Monthly Archives: November 2014

Meet Barton Williams, Actor and Director

 

bwilliams3

AAFFN interview with Barton Williams

by Indigo Willing

WHO:

An orphan from the world’s largest humanitarian adoption program in 1975 called OPERATION BABYLIFT, Huynh Van Cuong as he was known then was airlifted in a cardboard box to Australia.  Adopted into an Australian family and raised in Adelaide South Australia, Barton brings a wealth of acting and life experience to his name. With a B.Ed./B.T and as a former professional water skier, surf lifesaver and martial artist Barton has an array of high level specialty skills. Starting at the tender age of 10 years old Barton has been acting in front of the camera and on stage across South Australia and New South Wales. Barton was trained professionally as an actor at ACTT (Actors College of Theatre and Television) and as a TV presenter at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art). Barton has an extensive range of TV (Home & Away Rescue Special Ops), Film (Motherfish & The Battle of Long Tan) and Theatre (A Quiet Night in Rangoon, How to lose sight) credits to his name. In addition to this Barton is a published children’s author and a producer of kids TV show, OFF THE SHELF.

INTERVIEW:

IW:

What kinds of challenges have you ever faced being accepted as Aussie boy growing up here?

BW:

Having White Anglo Saxon (adoptive) parents, I was exposed to non traditional sports and activities such as acting at a young age, surf life saving ‘nippers’ for kids and water skiing. Whilst I never received a lot of harassment, I did feel like I didn’t belong at times. As all the other so called ‘Asian’ kids did ‘different’ things, it made me feel a little weird.

IW:

How has the Vietnam War and your experience as an adopted orphan given you any special direction or insight as an actor and creative artist?

BW:

It has allowed me to really understand that behaving like a character overrides how you look as a character. Don’t judge a book by its cover until you see how they behave!  Always expect the unexpected and don’t always see the unknown as a bad thing.

bwilliams4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IW:

You were the subject of a film (Precious Cargo) about your biography as a Vietnamese adoptee. What was it like developing that story with Blue Lucine? How was it knowing someone else would act as you?

BW:

Blue Lucine has been pivotal in allowing me to celebrate my adoption. She taught me and through research educated on a things that I have in the past ignored. Seeing other actors act as me or my family was surreal at first but made me incredibly proud too. This was particularly noted because Blue made a point of taking parts of my doco verbatim.

bwilliams1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IW:

You are also a filmmaker, with a short film ‘To The Rescue’ which recently won the Encouragement Award at The Joy House Film Festival in September 2014 in Sydney.   How did that come about and did you draw from your personal experiences as a life saver and having grown up around the beach culture?

BW:

Ha ha ha… “To the Rescue” is actual a concept from a show that I use to produce. Yes, as a former active life saver at Coogee I wanted to share the wonderful service that SLSA and Westpac provide every day in order to help keep our community safe.

IW:

Who are some of your key influences or inspirations so far as feeling diversity is appreciated on the screen and on stage in Australia?

BW:

Where do I start? Khoa Do (Ahn Do’s brother) holds a special place within me, he cast me many years ago in his feature film MOTHERFISH in which I played a Thai Police officer. His gentle nature and creative genius inspires me without a doubt.

Then there are directors like Peter Andrikitis who I love their work and opportunities they provide for casting diversity. Anthony Brandon Wong is the most beautiful and inspiring actor of all time for me. I worked with him briefly on the ABC’s Maximum Choppage which was lovely because prior to that experience it has been during his workshops. Andy Minh Trieu the SBS Pop Asia god and Kitchen Whiz Ninja inspires me daily. His humble warm personality is always so appealing, even since we first worked on a HOT LIES (band) music clip years ago!

Finally, Felino Delloso, the king of screen and TV. This guy is truly amazing, fun, talented and all round great guy. I was blessed to work with him on a play years ago A QUIET NIGHT IN RANGOON and we even worked on Khoa Do’s feature film MOTHERFISH too.

IW:

That’s  an awesome list, almost a Who’s Who right now of Asian Australian talent.  Any other Asian Australians who you recently took away some wisdom from?

BW:

The lovely Ivy Mak, worked with her last week, she plays my wife on a new SBS drama called “The Principal”, starring Alex Dimitriades. Ivy taught me that you can be absolutely beautiful, talented, intelligent and a nice person too…!

IW:

Let’s broaden the question to more universal themes. Name some other favourite actors of any heritage, films etc and why?

BW:

Sooo many… Joel Edgerton and Nash Edgerton, why? Aussie born and bread. Such good physical actors both on the screen and stage. Saw Joel in A streetcar named desire and was in awe!

Cate Blanchett because she is faultless….and soooo grounded…a rarity for such an A-list actress.

Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers….why? because they just let their creative juices flourish and go against the norm which in turn creates stories on film that have us on the edge of our seat.

IW:

What’s some advice you can give others wanting to get on the screen and represent and tell a story?

Hmmmm……work hard….work hard…and be motivated by the chance of success rather than the fear of failure!

bwilliams4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IW:

What’s one of your best memories as an actor or director?

BW:

Hmmmmm……stage memory would have to be a play I did out in Parramatta with the wickedly talented Polish director Michal Imielski. The production took place in 4 rooms of a house in which guests were led through. One of my scenes involved being pushed up against a glass window…yes…I went through it and it cut my right shoulder….and yes we kept running with it.

Hmmmmmm film/TV…..probably RESCUE SPECIAL OPS when director Jeremy Sims had mistaken me for the stunt driver…lol!

Hmmmmm Producing an episode of my kids show where I ran around with the Sydney Swans at the SCG dressed as the character BOULDER complete with shoulder pads and a wrestling belt and headband!

bwilliams5

 

 

 

 

Barton also recently features in DESENSE

IW:

What’s next for you? Where can we see you or your work on the screen or stage?

BW:

Just about to head to QLD in 2 days for a war documentary being shot in Queensland. Then in December back to SBS’ new drama THE PRINCIPAL to work with my lovely wife IVY MAK…making out scene…..doh….no jokes…working with her again which will be fun. Small role on Home & Away as Dr. Nugyen which airs in February. Wish they’d give me the doctor role with surfing at Summer Bay?

I also start rehearsing for a play in early 2015 called DEAD TIME written and produced by the lovely and talented Fleur Beaupert….oh and maybe Peter Andrikidis or Quentin Tarantino might ring me next year….ha ha ha ha ha ha

IW:

Sure, we sure think those directors need to call, call now!

The likes of Tarantino, and you dear readers, can see Barton and Andy Trieu having a good ol’ biff below:

 

All photos used were supplied by Mr Williams for this interview.

Advertisements