Justice. That's the first word that comes to mind when Aaron Pedersen was recognised as Australian Actor of the year for his performance in Ivan Sen's Mystery Road at the Rolling Stone Australia Awards. After the simply deplorable snub by the Australian Academy of Television and Cinematic Arts (AACTA) awards and the equally offensive recognition of Leonardo DiCaprio performance as Best Actor in a role that is the quintessence of America, it's nice to see Pedersen getting credit for being the centre of Australia's answer to No Country for Old Men. Thankful for that comparison Pedersen called No Country "a 6/5 film."
Mystery Road also had a stacked Australian cast including Tasma Walton, Ryan Kwanten, Hugo Weaving to name a few and Pedersen said that his costars "felt love and connection to Mystery Road." He waxes lyrical about their generosity and that there was no "over indulgence" into characters. "Basically Blake, there were no tosser's, you know what I mean." [Laughs]
The role first came about as he and directorial force Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds, Toomelah) crossed paths in 2006. Pedersen tells me it was as simple as "I've got a project that I wanna talk to you about." It wasn't until 2012 though that he'd seen a script. Immediately he felt a spiritual connection with Sen and came on board as more than just a guy who "says the words on the page." Pedersen describes an immediate clarity on the project. From the ten day "reccy (reconnaissance)" into Queensland they were "brothers in arms," driving, Sen behind the wheel literally and figuratively, he says they felt like they were carrying "messengers from their ancestors." Mystery Road, a modern western noir detective story into the death of a young indigenous Australian girl is bringing some necessary things to the table for discussion. Pedersen admitted that although his character barely speaks a word he and Sen believed that in order to present these powerful moments, it had to be done with silence.
Speaking about this new peak in his career I asked if there was something different about this project than others. "Time. There's no luxury in T.V; you're chasing time. It was nothing like I'd ever experienced before. Ivan would say,'let it breathe,' He's an amazing leader." Pedersen closed calling Sen "The Filmmaker" - let's hope that this isn't the last collaboration between these unflinching Australian cinematic voices.
Mystery Road is released on Blu Ray, DVD and Digital on the 12th of February 2014.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to legacy audio reviews on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.