Former Home and Away star Brenton Thwaites talks playing cricket with an Indian snake charmer and not kissing Angelina Jolie for his latest film projects.
Best known for playing teenage heartthrob Stu Henderson on Home and Away, Brenton, 23, is swapping the small screen for the big screen first in Aussie comedy, Save Your Legs, before making it big in the US playing Prince Charming alongside Angelina Jolie in the upcoming Maleficent.
Directed by Boyd Hicklin, Save Your Legs is about a cricket enthusiast (Stephen Curry) who gets his park cricket team, made up of thirty-something blokes, to tour India. It's about mateship, cricket and the realities of growing up. The film opens nationally on February 28, and features an all-star Aussie cast including Curry (The Castle, The Cup), Brendan Cowell (Beneath Hill 60) and Damon Gameau (Balibo, Underbelly).
Brenton plays a young, upcoming batsman wunderkind whose talents are exploited to get the D-grade Aussie team on the tour. In real-life, Brenton is not as good at cricket as his co-star (and scriptwriter) Cowell, but he is certainly no stranger to the bat and ball.
"I'm alright at it. I had a bit of training about three to four net sessions. When I was a kid, I played backyard cricket every day," Brenton reveals.
"India is all about cricket. Even if you're not shooting a cricket movie, the Indians try to get you to play cricket all the time."
There turned out to be lots of impromptu street cricket with the locals.
"Even on the bus, we'd have a bowl between the seats," says Brenton.
But the film is not just for cricket fans. "It's about friendship, the journey between friends, and the happiness a bat can bring," says Brenton.
There were many bonding moments between the cast while shooting on location. Brenton recalls travelling on a "crazy tuk-tuk ride" with his co-star David Lyon, and also being on the back of a donkey in Varanasi. "David and I were thinking we were going to die on one of those crazy rides," he says.
At one stage, the cast and crew stopped in a small village in the countryside, and brought it to a standstill with a big cricket game. "We even played cricket with the snake charmer," says Brenton.
No trip to India is complete without a stint of Delhi belly, and Brenton did not escape the initiation. "Everyone goes to India, everyone ends up s----ing themselves. We all got sick with Delhi belly at some point. I had four days laid out in bed."
Brenton and the cast also needed to learn a spot of Bollywood dancing for the film.
"The dance sequence was hilarious to shoot, there were two dance sessions, about four to five hours long in this toilet cubicle-sized studio in Mumbai," he tells us.
"It was filled with 12 burly men trying to get this dance sequence, and some couldn't dance at all, some couldn't get the moves right. There was no room to move and a lot of frayed egos."
Brenton would love to star in a Bollywood film one day. "If I had the choice [between playing the hero or the villain], I'd have to play the hero," he says.
"In Hollywood, I'd love to play the villain, and in Bollywood, I'd love to play the hero."
His latest turn as Prince Charming in Maleficent sees him play the hero. Shot in London, the Disney reboot was Brenton's first experience working on such a large-scale Hollywood production.
"It's a huge production and I got to work with some great actors and really talented people," Brenton says.
But did he get to kiss Angelina? "I'll leave that to Brad."
Brenton Thwaites with director Boyd Hicklin on location in India.
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