Brisbane cinematographer Dan MacArthur has just wrapped shooting a new action thriller on the Gold Coast headlined by Cuba Gooding Jr.
A hard-working and long-time player in the Australian film industry, Brisbane's Dan MacArthur looks set to see his workload increase significantly over the next few months. Having just completed work on the feature film Deception, the second half of 2012 will also see the release of the Australian produced thriller Blood Money starring rapper Pitbull and Kill Bill's Gordon Liu. The laidback Queenslander also hopes to begin work on his debut feature as director early next year.
It's Deception that is shaping up as the biggest release yet for the DOP though - a full throttle actioner that's just wrapped filming on the Gold Coast with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. Shot over one month on a hectic schedule, the shoot's car chases, fight sequences and shoot-out scenes had both cast and crew on the move non-stop. But MacArthur welcomed the daunting workload, impressing the film's director, Brian Trenchard-Smith.
While the England-born Brian Trenchard-Smith has a career spanning four decades and over forty films, the director is perhaps best known as a major player within the Ozploitation genre of the eighties, moulding the movement with such cult classics as Turkey Shoot, The Man From Hong Kong, and Dead-End Drive In. "I had never worked with him so I had no idea what he was like really," MacArthur relays. "But he's very flexible and easy to work with. He's open to ideas too. Sometimes those types of people can be a bit - this is what they want and that sort of business. But he was totally the opposite of that, so it makes life a lot easier."
Having dealt with notorious egos in the past, MacArthur had only good things to say about Gooding Jr. "He was really cool. He had a good time and he was joking around. I think it was probably the fastest thing he's worked on in a long time, ‘cause we were just cracking the whip non-stop. And he didn't mind that. It meant that he wasn't sitting around and he only had to wait five minutes between resetting the shot and changing some lights around before we had to do something again. But he's such a good actor that he can do that. He can just walk in the door, read a few lines that morning and go, ‘Righto, tell me what I gotta do, this is what I wanna do', and away we go."
Having worked in the Australian film industry for a considerable time, MacArthur knows more than most about the current state it's in. "It's the finance people that aren't taking the risks," he suggests. "It's really kind of an insecure market as far as getting things sold overseas, because ‘Australian' film is basically a dirty word. The last thing you would say to anyone overseas is that it's an Australian film. They'd just march you out the door straight away pretty much.
"But my advice to any filmmaker who wants to get anywhere, doesn't matter whether they've just started in the industry or have been in it for years, is just to get a small camera, put a script together and make a film. ‘Cause then you've got something behind you that you can then walk out the door and go, ‘This is what I've done'. And it wouldn't matter if it was half crap ‘cause at least you've made something, and I think a lot of people are realising that now. It's the only way to go."
Picture caption: Cuba Gooding Jr on set with Dan MacArthur.