Luke Baines by Cameron McCool

Toronto International Film Festival is renown to present young and established talents from the film industry. The Girl in the Photographs had its world premiere at the 2015 TIFF event, shown in the horror genre Midnight Madness category. The movie is the last one to credit Wes Craven as producer before his passing in August 2015. He was known as a master of horror after he originated the Nightmare on Elm Street, that debuted Johnny Depp, and the Scream series.

Young actor Luke Baines, who moved from his hometown Sydney all the way to LA to pursue his career, played one of The Girl in the Photographs’ serial killers. Exclusively for Fucking Young! he recaps his steps into realizing his dream and how he gets ready for a role, especially when it comes to impersonating the complexity of a serial killer.


Luke Baines by Cameron McCool

How did you know you wanted to be an actor?
I remember being really young watching Henry Thomas in ET and being so moved by his performance. I said to my Mum, “when I grow up, I wanna do that.” Not long after, I started drama lessons and just fell completely in love with it.

Do you have an actor or movie that pushed you in that direction?
While ET was the first, I feel like every time I watch a good movie or performance I’m inspired to work harder and be a better actor. But Leo in Romeo + Juliet, Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Cate Blanchett in The Talented Mr. Ripley are definitely standouts that jump to mind.

You also model for American Eagle, American Rag, Roark Collective and Chapter. How is juggling between these two careers?
I’d definitely never call myself a model… I just sometimes let people take photos of me for money. And luckily whenever I’ve done that it’s been really editorial, so I can create characters and stupidly elaborate backstories that account for the reason I’m in a sewer in downtown LA.

And do you have any particular brand you would like to model for?
I’ve been wearing a lot of All Saints lately, so I’d love to work with them. But dream labels would be Burberry, Prada, Tom Ford, Rag + Bone, Saint Laurent.

What is your favourite movie genre, to act in and to watch?
I love watching psychological thrillers. Especially when they truly take you on a ride. I remember finishing The Sixth Sense and not being able to get over the ending for days. Or Inception or Shutter Island… I mean, I’m still debating with myself about what happened.

How do you prepare for an audition? Any particular ritual?
I learn my lines as quickly as possible so I don’t have to worry about the words. Then I can dive into the material and dig for who the character is. That’s one of my favourite parts of acting, researching and creating characters. You have such a unique opportunity to create a person from nothing. Not many careers allow you to do that.


Luke Baines by Cameron McCool

Do you have any tips on how to give the perfect audition?
There’s no such thing as a perfect audition. You can give the audition of your life and still not get the job because you’re not the right fit. As far as advice, I’d say don’t try to be what you think they want. Just focus on doing justice to the script and your character. If they want you, they’ll want you. Be unapologetically true to your instincts. Then at the very least, if you’re not what they’re after, they’ll respect your work.

What is one of your most memorable acting or modelling experiences?
Working on Saving Mr. Banks was incredible. It was my first time on the set of a big budget Hollywood film and it just blew my mind. The sheer amount of talent assembled – from costumers to gaffers and actors – was overwhelming. Not to mention walking on set and seeing Colin Farrell, who I admire so much as an artist. He’s brilliant to watch, and so genuine.

What has been one of your biggest struggles as an actor?
Dealing with rejection. It gets easier but it never stops hurting. But I think it has to, because if you’re not investing yourself, your audition or project, then you’re not going to do a good job, but at the same time a little part of you weakens every time you’re told no. Especially when it’s one of the projects that touches you. It can be brutal.

Is the acting industry as you thought it would be?
Yes and no. It’s definitely a lot less glamorous than I’d imaged. When you’re amongst it, it’s kind of like peaking behind the magician’s curtain and seeing the strings. You realize the perception is contrived. That said, when you come across a project or people who are truly talented and are in the business just to tell great stories, then it’s magical and better than I could have ever imagined.

About your latest movie, The Girl in the Photographs, how was impersonating a serial killer?
It was intense. More so than I would have imagined. You think it’s going to be all fun and games until you have another actor opposite you who’s crying and you’re the aggressor. Even though you know it’s make-believe, it can be sickening. Especially when you’re working opposite extremely talented people who force you emotionally to feel what they’re going through.

How did you prepare for such a role?
I worked with a forensic criminal physiologist from John Jay College in New York who gave me incredible insight into how this kind of person operates and what motivates him. It was the most helpful experience and really made the character click for me. From then on it was that much easier to step into his skin.

How was working with the late Wes Craven? Any anecdote you can reveal about him?
Wes was a brilliant and beautiful person. It was an honour to have met him let alone act in one of his movies. When we had our initial table read, I sat opposite him in complete awe, focusing more on watching his facial expressions than concentrating on what was going on in the script. It was great. He was so engaged and enthusiastic. It really set the tone for the rest of production, when someone of that stature endorses what you’re doing.

You grew up in Sydney and you are now living in LA. How is it different and which do you prefer?
I love Sydney. It will always have my heart – especially because most of my family is still there. But LA’s become my home. It’s a spectacular city and just when I think I’ve finally figured it out, I find a new area or meet a new person, and everything changes again.

What do you do when you are not working?
I’ve been writing some scripts lately which I really enjoy. It’s so interesting to attack a story from a different perspective, and while it feels like a standalone thing for me, it’s definitely informing how I view scripts as an actor.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?
On a beach somewhere with my wife by my side watching our kids play in the ocean. A pile of scripts next to me, deciding what project to tackle next, with some stupidly fruity cocktail in my hand.

Last but not least, in your opinion, what is really Fucking Young!?
Fucking Young is living in the moment. Truly, living and breathing the shit out of it.