PROFILE Remy Hii
This young Aussie NIDA graduate has already acted with one of his heroes and had a weird taste of the big time in LA, writes Zoe Nauman.
HE graduated from NIDA less than two years ago but already Remy Hii has secured parts in a Hollywood blockbuster, a heavy-duty drama and a much-loved soap.
And he is poised to truly show off his acting chops in Better Man.
A dramatisation of how Australian Van Nguyen was caught attempting to traffic heroin while en route from Vietnam, it is the heartbreaking tale of the fight which ensued to save him from the death penalty.
Hii, who studied in Queensland, still remembers where he was that day in 2005 when the nation heard of Nguyen’s fate.
‘‘I was in Brisbane at university doing an arts degree and one of my favourite subjects was human rights and ethics,’’ he says.
‘‘My lecturer had been on the board of Amnesty in Australia.
‘‘On that morning I was at the Amnesty candlelight vigil down at the Town Hall in Brisbane and that was a really, really sombre day.’’
Hii holds his own in Better Man alongside acting heavyweights David Wenham (as Nguyen’s lawyer Julian McMahon), Bryan Brown (Lex Lasry, who also fought on Nguyen’s behalf) and Claudia Karvan (Julian’s wife, Bernadette).
The role gave Hii the chance to act with one of his idols in Wenham.
‘‘I was always going to be star struck,’’ he says.
‘‘Then you realise they are normal people, and that they are just incredibly gifted and talented and it makes you want to lift your game.
‘‘For me it was really energetic wanting to match them and go for it and hit the mark. There are only so many times in your life you can say you have starred with your idols so you really want to give it your all.’’
Hii was forced to admit when he met Wenham that he actually owned something which used to belong to the actor – a book he ‘‘forgot’’ to return to the NIDA library.
‘‘It was The Cherry Orchard and I took it off the shelf and realised when I got home it had David’s name in the front cover,’’ he says.
‘‘There were some notes in there and he is one of my favourite actors. I kind of forgot to return it. I told David about that and he thought it was quite funny.’’
Hii’s Better Man gig came hot on the heels of his part in ill-fated Hollywood blockbuster Paradise Lost, which sadly crashed and burned due to a blown out budget before it even started filming.
Hii was on his way to Los Angeles to take up the role three days after he had graduated. His taste of the big time was short-lived but eye-opening.
As part of the preproduction, he spent a month getting every part of his body mapped at the Creative Institute for Technologies, which put Jeff Bridges through his paces for Tron .
‘‘My body was mapped all over – it was going to be like Avatar. I was scanned in from all sorts of terrifying angles,’’ he says.
Hii spent a month kicking his heels before he got the role in Better Man, and then managed to squeeze in a Christmas break before he started as Hudson Walsh on Eleven’s Neighbours. He will take a break from the Aussie soap to go travelling.
‘‘My absolute dream role would be to get on the next season of Game Of Thrones. I will be in London for a few weeks when I travel and I will be knocking on their door.’’