Funny man



Josh Law­son ap­peared in what was ar­guably last year’s most heav­ily pro­moted and hyped film, An­chor­man 2: The Leg­end Continues. His crit­i­cally ac­claimed US tele­vi­sion se­ries, House of Lies, has been re­newed by US ca­ble net­work Show­time for a fourth sea­son; and he’s just achieved bona fide slashie sta­tus as writer/ di­rec­tor/ac­tor of his first fea­ture film, The Lit­tle Death (to be re­leased in Septem­ber). Yet de­spite his suc­cess as an ac­tor both in the US and Aus­tralia — he’s ap­peared in a wide range of Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion se­ries in­clud­ing Sea Pa­trol, All Saints, Home and Away and Thank God You’re Here — Law­son man­ages to get through life vir­tu­ally un­recog­nised by the gen­eral pub­lic.

“Oc­ca­sion­ally it hap­pens, but not re­ally,” he says about be­ing stopped in the street by fans. “I don’t get recog­nised that of­ten, par­tially I think be­cause in An­chor­man 2, for in­stance, I wore a wig and had a goa­tee and I didn’t quite look like me. And in House of Lies my char­ac­ter, Doug, is such an un­usual one in that he’s re­ally up­tight and I don’t think people con­nect me to that type of char­ac­ter, which I think is great.”

It is per­haps Law­son’s great­est gift as an ac­tor that he can dis­ap­pear into a role and have the au­di­ence fa­mil­iar with the char­ac­ter rather than the ac­tor. He’s the per­fect ev­ery­man, a trait that has al­lowed him to play roles as var­ied as the ocker Aussie net­work tele­vi­sion boss in An­chor­man 2, a nerdy and neu­rotic Har­vard-ed­u­cated man­age­ment con­sul­tant in House of Lies and a drug smug­gler in Un­der­belly Files: The Man Who Got Away. He rose to fame on the im­prov se­ries Thank God You’re Here and even hosted the game show Wipe­out Aus­tralia.

The Bris­bane-born ac­tor, who grad­u­ated from NIDA in 2001, has been based in Los Angeles for the past six years. “For the first few years when I was in LA, I was work­ing more in Aus­tralia, but then over time it started to shift, and when House of Lies started rolling then I was spend­ing more time in the States,” he says. For the past eight years, how­ever, Law­son has been work­ing on his first fea­ture film as writer and di­rec­tor (and ac­tor), The Lit­tle Death. The film will have its world pre­miere at the Syd­ney Film Fes­ti­val on June 13 and will be re­leased in cin­e­mas in Septem­ber.

“I wrote the first draft of the film about eight years ago and have been try­ing to get money for it for a long, long time, and there are lots of rea­sons why it’s been dif­fi­cult to do that,” he says. “One is that the con­tent of the film was a bit chal­leng­ing and people are ner­vous about that, and an­other is be­cause I’m a first-time di­rec­tor, and people need to see runs on the board be­fore they will fund a film, which is fair enough.” With ti­tle re­fer­ring to the French term for sex­ual cli­max, the chal­leng­ing con­tent is about sex rather than death. The film — a com­edy — is about the se­cret sex lives of or­di­nary people liv­ing on the same sub­ur­ban street. Along with Law­son, it stars Bo­jana No­vakovic, Damon Her­ri­man and Kate Mul­vany, Lachy Hulme as well as Law­son’s brother Ben. The film was pro­duced by Jamie Hil­ton, Michael Petroni and Matt Reeder.

“It’s about five cou­ples and some­one in each of the cou­ples has an un­usual sex fetish,” says Law­son. “It’s a sex com­edy, but it’s re­ally about re­la­tion­ships and how sex can com­pli­cate a re­la­tion­ship and how of­ten people, no mat­ter how much they love each other, are sex­u­ally in dif­fer­ent places and what that means for a re­la­tion­ship.

“I would def­i­nitely like to di­rect more and I think it made it eas­ier with The Lit­tle Death that I wrote it and I was di­rect­ing my own stuff,” he says. “I’m work­ing on a few scripts at the mo­ment, but it takes time and in or­der for me to fin­ish off those scripts I would have to stop act­ing for a lit­tle bit and that’s nerve-rack­ing be­cause as an ac­tor ev­ery part of your body says, ‘I want to work’. I will never for­get be­ing an out of work ac­tor.”

Hugo Boss cash­mere coat, Gior­gio Ar­mani cot­ton two-tone knit and cot­ton denim jeans, Gucci wool print scarf, Tod’s leather loafers, Gior­gio Ar­mani op­ti­cals from OPSM

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