Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Traitor" star quite happy as go-to Guy

Look at the busy film schedule Guy Pearce keeps and you’d never figure that the Australian actor manages to maintain Melbourne as home base. “I’ve had people suggest my moving to L.A.,” the personable 40-year-old tells JMuvies correspondent Stan Urankar, “but that’d feel like life there was just about going to work all the time, know what I mean?”
Indeed, staying grounded at home beside childhood sweetheart Kate Mestitz, his wife of 11-plus years, has done nothing to hurt Pearce’s professional standing. For starters, he’s fitting in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of the new “Poor Boy,” beginning in January. The musical, in which Pearce will exercise his voice, features many Tim Finn/Split Enz songs.
But, there’s plenty of movie work, too, starting with “Traitor,” the Don Cheadle action-adventure vehicle that opens this week. Pearce plays FBI Agent Roy Clayton, whose investigation into terrorist activity finds him on the trail of Cheadle’s enigmatic Samir Horn. “You get a sense that Clayton’s a man of faith himself,” Pearce says, “one who’s prepared to go beyond the surface a bit to learn more with this man he’s chasing.”
Most recently, Pearce was out front in “Death-Defying Acts” as Harry Houdini. “That was a really beautiful film by Gillian Armstrong (“Little Women”),” Pearce laments, “that Harvey Weinstein just sort of slipped out in the dead of night.”
Next is “The Hurt Locker,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow and scheduled for the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. Pearce has a small role in the drama about a bomb-disposal squad in Iraq.
He speaks highly of “Winged Creatures,” too. “It’s directed by Rowan Woods (“Little Fish”),” Pearce says, “and it focuses on the effects that a shooting inside a diner has on a variety of people.” Even a partial list of his co-stars is impressive: Kate Beckinsale, Embeth Davidtz, Dakota Fanning, Jackie Earle Haley, Jennifer Hudson, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Forest Whitaker. Pearce has a small role in director John Hillcoat’s post-apocalyptic “The Road,” based on the Cormac McCarthy novel and scheduled for Thanksgiving release.
Just for fun, he’s part of Adam Sandler’s “Bedtime Stories,” coming at Christmas. “I play this sort of insufferable twit who’s a supervisor where Adam works,” Pearce says. “Well, when Adam reads bedtime stories to his children at night, he injects people he knows into each story’s characters.” Pearce smiles and adds, “You can imagine how I end up.”

(Read Stan's review of "Traitor," as well as an interview with Don Cheadle in this week's Sun News, where you can also find my review of "Frozen River." Meanwhile, "Hamlet 2" star Steve Coogan talks about his big month in my latest post on MovieZen.)

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