Warwick Thornton's role in Samson and Delilah
Alice Springs, Australia
Thornton left school unable to read and write, and started working as a radio DJ. He soon graduated to having his own show called Green Room. His infatuation with images led to him working as a camera assistant before going to study at the Australia Film and Television School in Sydney. His failure to get enough cinematography work led to Thornton writing five, ten and 20-minute films and he started to receive funding from grant bodies. Before he knew it, he was a movie director.
What’s he up to now?
Thornton has followed up his short film hit Nana with Samson and Delilah, a tale about an aboriginal boy and girl forced to run away from their community. The film poses important questions about modern day Aboriginal life without ever letting up on entertainment value. On it’s release, the film, which has little to do with the bible story even as allegory, caused uproar over it’s piercing social commentary.
On the electronic soundtrack
‘Sound has got a lot more to play in a film then people give it credit for. It’s always used to fill the spaces between the pictures. That’s the wrong way to think about sound. Switch the picture off and if you can still tell a story you’re on the right track. Maybe it’s my radio background – I love sound. I think it’s under-utilised. You can do a lot without dialogue. I hate dialogue. I find it really cheap in cinema nowadays.’
On supermarkets in Alice Springs
‘There’s one big supermarket in Alice Springs – it’s the place to go. I used to do a lot of window shopping as a kid because I was too afraid to go in because you used to be followed by a security guard. Even if you have money, they still follow you.
Thornton gave the role of Gonzo to his brother on condition that his brother would first go to a drug rehabilitation centre in order to kick his habit. Once he was clean he got given the part.
Samson and Delilah, GFT, Glasgow & Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 2 Apr.