The Backpacker movie

Kathryn Vukovljak talks director’s nerves and the importance of “doing evil” with Dion Boland and Vincent Stone, writer-director and star of low-budget horror flick “The Backpacker”, on the day of its Australian theatrical release in […]

There’s no doubt about it, Vincent Stone can do evil.

“I think when you’ve got this sort of lived-in face you can do bad,” he says cheerfully. “I do invariably get asked to be the baddie by casting agents, but that’s okay.

“There’s plenty I can draw on, to get in that zone, although I haven’t killed anyone!

“There’s stuff I’ve been and done in my life, that I may only ever tell one or two people, but I think everyone has the potential to do dark stuff. And when you have such a strong back-story on a character, like the one Dion gave me for Malek, then you can more easily tap into it. You can relate. Even the twisted sexual stuff, there’s a way to relate.”

Likeable and not remotely evil-looking in real life, Bowral-born Vincent plays creepy serial killer Vincent Malek in “The Backpacker”, a horror/thriller set in remote NSW with echoes of “Wolf Creek” – backpacker Ben Cross is hunted through “unforgiving terrain” by psychopath Malek.

The movie, shot on a shoestring budget and tiny cast of nine under the direction of Dion Boland, will have its Australian premier tonight at the Limelight Cinemas, Hyperdome, Tuggeranong.

“I really wanted the theatrical release to be in Canberra; it’s the capital city, and the heart of the Australian defence force,” says Dion. “The character of Ben is an Aussie digger returning from Afghanistan, so it seemed fitting.

“It hasn’t really dawned on me yet that it’s opening tonight. Once I see people sitting in seats in the movie theatre, then I’ll have achieved what I wanted. At the moment my heart is going!

“The magic is the cinema. It’s the last sacred place, I think – where you can completely escape, you turn off your phone and go into another world. The world is so immediate these days, but in the cinema you take time out. I love that.”

“The Backpacker” was in official selection at the 2010 London Independent Film Festival and screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Dion says that he was inspired by Clint Eastwood who said: “take a small dedicated crew to an isolated spot and make a movie”.

“I really stuck to that,” he says. “We shot the film in 28 days and I think with limited time and budget everyone ups their game. It’s more of a challenge.

“Vincent’s like a chameleon, he’s a very giving actor, I mean as a director you want people to give you more, but sometimes it would be too much!

“There were times when he scared even me. There’s a shot we filmed through the window of an old deserted shack, and he puts down his gun and turns his head, and I just thought, ‘I’d rather be anywhere than tied up in that place with this guy’.”

“The Backpacker” (90 minutes, rated M) is on limited release at 2pm and 7pm all this week at Limelight Cinemas, Hyperdome, Tuggeranong.

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