Courtney playing it safe
DON’T expect to see a mug shot of Jai Courtney on the front page of the newspaper any time soon. The 28- year- old actor, who grew up in the leafy north- west Sydney suburb of Cherrybrook, has worked far too hard and come way too far to jeopardise his career with a violent late- night outburst or compromising photograph.
“The more exposure you get, the more sensitive things become around your behaviour,” said Courtney, who recently finished filming the Terminator reboot Genisys with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Emilia Clark.
“It’s not only how you think about the way you act, but also how that’s received. You have to watch yourself. And be careful. I know what’s on the line now.”
Courtney has clearly learnt from the offcamera indiscretions of fellow countrymen such as Sam Worthington and Russell Crowe. The latter directed Courtney in upcoming historical drama The Water Diviner and the up- and- comer described Crowe as the closest he had come to having a mentor.
“I haven’t had a negative experience, really, of anyone I have filmed with – especially of that stature,” said Courtney, who followed his breakthrough performance opposite Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher with a role as Bruce Willis’ son in A Good Day To Die Hard. “But Russell was particularly nurturing.”
With five films scheduled for release in the next year, starting with Joel Edgerton’s homegrown crime drama Felony, Courtney is minding his manners.
Especially since Angelina Jolie’s World War II drama Unbroken has generated significant Oscar buzz.
And the Divergent franchise, in which Courtney plays a Dauntless faction leader, comes with its own built- in fanbase.
“It’s unfortunate when people associate someone with an outburst they had, or something they did publicly. I’m sure those individuals regret those sorts of things, but that’s really just a momentary lapse,” he said, diplomatically.
“For me, staying out of trouble is quite simply about the fact I have a visa. I don’t want to get kicked out of the States, so I am not about to get into a bar fight for something stupid. That would be idiotic.”
Felony, a modestly budgeted crime- drama shot in and around Sydney’s Matraville, is the smallest- scale project Courtney has worked on since cracking Hollywood.
“It was something I chased doggedly,” he said of the Edgerton- penned screenplay about a decorated detective who covers up his role in an early morning hit- and- run accident.
“Its themes are universal but it’s probably the closest of any film I have worked on to the world I grew up in. I guess that was part of the reason I was attracted to it. Basically, I insisted I put a tape down early. I made it quite clear I was determined to do it.”
Courtney plays by- the- book rookie to veteran British actor Tom Wilkinson’s seasoned oldtimer.
“I had been itching to get home and work on something and it was a really intriguing story and really well- written.”
FELONY Now showing Village Cinemas ( Eastlands only)