Joel Edgerton's philanthropic journey in Nepal

Nepali articles, Nepali community activities and Nepali lifestyle in UK

2012-01-10

His latest film, “Warrior,” directed by Gavin O’Connor, received rave reviews from even the harshest of critics. He is also being talked of as the brightest young star of the time.

But Joel Edgerton is currently in Nepal, “exploring the real world” and taking a break from his “fickle life.”

Edgerton, also the GQ Magazine’s Man of the Year for 2011, has been visiting eye hospitals in and around Nepal as the goodwill ambassador of The Fred Hollowes Foundation.

“I went to Hetauda and then to Dhading,” he smiles. For his new position at the Foundation, Joel wants to go back home and collect funds which he plans to bring to Nepal this very year.

“I want a long-term association with Til Ganga Eye Hospital,” he said, adding that he came to know of it through his friend whose father is the CEO of the Foundation.

Behind the versatility as writer, director, producer and actor, Joel is a family guy who likes the elements of togetherness and family bonds being explored in films.

Although only on a weeklong stay in Nepal, he confirms his return and his fascination with Nepal.

We explore the philanthropic as well as the actor’s side of this provable Oscar contender who confesses his attraction to Asian women!

A lot of celebrities these days are into social activism. What’s your take on this?

As I say this, I speak for myself. For me, this is like an escape, a rare opportunity. As an actor, I live only for myself. It’s always about shoots, the scripts and films, and we’re hardly aware of the world outside, the real world. It is therefore important for me to take a break from my materialistic life.

At this moment, I feel aware, and happy. It’s a good thing to be able to look at the world, to look outside of myself.

Coming to your film career, tell us about “Warrior” and it being the top Oscar contender.

It would be great if we get the award! (Laughs) The most you could want for a film is that as many people as possible see it. Awards, I think, bring back the attention to the film. The film has been very special for me, right from the initial days up to now.

I had to change my lifestyle for the film, from hours of exercise to eating a lot of food and practicing for the role. Tom and I had been on regular visits to the shooting locations two months prior to the shoot. Basically, everyone in the team has put in their best and it feels good that people are appreciating that.

You’ve been acting for quite some time now, and the transition has been a slow one. Is your present role a conscious decision?

Well, not really a conscious decision, but I’m glad it happened that way. I grew up in a small town where movies or a career in it weren’t really discussed. I wasn’t sure about what I wanted but I attended a drama school in Sydney, nevertheless.

Then later, I joined theatre which seemed very monotonous and therefore moved into television. Slowly, films came up and then later, Hollywood happened.

Looking back, I’m grateful things happened that way. See, honestly, if I were to receive so much love and attention earlier, I don’t know how I would’ve handled it. At this stage in life, I can think rationally about the things I do and the statements I make!

Apart from acting, you’re also a writer and director.

Yes. My brother, Nash Edgerton, and I own a film production company. We made “The Square,” a noir thriller which I wrote and acted in. “Animal Kingdom,” a crime drama, was another success, written and directed by David Michôd, a member of the Blue-Tongue group. Our film won the World Cinema Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010.

Right now, I’m working on two stories, both of which our group plans to complete filming by late this year. One story deals with this particular area in Sydney where I grew up that recently experienced a cultural explosion. Upon my visit to Nepal, I have constantly been thinking of how I can include a portion of Nepal in the film.

I’m so thankful for all the appreciation for my acting. I really hope I get the same applause for my directorial oeuvre, too.

You’re being talked of as the next big thing in Hollywood. How does it feel?

My feet are firmly on the ground. In Hollywood, nothing is permanent. You’re there one day and you could be gone the next! I am, however, extremely happy about the past year. I’ve worked with some of the best people in Hollywood and learnt that not everyone is like they say, full of themselves. Working with Jennifer Garner in “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” was a wonderful experience.

She would always be doing something or the other to keep the set in a happy mood. Also, while doing “The Great Gatsby,” I got to work with Amitabh Bachchan who is a remarkable actor and a wonderful human being. So, yes, I’m very happy about the way things are going.

What are your expectations from 2012?

I’m really looking forward to the release of “The Great Gatsby.” It’s a special film for me. In fact, it took me only a phone call to agree to do the role of Tom Buchanan. Apart from that, I hope our film, “Wish You Were Here,” which is the opening film of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, wins.

I will also hopefully come back to Nepal for the documentary film festival. If everything goes according to plans, I would like to participate in a film festival here and work with the younger generation filmmakers of Nepal.

Article by Sahara Sharma

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