Interview: Australian actor Finn Little on Those Who Wish Me Dead & Ties with Angelina Jolie
At the age of only 14, a talent born in Brisbane Finn little has already amassed an impressive filmography. After getting the lead role in the Australian drama Storm boy at just 11 years old, Little continued his steady rise in the industry with roles in the Netflix series Tidelands, the mini-series The jugement, and the thriller directed by Luke Evans my angel.
2021 brings its most publicized project yet, starring Angelina Jolie in thriller Taylor Sheridan Those who wish me death. As a young boy fleeing from relentless assassins, Little was in good company with Jolie, and as the film prepares for its local theatrical rollout – before arriving in both theaters and HBO Max in the US – Peter Gray caught up with the young star to discuss the making of the film and her one-time bonding excursion with Angelina.
Congratulations on the film. It’s always great to see local talent flourish.
Thank you so much.
You mentioned during the screening that you didn’t like looking at yourself on the screen. Did you get to enjoy the film given that you had so much support during the screening? Are you able to distance yourself from what’s happening on the screen?
It was always weird looking at myself on the screen, worrying about what everyone was thinking and whether they liked it or not. I had a lot of family and friends there, people who said I was “fine” (laughs), so that relaxed me.
Going from Australian productions to the international market is not always the easiest transition. Did you expect to win such a massive project so soon?
Definitely not. It was a big step forward between working in Australia and America, especially alongside Angelina Jolie and (director) Taylor Sheridan.
What was the audition process like?
I did a self check-in in the living room with my mom, and they liked what they saw. They sent me to Los Angeles for an audition with Angelina and Taylor, and I was incredibly nervous – it’s still scary – but they liked me and I got the call the next day!
I understand that Angelina Jolie took paintball as a bonding exercise from you?
Yeah, we went airsoft. You use small plastic pellets that you pull over each other. We had a lot of bonding time, we went swimming and barbecuing… we hung out a lot on the weekends. It was really fun having that relationship with her outside of the movie.
I liked in the film that we saw a little more of a maternal side of Angelina Jolie. Obviously, this experience helped with the fact that she got you mom in the movie.
At first (her character) is not very comfortable with children and she does not consider herself to be very motherly. I think they grow on top of each other and she reveals that side of herself.
They built this amazing forest in New Mexico, basically just to let it burn. How did it go?
It was interesting because we filmed a lot of it in a real forest, but then Taylor wanted to build a fake forest to light it up. It was really great working with Tayler because he likes to put his actors in the environment, to feel what his characters are feeling. You are in the moment, in the zone, and you understand what this character is going through. I think it’s awesome.
With so many practical fire effects, how many stunts on your end did that involve?
I’ve done pretty much all of my own stunts. It was great. The hardest thing to do in New Mexico waterfalls, however, is the altitude. You’re so high up there and it’s hard to run and jump, all of that physically demanding stuff.
You have Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult in the movie, absolutely terrifying as they chase your character. Did you interact with them well outside of the shoot?
We hung around the set a bit. We chatted with each other to discuss the dynamics of our characters. They are both really lovely people. It was great working with them and watching the movie, they are so mean!
Given that there is such strong language and violent content in the movie, are you familiar with much of this material? Are they trying to film as much as they can without exposing you to it?
They filmed a lot of it with me there. It’s part of my job to be involved, and I don’t find it scary because I know everything is wrong.
I really appreciated that the script gave you some comedic moments as well. The joke you had with Angelina when her character states that she can’t feel sorry for herself around you was delivered very well. Do you want to explore comedy?
Oh, yeah, definitely. I would love to work on a comedy someday. This is something that I am looking at now. I’ve worked on such different genres and I think comedy would be so fun to explore.
Was acting something that you always knew you wanted to do?
I had never thought about it at this level. Playing is something I enjoy, and Storm boy really opened my eyes. It was never really an option for me. I never thought I could have an acting career. But it’s an interesting process from Storm boy at Those who wish me death. It’s an amazing and better experience than being stuck in an office.
Those who wish me death is screened in Australian theaters from May 13, 2021.