In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined planet. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the crime and poverty that is now rampant throughout the land. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.
Elysium will be released nationwide on 9 August 2013.
Q&A With Brandon Auret
Brandon, thank you very much for taking the time to answer our Q&A.
You play Drake, in the upcoming action / sci-fi Elysium with Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley, one in a number of action / sci-fi movies in your filmography. Are these genres ones that resonate with you? What other genres do you enjoy?
Well, considering that some of my all time favourite films are, Return of the Jedi, Platoon and Rambo (First blood), its easy to say that from a young age I’ve been drawn to and had a love for action and sci-fi films. As for other genres, I tend to enjoy horror films as well as a good drama which tells a gripping story! I’m also driven by great characters.
Tell us a little bit about Drake? As actors, the characters we see on screen, draw from personal aspects of their lives. Are there any particular traits in Drake that mirror you?
Drake is the right hand man of the character ‘Kruger’ who is played by, Sharlto Copley. He is ex 32 battalion, and to put it in a nut shell is a full on killing machine. He does as he’s told by Kruger, no questions asked.
As an actor, I try and get lost in whatever role I’m playing but in some way there’s always a bit of “Me” in my characters. There really are no comparisons to Drake and I except for the fact that we both get a kick out of blowing shit up.
How far are your current movie roles from your days on South African television? How big a leap was the move?
After playing “Duppie” in Isidingo for 8 years, I left in 2004 because I felt that it was time to further my career and pursue my dream of becoming a film actor. Two years went by after leaving the soapie, where I then finally landed my first movie called, “Catch a fire”. In the last 9 years I’ve shot 16 feature films and two short films.
What led you to the film and television industry? When did you know you wanted to be part of it?
Like I said before, one of my all time favourite fiIms is ‘Return of the Jedi’ and this was actually the movie that inspired me to become an actor. In fact, what I wanted most was to be a Jedi Knight, and truth be told, I still do. The journey of trying to perfect the art of acting started when I was 9 years old though, where I took up speech and drama classes with the amazing Mrs Edna Peck. By the age of 13, I landed my first lead role in a amateur dramatic show called, Bugsy Malone. I carried on performing through out High School and after doing my national service, I went on to study drama at Pretoria Tech. This is where I met the most amazing acting coach called Mr Rene Tredoux. He was not only my mentor but my friend too and he played a very influential role when its come to my acting career. He taught me that if I wanted something bad enough, I would have to work hard to get it and I feel that after all these years, filled with blood, sweat and tears, I’ve done just that.
You have a two your old daughter. Are you able to spend enough time with her when on location, and is it easy to make the transition from action man to father when you’re not shooting?
There’s one thing more important to me than my career and that is my daughter, Talia. Regardless of whether I’m working or not, I will always find the time to spend with her. For instance, whilst shooting Elysium in Canada I would make sure I got to Skype her on a regular basis. I guess you could say that when I’m with her I make the transition from action man to ‘action dad’. She’s the best thing that has ever happened to me and has changed my life in more ways than one. I can truly say, I am blessed beyond words.
You have worked with Sharlto Copley and Neil Blomkamp. Tell us a little about filmmaking with these fellow South Africans.
Where to start… Both Neil and Sharlto are unbelievably passionate and professional about what they do. They are simply the nicest guys you will ever meet and I am exceptionally proud of their achievements and honoured to have worked with both of them.
The list of skills you have acquired is rather impressive, from martial arts, to weapons, diving to singing. Tell us a little on how you bring those to your roles.
With the skills I have acquired, its been a great help in certain roles I have had play. For instance, my love for martial arts has helped me in many of my ‘fight scenes’ that I’ve had to do as well as my knowledge of weapons which has been a huge help when it’s come to scenes that involve the shooting of guns etc… We live and we learn. I think that the older I get, my skills set just continues to improve.Right now I’m training with a boxing coach, Kyle ‘The Saint’ Bothma for an upcoming movie about a boxer who loses everything and finds redemption in underground gage fighting.I love the world of Mixed martial arts.
South Africans took priding in almost claiming District 9 as a South African production, and it did a lot to put SA on the film map. How do you see future and progression of South African Filmmaking?
District 9 is very much a South African production, as it consists of a 80% South African cast and crew. I think it definitely proved to the rest of the world that we as South Africans are more than capable of being world class film makers. I feel that, we as a country have amazing stories to tell.Hopefully long walk to freedom will be the last political story we make.
I just wish that there would be more support not only from the government but from the South African public too. If SAGA is able to bring some change and our audience is expanded, I most certainly see a very bright future filled with lots of potential for South African film making.
Do you find working both in-front of the camera, and behind, brings a better understanding to the projects, and helps your acting and producing all round?
With starting my own production company called ‘A Breed Apart Pictures’ with my best friend, I have most certainly expanded my knowledge as to what all goes into making a film. I have also gained new respect for producers and all the hard working film crew. Anyone who thinks being on a film set is glamorous, has no idea about what film making really is. It’s hard work and needs nothing less than pure dedication. I love film making. Every aspect of it, whether it be in front or behind the camera.
Do you have any tips for aspiring South African actors and filmmakers?
I would say, Do it! Just do it! As an actor do everything you possibly can. Do musicals, children’s theatre, television, etc… gain as much experience as possible. Another thing Be nice, because lets face it, nobody likes a pre-madonna. As for the film makers out there, get that story right because if it’s not on the page it’s not on the stage.
What’s next for you, as actor and as producer
Next I’ll be shooting Neill Blomkamp’s new movie called “Chappie”. We start shooting in September and will finish up in December, which will end off a pretty good 2013 for me. Then as the new year starts, we go into pre production for our first movie called “Shadow Boxer”, in association with Karoo Films. All of it is very exciting and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.