From the Clarence Valley to the Pacific Rim
THE opportunity to work on a big-budget, international action film in his home state was too good for Dustin Clare to pass up.
The actor and filmmaker who grew up in the Lower Clarence, best known for his role as Gannicus in the Starz mini-series Spartacus, plays a supporting role in Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to 2013's hit film Pacific Rim.
In the fictional world created by Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, the nations of the globe must unite to fight alien monsters known as Kaiju.
To battle the invaders, which are capable of destroying entire cities, pilots operate large robots called Jaegers.
In Uprising, which was filmed at Fox Studios in Sydney, a new generation must take up arms when the Kaiju, thought to be defeated, return in another bid to take over the planet.
"It's huge in scale, with a very big budget and big set pieces. No expense was spared on the look of it," Clare said.
"It's a fun spectacle film with big special effects... it's monsters fighting robots."
In his role as Joseph Burke, a former Jaeger pilot who has gone to work for Liwen Shao's company in the private sector, Clare would spend an hour getting into his unique, form-fitting pilot suit.
"I had to go across to Weta (Workshop) in New Zealand to have specific fittings for it," he said.
"The suit was polyurethane, which is not the easiest to work in. It's like a very tight compression suit and you lose circulation to your limbs quite quickly, especially when you're hanging in a harness from the ceiling."
The film reunited Clare with Spartacus showrunner Steven DeKnight, who directs Uprising.
"He put some faith and trust in me in terms of our work previously and I was so grateful to have a crack at a film of this scale," he said.
"This was his first feature film (as a director). Most people have about $100,000 for their first film, not a few hundred million dollars. There would be a lot pressure that would come with that."
Clare, 36, should know. He also works behind the camera as a producer, writer and distributor.
He's currently producing the documentary The House That Wiki Built, which will stream on online platform Stan, and he recently distributed the documentary Meal Tickets, which follows the highs and lows of a Perth rock band for 10 years.
"You want to have a career and you want to say something. I want to tell stories about my own country, but of course working on international projects does help you achieve that," he said.
"I remember Joel Edgerton coming to WAAPA (Western AUstralia Academy of Performing Arts, in Perth) when I was there and the one thing that stuck with me that he said was go out and make work for yourself; don't expect it to come to you."
Claire is also a board member of Screenworks, an organisation which supports Australia's regional screen industries. It's a cause close to his heart as a born and bred Northern Rivers local.
"It's about getting resources and training to people in regional areas who might not otherwise get the opportunity," he said.
- Pacific Rim: Uprising opens in cinemas on Thursday, March 22. Meal Tickets is out on video on demand at the end of this month.