December 8, 2014
Co-writing, co-directing and starring in new movie The Mule was an exhausting but rewarding process for multi-talented funnyman Angus Sampson.
While it was stressful juggling his various roles, working closely with long-time friend, former roommate and creative collaborator Leigh Whannell, who is best known as the brains behind the hugely popular Saw and Insidious series, was a lot of fun for Sampson.
“It’s been a labour of love for Leigh and me,” the actor told Access All Areas.
Just as funny as cult cinematic classic The Castle, The Mule is based on a bizarre true story about an uncooperative drug smuggler who found himself in a tense stand-off with customs officers and Federal Police.
Rather than releasing the film in cinemas, Sampson and Whannell have made their latest collaboration available for digital purchase for audiences across the globe.
For Sampson, who was born in Sydney but now splits his time between LA and Melbourne, the motivation to bypass a theatrical release was based purely on the benefit for viewers. “From the outset we wanted to make this film accessible for audiences,” Sampson said.
“In Australia the industry practice is that if you agree to have your film shown theatrically in cinemas, regardless of how many screens it’s shown on, it’s done on the proviso you do not release the film anywhere else for four whole months. Unless we were going to open at 500 cinemas, or however many cinemas there are in Australia, we couldn’t see how that was putting the audience first.
“The next best option is to sacrifice one revenue stream, that is, the cinemas, and put the audience first. So if you live outside Perth, in Broome or Esperance or Kalgoorlie or Denmark, and you have the internet then what logic prevails that you shouldn’t be able to consume the film when and where you want to consume it?”
Boasting a cast that reads like a who’s who of Australian cinema, The Mule sees Sampson play opposite Hugo Weaving as Croft, an AFP officer who refuses to let a seemingly dim witted bloke get the better of him.
“It was very humbling,” Sampson said of working alongside such an experienced performer.
“He’s a super smart human who is very socially aware, socially conscious, incredibly generous and just an interesting individual.”
For links to download The Mule – including from iTunes, BigPond Movies and Foxtel on Demand – see http://212ignite.com.au/themule/.