Paul Mailath “Father Joyce”
Q 1. What did you think of the script?
When Gerald first sent me the script, I had a look at it. But I didn’t have to read it, if Gerald was doing it, I was in. What he’s done for film in Newcastle is fantastic. So my hand was up even before I had opened the first page. But it’s a great little script. There are lots of sub-plots in it, the characters are something you can move into, and you can create your own character within that character. Gerald leaves room for that. Anytime Gerald says he wants to make something, I’m there.
Q 2. Can you tell us something about working with Gerald?
We’ve shot three films with him. It’s always an interesting process. They’ve all been low budget films. But the thing is – he gets it done. You know it’s going to go through to completion. With so many other projects, it’s “Ah yes, it’s going to be big, we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do that”. And nothing ever happens. It’s the people sitting around drinking coffee saying: “We should do this”. Gerald gets in and does it. I know the practical side of it is going to be organised, and that he’s got everything in place, so that it flows well. But because it’s a small budget, if things change, we all have a chance to inter-act, and contribute, so it’s a great atmosphere.
Q3. Who is your character?
I play Father Joyce. Father Joyce is a slightly innocuous inept priest, who is trying to raise money for repairs to a church. And that’s where the church inter-weaves with the family, and whatever else is happening. I don’t know that Father Joyce has a particular strong arc, but nevertheless, he appears in various parts of the film, tying things together.
Q 4. How did you use humour in the role?
I don’t know that I am all that humorous, but when I get the chance, I like to inject that into the character, and I think that’s very easily done with a character like Father Joyce. In fact, with a lot of characters that Gerald writes, you have a chance to do that. Father Joyce’s demeanour and the way he does things actually become quite funny, without being deliberately funny.
Q 5. What’s it like working with Henri Szeps?
It’s always a great experience to watch other actors work, but the small things that someone like Henri does boosts your own performance. So when you’re working with Henri, you feed off each other, so it’s a terrific experience. I enjoyed it very much.
Q 6. How do you feel about Gerald’s three films?
Having done three films now, we really have become a little film community. There are a lot of people who have worked in all three films, in various aspects. I have acted in all three films. I’ve also been behind the scenes, taking still photos. But you really do get a sense of community, and you find out that people work in certain ways, and you build your own skills.
The only way we’re ever going to have a film community is by actually making films, not sitting around talking about them; and that’s something that Gerald does, he gets out there and makes films. For this area, it’s fantastic, I can’t think of anything better.
Q 7. How do you think the audience will react to this film?
I think when the audience comes away from this film, I hope that they’re going to say: “That was pretty good. I enjoyed that”. This isn’t a block-buster, there’s not massive car scenes or accidents or whatever. But it’s a feel-good movie. It doesn’t get you up here (points to his head), but hopefully gets you here (points to his heart). I think people will come away and will relate to the characters and the conflict; and they’ll be able to laugh about characters – “How silly is that Father Joyce”.
Q 8. What do you think of the film’s recent award?
I’ve been pushing Gerald for a while to get his films on the Film Festival circuit, because I think they don’t have the recognition they deserve. So when he finally got this one out on the Festival circuit, and then won an award, I was thrilled.
Q 9. What do you think of the fact that Gerald has now finished three films?
Gerald is not good at blowing his own trumpet. Yet he’s achieved an enormous amount – in 8 years, he’s made three films. That’s an incredible achievement, as each one of them has had some sort of release in cinema. That’s an enormous achievement. In fact, if I had a ute, I would tie him to the back of the ute, and drive around Newcastle with a loudspeaker, saying: “Listen people, this is what this guy has done, this is what he has achieved,” Gerald is reticent to do that, and I think that’s a great pity, because people need to know.