Actor laments new release paradigm

21 September, 2015 by Don Groves

Sullivan Stapleton is disappointed Kill Me Three Times had a multi-platform release in Australia and limited theatrical exposure in the US, but relieved that Cut Snake will finally open in cinemas this Thursday.


The actor is proud of both films but accepts that the cost of releasing films theatrically means it is increasingly difficult for distributors to secure screens and risk significant sums on P&A.

“It’s a bit of a shame but that’s the era we live in,” Stapleton tells IF on the line from New York, where he is filming the NBC drama series Blindspot. “If releasing films (on digital platforms) means you can reach the widest possible audience, so be it.”

In Kriv Stenders’ Kill Me Three Times he played a gambling addict who attempts to pay off his debts through a risky life insurance scam.

In Tony Ayres’ Cut Snake he is Pommie, an ex-crim who tracks down his former cellmate Sparra (Alex Russell), who is trying to go straight with his soon-to-be-wife Paula (Jessica de Gouw).

Stapleton had long wanted to work with Ayres and much enjoyed the collaboration, observing. “He is an awesome man. I can’t wait to see peoples’ reactions to the film.”

When we chatted the actor was nervously awaiting the responses of US critics and audiences to Blindspot, which premiered on NBC on Monday US time, right after The Voice.

As it turns out, the premiere drew 10.6 million viewers, ranking as NBC’s highest-rated series launch in two years in total viewers and in the key 18-49 demo.

He plays hardened FBI agent Kurt Weller, who is drawn into a complex conspiracy when a naked, amnesiac Jane Doe played by Jaime Alexander (Thor 2: The Dark World, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) is found in Times Square covered in a series of cryptic tattoos… including his name on her back.

After completing a five season-run in the Cinemax series Strike Back, Stapleton was happy to take another TV assignment, which means living in New York and working with Blindspot creator Martin Gero and the production team at Warner Bros.

NBC ordered 13 episodes with an option on a further nine, and Stapleton is confident the show will be renewed. The Seven Network has the Oz rights but has yet to reveal a telecast date.

Before Blindspot he played a Navy SEAL in Steven Quale’s action thriller The Lake, which follows attempts to solve an age-old mystery involving a treasure underneath a lake in war-torn Serbia.

Co-starring Charlie Bewley, Diarmaid Murtagh, Sylvia Hoeks and J.K. Simmons, the film was shot in Berlin and Croatia and gave Stapleton the chance to work with his Europa Corp.’s Luc Besson, who produced and co-wrote.

Stapleton had to take a break from Strike Back last year after suffering a fractured skull when he fell off a tuk tuk in Bangkok. “I spent six months recuperating at home with my mother in Melbourne, which I had not done for a long time,” he said.

When Blindspot goes on hiatus the actor hopes to return to Australia to appear in two films, titles under wraps.

“The great thing about coming home is being able to work with my friends, speak in my own voice and tell our own stories,” he said.