For many, the name Daniel McPherson means Neighbours or City Homicide, but TV soap star he is not.
In the new Australian sci-fi drama Infini, by director Shane Abbess, McPherson leads an all-star Aussie cast into the deep dark corners of space.
Humanity has become the victim of mass overpopulation and the line between middle class and poverty no longer exists. Following an intergalactic disaster, an Elite Search and Rescue team embark on a dangerous mission to stop a global threat and save a stranded soldier (McPherson) on a remote mining station in deep space.
Infini is another solid offering from the Australian film industry, and gives McPherson the opportunity to shed his TV persona and flex his acting muscles.
I caught up with Daniel to discuss Infini, the challenges of becoming a ‘leading man’ and his thoughts on space…
Is Infini you’re first foray into the sci-fi genre?
It is, it’s only my second feature, and my first truly lead film role. I was always a huge fan of classic Sci Fi like Alien and Bladerunner, and more recently films like Minority Report and District 9, but this was the first time I’d ever worked in that world and Infini was carefully designed to look like classic 70’s Sci Fi.
Tell us a bit about your character, Whit Carmichael?
Whit is a young man, new husband and soon-to-be father. He takes on a dangerous job on a deep space mining station to help earn his family out of the futuristic slums, into a better life. He has a good moral code that is tested as the movie goes on. He is forced to make some selfish decisions and learns a lot about himself as he and the crew are tested.
What drew you to the script and the role?
Shane and Brian’s scripts have a very strong moral core, there’s underlying themes of life and death, of faith and love, of primal human nature, and I think these grand themes are important when setting up the spine of a film.
You’re most recognised to Australian audiences as a TV actor. What do you like most about being part of a feature film like Infini?
Infini was a great challenge to prove to both myself and audiences that I am capable of much more than we’ve ever seen on TV. I challenged myself to the utmost degree with this role, and was pushed and supported by an incredible cast and crew. The result for me is a career changing performance, certainly now in the way I approach acting and roles, and I think every actor in the cast would say the same about themselves. It was a experience unlike any other, and we will be forever bonded and forever changed.
I understand Infini was filmed and post-produced in NSW. What was it like be able to shoot such an exciting film on home soil?
It was in Sydney but I didn’t see much of ‘home’. I was so focused on the shoot and my performance, that I actually moved into the set and lived on set for the duration of the shoot. A few cast and crew did the same and it allowed us all to focus intensely on the job, without many outside distractions. I’m very proud of this movie being an Australian film, with an Aussie cast and crew that even though made on a minuscule budget, is good enough to compete on a global scale.
What was it like working with director Shane Abbess?
We met over Skype 8 weeks before the shoot, and 4 weeks before I auditioned (I flew myself back to Australian from L.A for the audition) and we clicked instantly and had a lot in common, born a few days apart and growing up in Cronulla. We ended up building an actor/director relationship that will be very hard to replicate ever again in my career. We worked incredibly well together. He was a puppet master, manipulating the entire set, but we had an incredible trust and communication and have since worked together on a TV pilot script and are reuniting on another feature project in July this year.
You lead an impressive cast – Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth, Bren Foster, Luke Ford, to name a few – was there a good dynamic on set?
It was an incredibly tense and powerful set. A lot of strong performers, everyone in character for the duration of the shoot. We pushed and challenged each other every single day. It was a constant barrage of powerful performance and every time the bar was raised performance wise, the cast would rise to meet it and raise it again. It was by far the most challenging environment I’ve ever worked in, but ultimately the most rewarding, and I think most of the cast will say the same.
Finally, having made the film, if an opportunity to go into deep space came about in your lifetime, would you do it?
We know so very little about the extremities of space, just follow @scienceporn on Twitter if you want to have your mind blown in even the most basic way. I think I’ll quite happily watch from home. I’ve seen enough out there haha
Infini will be available to rent or purchase on iTunes and other digital platforms on May 8.
For more info, visit http://infinimovie.com