Script helped Mark and Vinnie say yes to Human Traces

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 17 Sep 2017

Script helped Mark and Vinnie say yes to Human Traces
Hobbit actor Mark Mitchinson and newbie Vinnie Bennett share a few things in common. For a start, they both starred in the Kiwi psychological thriller Human Traces. However, both the actors hail the script of the film as the deciding factor for them to give the nod. IBNS Canada's Suman Das and Sudipto Maity catch the two together at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where the duo was busy promoting the movie.

To you both: Why did you say yes to Human Traces?

Mark: Well, I just loved the script. I think all actors are driven by the script and story. The character of Glenn was quite something I thought that I could bring out a truth and realism that would translate well on screen. I liked the character, you know, I mean he’s not the most likeable human being...he’s complex and tricky. That was a good challenge for me.

Vinnie: The reason I said yes to Human Traces is because of the script too. Usually when I audition for things, I like to not read the entire script, so I can have the one scene and not think about it too much. But with Human Traces I kept reading and by the end I was like wow! I loved the character. It’s a pretty rare film in New Zealand. It was more along the lines of my personal taste, in terms of movies.

Mark, the entire movie is a bit complex and your character in it is that of a quiet guy. Tell us a bit more about your character, Glenn, from the film and how you coped up with the challenges, if there were any.

The challenge for me was being in an environment that was completely out of my comfort zone. So, he’s (his character) a scientist and he’s down in this very isolated island and his focus and concentration is how to really deal with the ecological problems of this island. That in itself is a huge manifestation of difficulty, because it’s very hard for one person to affect change on such a large scale. But Glenn (his character) is there because he thinks that he can actually change the environment and get it back to the ecological state that it was before man ever touched it

Vinnie, how different are you in real life from Ricky, the character you portray in the movie?

First of all, the place where we were shooting, is very different from where I live, in the city in Auckland. I had to adjust to this feeling of being lonely. While reharsing, Nic would make me go out in the city and just spend time with myself and get a feeling of loneliness. 

For Vinnie: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best and 1 the absolute worst, where would you place Nic, the director?

I’m going to have to put him up there with 10. Nic was very generous with letting his actors have control over the project. He’s been working on it for a long time. It’s his first feature’s his baby. I understand that the directors would be very controlling of their first film, but he was very trusting with his actors.  

To you both: What according to you is the USP of the film?

Mark: In some ways it’s a bit of an old fashioned movie, in the sense that it has only three characters...It was somewhat like a play. The uniqueness of the changing nature of the relationships is what I think is why people love to go to cinemas. You are not necessarily looking at it for the excitement of an adventure story, it’s much more the relationships that people can relate to. I think that’s its uniqueness in some ways.   

Vinnie: The unique selling point I think is the environment. It’s raw New Zealand. There’s barely any human living there. It’s like penguins and seals and it’s more their land. It’s really rugged.

For Mark: Did it take time for you to fit into Glenn’s shoes?

Yeah, it takes time when you are building a character...I wanted to find something that I could relate to, that I could build and gradually get to a place where the manifestation of this character comes out through the clothes that he is wearing, the boots that he’s wearing.

For Mark: How was your experience of working with Nic?

It was one of the best experiences I have had on a film.

Mark, you were the most experienced among the cast members.Did that by any chance translate to added pressure and responsibility of carrying the burden of the film on your shoulders?

You never think about it when you are doing it, but I was very conscious that I was probably the most experienced person in the cast and in the film, but, we were such a great team and Vinnie (Bennett) and Sophie (Henderson) are such beautiful actors to work with. They are so talented in many ways, and it was very easy for me to feel like I could lead at some stage.

To you Vinnie, how does it feel to be recognised as a TIFF 2017 Rising Star?

It’s amazing. Hats off to TIFF for having such a programme to promote Canadian and also international emerging talents. For me it’s been exhausting, but, the best kind of exhaustion that you can get. I have never been to TIFF before...always wanted to.


Vinnie do you plan to venture out to other places?

I plan to keep acting and yeah hopefully...LA is the place where everything is made, but other cities too are catching up. India of course is one of the biggest in the world...I would be happy to act in an Indian movie.  

For Vinnie: If given a chance, with which Hollywood director would you want to work with?

That’s a tough question...I really like David Lynch and I’m a huge fan. I understand that he’s not making a lot of films anymore, but if he makes one then I would love to work with him. Martin Scorsese...Xavier Dolan are the other directors I would love to work with.


Images by Radha Bose/IBNS and movie stills

Interact with Suman: @surasum and Sudipto: @maightyman