Omens II by Laurence Fuller

As I dusted off the ends of the journey of Road To The Well, with so much derivation and comparisons, as one critic aptly cited 'Nods to Shallow Grave, tips of the hat for Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, as well as sly winks towards Soderbergh’s first feature Sex, Lies and Videotape.' - Flickering Myth ***** and a number of others comparing me to a young Ed Norton. What I loved about the LA LA Land vs Moonlight dispute, is that you had one film about other films, with performances which were in many ways about performing. And with Moonlight you had a truly original voice, that was trying to communicate an authentic human experience.

After what has been described aptly as a "grinding sense of tension" in ROAD TO THE WELL which philosophically took a hammer to my faith, I found it was only capable of chiseling at one area of it, which is spent at the end of preparation. That area of intense ambiguity which is so often mistakenly described as 'just throwing it away' or 'letting it go', the concept therein that you just say the words without any meaning behind it and it will magically yield incredible results. The idea is that the actor is prescribing too many intellectual projections onto the text and not connecting with the world around him. I always found this to be such a tenuous and superficial explanation for what was truly going on in that moment, when the individual awakens, moments where we pierce through the cloudiness of our dream state which hovers over most days, and come to terms with the fullness of living and the rich gifts that this world has to offer, 'just throw it away' doesn't come close to accomplishing that.

Breaking down regular modes of thought which lead associated patterns on a cycle of repetition, that constitutes the conscious mind and a kind of 'super ego' to use Freudian terms. To break down this pattern is useful, to allow the subconscious to speak through the barricades of awakening. This piercing drips with the light of potential space and can be the beginning of an opening to something which transcends the self, more than just a pile of unrelated memories which we shape in some form of justification for our existence and our choices in life, but a potential for behavior which taps into a kind of raw humanness. Existentialism can be a means to access this, and yet after a while I came to find it could also only ever serve as a leaf on the tree of The Method, as the opening of the subconscious can only be useful if the it is primed with the character and the story.

This is where many give up their quest through the Method, and I don't mean only the one set down by Strasberg or Stanislavski. And like philistine propositions set down in True & False the warrior like Mamet begins to loose his way, Bonnie Hurren the former head of my course at Bristol Old Vic was the first to taunt me with the pamphlet, you'll hear more about her later. Poor soul, as I trampled on Mamet's half thought out rationalizations of a frustrated writer, clawing for attention, above and beyond not just the actor, but film itself. With a kind kind of reverence for the experience of death I went through with Frank in Road To The Well World Premier: Death, Pleasure & Friendship

PAINT IT RED was the beginning of the destruction of those doubts within myself which hung on only like rotten fruit wavering on the branch of a tree, I merely shook the trunk, while some leaves of existentialism remained the rotten fruit fell.

The fight in PAINT IT RED is against the philistines. Philistines are the enemies of culture, art and I would argue humanity. Anyone in this case who hinders Ciaran's quest for beauty. However philistines usually sit in their "Black skeleton and blinding square" whose widening sun drenched reflection threatens man's vision, and extends personal power to limits of what he an get a machine to do instead. As we mushy organisms once brilliant in every respect stare at the painfully simplistic profile versions of ourselves. 

In his intense letter correspondences with my father the art critic John Berger (1926-2017), wrote 'the idea that art is only for the rich is wrong'. Beauty and its quest are for those in most need of it, both rich and poor. Philistines are the faithless, within and without ourselves.

Around November last year I met with the PAINT IT RED boys Chad Addison, Tommy Kijas and Paul T Murray and was offered the lead role of Ciaran. At the time they were unsure wether to keep the character Irish, or change him to Australian to fit in with my natural accent. That night I walked through Los Angeles listening to Liam Neeson's audiobook narration of James Joyce's How The Irish Saved Civilization in my ears, as I walked down to Ivana Chubbuck Studio seeking inspiration. The next day, I contacted the boys and told them I strongly felt that Ciaran should remain Irish, it had to do with loyalty and Catholic guilt.

At the time I was reading the script for PAINT IT RED and preparing for the role of Ciaran, the otherness of the world was beginning to become very painful for me, I was becoming increasingly obsessed with the idea of futility in subjectivity in a way that was like seeing the frailty of my skin and the strangeness of things.

Cairan is pressed by the notions of individuality and separateness that our generation in particular now find ourselves, not only to be a creative person but to be living in such a competitive world. In many ways that underlying ruthlessness of Los Angeles is treated lightly in a way that only laughing at the desperateness can show the truth of the situation.

The search for beauty is so often underpinned by a rugged brutality, stringent, uncompromising quest to prevail, exclusivity, a climb, a struggle, a ruthless clawing at the flimsy veins of the window which pretends and shelters. One begins to claw, because of a feeling of not knowing, or of knowledge that there must be more. 

It wasn't enough for me, that Cairan was fighting for this money for purely self interest or luxury, it had to be a fight for something more. Cairan believed he was involved in a struggle for the fight for culture, and that there was a spiritual secular significance to his work. In preperation I studied the works of three artists in particular Enrique Celaya, Johan Andersson and Anselm Kiefer.

"If you are not sophisticated you should not pretend to be. An artist should not be a pretender. It is better to have a lesser knowledge that is earned than a greater one that is borrowed. You can only bring work forth from your own level of experience. You will fool many people by impersonating a deeper spirit, a smarter mind, but the work knows - and show you - where you are" - Celaya

The production designer and I had long and deep discussions about this artist and how it might inform Cairan's paintings, we determined a philosophical search was at the heart of his work, it was very important that he was not a Pop artist. But more about this later.


"We don't know why we are here, we don't know where we go, we have an intellect to try to find out, but we cannot, it's quite desperate no?" - Anselm Kiefer

A few weeks later as circumstances shifted in perfect alignment with my quest, I found myself on a plane to London at the start of 2017, moments before boarding my flight, I received a phone call and signed with Authentic Talent.

Omens I by Laurence Fuller

In many ways this story begins last September, at the San Diego International Film Festival where the rag tag bunch of renegades that are the Road To The Well crew, scrambled through the streets of San Diego from our screenings of obscure indie dramas to the Oscar hopefuls in Lion,  and a special preview of Hidden Figures. It was a handful of studio backed mega dramas versus the new wave of young penniless independent filmmakers trying to complete against the majors with empty pockets, David & Goliath.

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The Journey - My Father In His Own Words by Laurence Fuller

As it happens, I agree with Gilbert, one of the contributors to Oscar Wilde's famous dialogue, The Critic as Artist, who argues that higher criticism is 'the record of one's own soul'. He goes on to describe it as 'the only civilized form of autobiography, as it deals not with the events, but with the thoughts of one's life; not with life's physical accidents of deed or circumstance, but with the spiritual moods and imaginative passions of the mind'.

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The Spiritual In Our Time & The Ruskin Lecture by Laurence Fuller

It seems we are faced with increasing divisions in the West, that in one sense allow for greater individuality then ever before and yet what we give up is any sense of unity. In researching a film about my father this last two years, I looked back at the revolutionary 60s and how far away from that united utopia they envisioned we now find ourselves. It could be said that this idea of connectedness is just an illusion and what politicians are all fighting for is a feeling that rests beneath all their rhetoric.

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Road To The Well wins at Long Beach Indie & the Q&A by Laurence Fuller

Watching DeNiro's brutally vulnerable monster staggering with understanding and determined to pursue his creator to the ends of the earth, I received a text from the director Jon Cvack with the brilliant news the Road To The Well won the top prize of Best Of The Fest at the Long Beach Indie Film Festival. This film has gone from strength to strength on the festival circuit since it's premier at Dances With Films, since it has been accepted into a number of major film festivals and up for awards competition in all of them including San Diego Film Festival coming up. All this was not without the blood and sweat of all involved, stitched together by the unlikely leadership of Jon Cvack. It was brilliant to get the five of us Jon, Micah, Marshall, Tim and I all in the same room for the Q&A at Long Beach for fifteen minutes or so we had the floor and the stories of forging this dark little monster began to spill out of our respective laboratories of memory.

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Long Beach Indie Film Festival: ROAD TO THE WELL by Laurence Fuller

The last time I was in Long Beach I was on route to Catalina to join my mother as she searched for inspiration for her latest series of paintings amongst the coastal life of Catalina. Perspective is a very important part of her work so we went up in helicopter to search for whales and then underneath the surface in a submarine to see the fishes, then out on a boat to search for sea lions. Painting as with acting begins with a stimulus which grows into its manifested form with time and cultivation. Though that stimulus is qualitative and its cultivation must be considered to produce a great work of art.

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LONDONS CALLING: Freudian Dreams by Laurence Fuller

"To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognized for oneself" if this old adage of John Berger's from Ways Of Seeing is true, then Lucian Freud's subjects are certainly Naked. And all that space that exists with the naked form before a dissecting eye, masterfully encouraged where in all that grotesque interchange does beauty exist. There is an undercurrent of danger and spontaneity when a person is naked in the presence of another.

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Why do we find sexuality a taboo subject in our culture? It is what creates life and yet can be a destructive force for many, a primordial unity for others and for all there is an element of sacrifice. The French call it La Petite Mort (The Little Death), Marcelle Hanselaar's series of etchings by this name have been were an early influence on me. I feel much of life comes down to this tiny demise, figurative painting by the London School in particular Bacon and Freud capture this so well. 

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London Calling at The Getty Museum: Introduction by Laurence Fuller

London Calling at the The Getty Museum feels not only like a significant moment in my life but in the cultural life of this city, everything I've loved about art since I was a boy crossing the pond from London to Los Angeles, perhaps I'm in the right city after all. This exhibition not only marks a legacy of masterpieces painted within our time but for me it sheds light on the growing ecosystem of brilliant artists working in Los Angeles emerging just below the mainstream, who uphold this legacy for the next generation.

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Suicide Squad & Comic-Con SDCC 2016 by Laurence Fuller

With so much controversy surrounding the release of Suicide Squad, I was watching how Jared Leto’s performance played out and would be received amongst all the noise, personally I thought it was one of the best performance I’ve seen on film so far this year. For my part I believe that performances in films should be judged based on the the quality and impact of the work as appose to the size of the budget, this goes both ways. Having only had leading roles in independent films, it would be very easy for me to sit back and judge a Studio extravaganza from an artistic high ground, and certainly in some cases I can, but not all.

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Hollywood North Film Festival & Unreasonable Passions by Laurence Fuller

Having had incredibly passionate beliefs of my own, that at the time of my having them felt overwhelmingly real, especially when in the grips of a character. It’s like my entire world gets reframed, but I love that feeling, I’ve become addicted to it over time. A kind of violent self destruction of my own identity that’s I’ve come to love. But I don't know that growing up and accepting the way things are is a kind of inevitably, because I don't think everyone comes to the same conclusions.

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Dances With Films: Death, Pleasure & Friendship by Laurence Fuller

This is much the same problem that Hamlet wrestles with, just before this clip I was talking about the comparisons between Classical theatre and American cinema. Apparently soon after this I was also talking about whether or not to commit suicide, "To Be or not To Be" made sense at the time. My meaning was the existential/nihilistic questions being posed in the characters journey, discussions between myself and the director Jon Cvack were focused on the way that Satre or Camus would take on such problems. Camus believed the only real philosophical question worth asking was wether or not to commit suicide.

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Road To The Well premier @ Dances With Films Festival & the subjectivity of research by Laurence Fuller

Today the announcement came out that Road To The Well will be premiering at TLC Chinese Theatre as part of Dances With Films. I reflected on the first moment I was offered the part, and preparing to play an American for a full feature. I think it would have been impossible if I hadn't lived in Los Angeles for three years prior to shooting, I considered the subjectivity of research. Much like the difference between academia and spiritual experience.

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Skin In Water & Rebels at Newport Beach Film Festival by Laurence Fuller

The week leading up to Newport Beach Film Festival I was looking at purchasing some art with my friend Matthew Crowley, we were steeped in exhibitions, print auctions and discussions about the political economy of art. I directed Mattie in a play in London called "Things We Want" in the year before I moved to Los Angels and his performance was brilliant, we went for the spontaneous and the ambiguous, jumped out the window when it came to a fixed position, much like my approach to life in general.

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Australia by Laurence Fuller

I went out to Australia to seek rejuvenation and new lands within myself. The trip back got me thinking about the nature of identity, as I reconnected with old friends and reinstated myself within the family unit again I noticed my Australian accent getting stronger, old phrases coming back into my vocabulary. All these things made me reconsider the nature of craft, as a separate theory from the human animal impossible. Belief is not a digested 'system' that lies dormant once learnt, but something that grows and shifts with the person.

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The Antipodes & I by Laurence Fuller

I made my first trip to Australia in 1982, and I went again in 1984, and 1985. These journeys have had deep and still continuing effects on my attitudes to art, landscape, and indeed nature itself. They have also changed my life in more personal ways. In one sense, at least, these Australian lectures chronicle my antipodean transformations.

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