­cited more than any­thing. Af­ter fin­ish­ing high school, you worked in fac­to­ries for a few months. Did you ever doubt mak­ing that leap from the fac­tory floor to the stage? That’s what got me out of there. I was pray­ing that some­thing like this would come along to drag me away. Look, hav­ing a nine-to-five job, there’s noth­ing wrong with that, but I knew that I had some­thing to give and I needed an av­enue through which to ex­plore that. And I re­ally wasn’t cut out for fac­tory work [laughs]. You went pub­lic with your re­la­tion­ship to girl­friend, PR pro­fes­sional Mecki Dent, last year. What has it been like to have a re­la­tion­ship in the spotlight for the first time? It’s OK. It’s some­thing I’m proud of. It’d suck to try to hide

some­thing like that, you know, I’m in love with some­one, so part of be­ing real is ac­cept­ing that will in­tro­duce in­flu­ences upon your per­sonal life which can be con­fus­ing at times. It’s not easy to sub­ject some­one to the pres­sures of the in­dus­try that I’m in, and it doesn’t al­ways feel fair, but I’m lucky to have a re­ally sup­port­ive part­ner and some­one who also chal­lenges me. It’s not just about what I’m do­ing in this world; we have a re­ally bal­anced re­la­tion­ship. It can be dif­fi­cult, but we’re in this to­gether. You be­came friends with Mar­got Rob­bie while film­ing Sui­cide Squad. Do Aussies have to stick to­gether in Hol­ly­wood? They don’t have to, but we tend to a lit­tle. It’s funny be­cause there’s this as­sump­tion that we’re all glued at the hip and I don’t think it’s like that. But some­times the sim­plest things are enough to keep you close with peo­ple, and Aussies have a spe­cific kind of work ethic, sense of hu­mour and a way we carry our­selves that lends it­self to hav­ing a good time with what we’re do­ing. So, do you all get to­gether and whinge about Trump? To­tally. We’re all just like, “Ah well, he’s not ours.” We can all go home at the end of the day. Would you ever move back to Aus­tralia? For sure. I’d love, when the time comes, to raise a fam­ily here. I think Aus­tralia is still the great­est coun­try in the world. Who knows what sort of tran­sient life­style I’ll have, but when I have kids I’d love them to call this home, as well.

Jai was the spe­cial guest at the 2017 Longines Queen El­iz­a­beth Stakes Day. Mac­beth opens on June 5; mtc.com.au.

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