Australian-born actor David Breen has had a rather wild and successful twelve months. He got to stand-in for Danny McBride on the well-known “Dundee” super bowl commercial, which aired at the beginning of the year, his short film ‘’Post Mortem Mary’’ won Best Short Film at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival. Now the renowned horror festival Screamfest chose to premiere his latest film, the frightening ‘’Stray.”

The Sydney-born actor is fresh from a trip to Los Angeles, where he has been training with some of the country’s best and planning a move into US film and television.

David discussed all of these successes and more via an exclusive interview on November 20, 2018.

Horror films, characters, and science

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to become an actor and which came first, the biomedical science or the acting?

David Breen (DB): Looking back on it now it’s all a happy accident. I’m a recovering alcoholic, sober for over eight years now. I was suffering from a major panic disorder and using alcohol as a crutch, big mistake. I went to rehab a few times, and when I began my recovery my psychiatrist and I were talking, and he suggested I try acting as a form of therapy to try and combat my panic disorder, turn the negative energy into positive. So, I went to my local community theatre years ago, gave it a try, it worked and here we are.

The Biomedical Science came well before the acting; if it wasn’t for the situation described above, I doubt acting ever would have come into the equation at all.

MM: Where did the interest in biomedical science originally stem from?

DB: That all started in school. My best subjects were always in the sciences; biology, chemistry, etc.

plus I loved Phys Ed. and played lots of sports growing up, so the human body was always interesting to me and studying it in depth seemed a no-brainer.

MM: Can you tell us about your first big on-camera break?

DB: The one I find the most amusing is being Danny McBride’s body double in the “Dundee” Super Bowl commercial at the start of 2018, millions of people have seen you but don’t know it’s you.

There’s a bunch of things I’m proud of, getting roles on TV shows in Australia were boxes I wanted to tick. Mainly I’m proud of the films I’ve had lead roles in that have been selected for and won festivals all around the world. As for a specific big on-camera break, when it happens, I’m sure I won’t know till afterward.

MM: And you’ve since worked on projects that have featured the likes of Nicole Kidman, Chris Hemsworth, and Adelaide Clemens. Which of the projects, do you believe, has opened the most doors for you?

DB: Every project opens different doors. Working as an actor is by no means the most profitable career choice so when you work on paid films and do your job well, you’re more likely to get hired again.

It’s all about just showing people you can turn up, do your job, not start any fires and get along with everyone. Working closely with bigger name actors like Chris Hemsworth let’s decision makers know they can trust you to do your job at the highest level if they put you on set. I see it as all these little things that add up to more doors opening each time.

MM: How did “Post Mortem Mary” come to you and can you tell us about your character?

DB: “Post Mortem Mary” was a short film script that was selected by the state film body as one of the films to be funded for the year. A friend of mine was friends with the director, and I had seen his previous work, so I hounded him for an audition, it’s not the smartest way to go about things, but I knew I had to work on that film.

Fortunately, I was cast and now its history. My character, Gabe, is the father of a girl named Mary who has recently died. Mary was involved in a terrible accident which Gabe bears some responsibility for so the feeling of guilt he has is overwhelming. Gabe lives with his wife on a rural farmhouse in the 1840’s so there’s not a lot of people around to speak to so he must try and deal with his daughter’s death the best he can and as you can guess it’s extremely hard for him.

MM: Does it help to have a fondness for horror films if you’re going to be in one?

DB: It helps to have a thorough understanding of genre, and that goes for whatever film you’re acting in. Each genre has its own nuances that you can play to as an actor and horror is no different.

Thankfully watching horror Movies is a guilty pleasure of mine, so I’m always excited to be cast in one. One of my favorite recent horror films is ‘A Quiet Place,’ man that film is tense.

The movie industry, projects, and advice

MM: So, David, what do you think has been the best part of working in the movie industry and where do you see yourself in a full ten years from now?

DB: All the fantastic people I’ve met. Directors, producers, casting directors, production designers, soundies, all people that work on films are just the most passionate people to be around. It’s like playing on a football team, you all have your job to do, and you all rely on each other and when the film does well you all win.

It’s great to share that with other people that are just as dedicated as you are. It’s not the money as many people think, I would’ve stuck with Biomedical Science if I wanted money. In ten years, I see myself still acting, to me, it’s a lifelong love affair that came out of the blue. I’m not in it for a while, and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll throw in the towel, I love doing it so I will keep doing it. Hopefully, I get the chance to work with more of my peers on both sides of the camera and yeah, I’d love to star in bigger films, but there’s a lot of work between now and then to be done. I just take it one day at a time and make sure I’m always ready when an opportunity presents itself.

MM: Do you have any upcoming projects or advice that you would like to share?

DB: I’m attached to an upcoming sci-fi feature film called “Stream” which we should be shooting mid to late next year. “Post Mortem Mary” and “Stray” are still doing their festival runs, and I’m sitting on a few scripts that people have sent me. Coming up to Christmas I’m trying to relax but I have a 4-month-old niece who is getting all my attention for the moment, I’m a first time Uncle, so I’m loving the new arrival in our family, even with the Superbowl ad, winning Sitges and another premiere in LA for ‘Stray’ she’s still easily the best thing that’s happened to me this year.

My advice is to be patient, be humble, do the work. If this is a career that you want to pursue you have to love it.

Get used to rejection, learn to love it cause that’s what a lot of an acting career is but always believe it can be done, people have done it before you; it’s not impossible. And whatever you do don’t get into acting the way I did, there are much easier and healthier ways to get involved in the industry. Good luck to all my fellow actors out there, you got this.