Actor and Stuntman, Bret Kennedy shares his career aspirations!
Please introduce yourself to the readers:
HI I’m Bret Kennedy, I live in Sydney at the moment but am in the middle of taking my career to the US.
How and when did you first get into performing?
I first got involved in performing when I was 22. As a kid I didn’t really like drama or plays and those kinds of things, I was more into sports. When I was 22-23, I was one of the many cult fan followers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The writing, the action, the women :) the story back then was amazing. After chatting on one of the live forums they had running on the fan site, I got in contact with a guy named Jeff Pruitt. He was the stunt coordinator for Buffy from Season 2 onwards. I found out about stunt performers then, being a little naive didn’t realize that there was a whole other world to the movies. I was studying martial arts at the time and decided that I would look into this stunt thing. Sophia Crawford, Jeffs wife, was SMG (Sarah Michelle Gellar’s) stunt double from the first season, and with the guidance of both Geoff and Sophia I decided that I wanted to be a stuntie.
It was pretty hard to get involved in the industry in Sydney where I was living, but I was lucky enough to have met a guy based on the Gold Coast who was involved in training stunt performers. So with that information in hand, I hitched my swag, moved from Sydney to the Goldie and started training. It took me about a year to get my stunt grading, but I managed it. That was really the first introduction I had into the industry. After moving to the Goldie, Ray (the stunt friend) put in me touch with a group of guys who were doing a short film that he was supposed to be choreographing. I went in and auditioned for the lead and got it. This was my first ever role. The short was called Netherworld. I received my first on set broken bone, my first on set burn, and my first short film accolade, where it won best action short at the New York International Independent Short Film Festival. Since then I haven’t looked back.
Who were some of your biggest inspirations?
The guys who I grew up watching were Sylvester Stallone, Arnie, Harrison Ford, but I can’t say that I watched their films and was like “I wanna be Arnie when I grow up” but to look at the films now that I loved so much and the people, I feel more inspire me now, are without a doubt Leonardo Di Caprio, Will Smith, Brad Pitt (yes, he has much much more than good looks) Robert De Niro, Al Pacino. I have to say that if there is a movie out with any of those guys in it, I will see it at the theater, no matter what!
What kind have training have you done?
I first started with my stunt training. Martial arts for 4 years, then I received my 3rd Kyu (brown belt). We did a lot of wire stuff, fire burns and tumbling. I studied acrobatics with a private coach for just over 2 years as well. On the acting side, I have done a lot of short courses around the place, but more notably just finished a 1 year show reel course through Screenwise Acting Centre in Australia.
What has been your favorite role to play so far and why?
The Mercenary -fighty fight guy. I love my action films and I will almost never turn down an opportunity to do my own stunts, but I am looking forward to really pushing myself to spread to a few other options. I did a comedy piece for my showreel and I feel I really enjoyed doing that, so comedy may definitely be on the cards for the future.
What projects do you have coming up?
I have a feature that is still in development (doesn't’ everyone? :) ) other than that I am just focusing on getting myself to the states to really push forward with my career.
Who would be your ideal co-star and why?
I have often thought about who I would really love to work with, its a toss up for the guys bet ween Leo and Will, they can be just so versatile in their work. Leo has played so many different types of characters and each one of them to perfection. Same as Will, he can be that action guy, and then you look at stuff like Pursuit of Happiness, and its a different ball game. Women? Charlize Theron. She is like a power house, and gorgeous too. I love her work and would also go to see her at the theater any time.
What are your plans for the future?
Plans I think are pretty simple. Throw myself in the deep end of the shark pool, work my ass off, so that people who see that I am in a films go ‘Hey, Bret’s in that film, we gotta go see it on the big screen’! It's a long road but in all of the jobs that I have worked in (and there are a few, let me tell you) I have never ever wanted to be involved in something so much in my entire life!
What is your advice to other aspiring artists?
Haha.. am I qualified to give that answer yet? lol. Just keep pushing forward and never give up!