Hunt for The Wilderpeople - Julian Dennison interview
There's no doubting Julian Dennison is a star.
He made waves in NZ film Shopping and certainly stood out in family Aussie flick, Paper Planes.
Now the teenager's getting a starring role under the tutelage of Taika Waititi in the new film Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which hits NZ cinemas on March 31st.
Humble, humorous and self-assured, Julian took some time out to chat about the film (which I'd strongly urge you to see) and about his aspirations in life.
Tell us how you got the role of Ricky Baker – I hear you didn’t have to audition?
I first met Taika when I did the drug driving add ‘Blazed’ with him. Later I found out when he wrote the script he had me in mind for it which was pretty cool.
What was the difference between making this film and Paper Planes?
Hunt for the Wilderpeople has been my first lead role so its heaps different. It took heaps more time to shoot and all the other stuff you have to do like ADR and publicity. Plus its pretty cool to be doing it on your home turf.
Talk us through your reaction when you saw who else was in this film.
I was so excited to meet Stan Walker. My cousins love his singing and it so it was really cool to meet him!
The film was a massive success at Sundance, what was that experience like?
It was so cool going to Sundance. It was my first time in America, and it was cool to see all the snow and the other famous films that were there.
What was your favourite moment to film on set and why?
Probably shooting the car sequences and shooting the guns, it was so much fun!
Conversely, what was the scene that caused you the most trouble and why?
It would have to be the scene with the hot water bottle over the fire. It was the last shot of the day and we had all this fake rain and the wood was wet. People couldn’t work out how to slit the water bottle and the dog kept running away so we had to do it like 50 times!
Having seen your turn as Ricky, I think you’re going to be a massive star – how are you coping with the accolades – I’ve heard you’re still having to do the dishes at home…?
It’s been pretty cool seeing people on the street and saying hi and all that but I still have to do my homework after this!
Is it important for you to stay grounded as a normal kid and what do your mates make of your rising star? How do you spend your spare time?
I love hanging out with my family and shooting hoops in the backyard. It's cool to be with them and just be a normal kid.
I’ve read you enjoy acting, but want to do directing. What is it about that side of the camera that impresses you more – and what kind of films do you have in mind for making?
I would love to make a film about New Zealand stories, especially ones from the town I am from, Naenae.
Hunt For The Wilderpeople opens March 31st.