Talented Aussie Actor Daniel James Talks to Us About His Booming Career and Upcoming Projects
We recently caught up with actor Daniel James in between his busy schedule to find out a little more about his background in acting and upcoming projects. Here is what he had to share:
Please give us an introduction as to when you first got into the entertainment industry:
It was originally suggested that I try modeling when I was 25 years old. Soon after I turned my attention to acting and found myself working as a background actor. My first experience working on a production was playing the role of a roman soldier on the fantasy adventure television series “ROAR” for the FOX network filmed on the Gold Coast, which starred Heath Ledger and Vera Farmiga. After that I was being booked on multiple productions and commercials across Southeast Queensland, Australia. In 2008 I started training at Queensland Actors Playhouse under Mirjana Ristevski and Michael McNally.
Do you feel like you have grown a lot more as an artist over the years, through your experiences?
I have grown in multiple ways and extending my craft in many directions over the past 20 years. It’s when you learn the fundamentals of acting and master the craft only then you are ready to remove the mask and wholeheartedly take the mask off and embrace the character. You can allow yourself to breathe freely, become vulnerable and messy, and not control what is happening, you then start to surrender and let go in the moment where authenticity of the character is revealed. I have participated in many classes and workshops during my career. You need to experience all the different techniques, whether that be acting, vocal or movement, whatever it may be.
I have discovered the diverse range of techniques and methods that align with me resulting in becoming a competent, confident master of my craft. Through the mentorship and guidance of numerous coaches and peers I’ve trained with, I have had some incredible breakthroughs that have given me recognition and respect in the industry. I acknowledge how much I’ve evolved and grown in my skillset and diverse abilities to play compelling memorable characters that are convincing to the audience.
In one of my latest roles for “Seven Times’ I played the character of a father and husband, and his world spiraling out of control with an addiction to narcotics that turns into drug fueled violence. This character had complexity and vulnerability with intensity. To play this character I used specific holistic techniques to prepare for the character and come back to a safe space after going to a dark, gritty place to inhabit the role. I felt after playing this role I have grown incredibly as an actor feeling like I had this powerful moment of transformation in an emotionally charged space.
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on so far?
This is difficult to say as it's like comparing apples with oranges. They have all been stimulating and valuable experiences in multiple ways. This could be due to the transformation I have done to embody the character or working with extraordinary filmmakers, actors and crew and the bond created with them. From a transformational perspective I would say the feature film western “Blackwater” I played the character One-eyed jack, a long-haired scruffy vagrant that’s part of the outlaw gang out to create chaos and stir up trouble. This was a fun character to play with a Midwest American accent with a chip on his shoulder. Interesting fact was, I rode a horse named Jack named after “The Whispering Jack” himself because it used to be owned by the Australian music legend singer John Farnham. It was a memorable project involving many laughs and great camaraderie amongst cast and crew.
What has been some of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
I have had great opportunities working on many amazing productions with incredible filmmakers, crew and actors being some of the biggest highlights in my career to date. Attending the Foxtel AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) awards in Sydney at The Star Event Centre celebrating screen craft excellence on several occasions and walking the red carpet mingling and rubbing shoulders with many stars and award-winning celebrities including Deborah Mailman, Simon Baker, Nicole Kidman, Sam Neil, Damon Herriman, and many other Australian and International stars amongst the A-List invitees has been incredible as well.
In 2016 and 2020 I was invited to one of the Academy Awards Oscar events, The Roger Neal Oscar Viewing Dinner and After Party at the Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles. I also attended private events at the Luxe Hotel in Beverly Hills rubbing shoulders with people like Leonardo DiCaprio and the cast of the Revenant, Eric Roberts, Lou Ferrigno, Jamie Brewer, Doris Roberts, as well Special Icon Honorees and other major A-List stars attended.
I won the 2021 Nominee Best Actor for my role of Dominic Romano in “Seven Times” at the ASIN awards in Cleveland, Brisbane Australia. Considering the caliber of Australian talent nominated this was a great honor to be chosen. This has enhanced my credibility and has led to numerous opportunities to further my career. To embody and execute this dark complex character took a lot of preparation and holistic thought processes to play this authentically and truthfully. I was particularly proud of everything we achieved with this production from the radio interviews, premieres and charity events on the Gold Coast and Ipswich and screenings on the Sunshine Coast to raising awareness around domestic violence raising approximately $6,000 for RizeUp, one of Australia’s biggest organizations for victims and their families that have experienced domestic violence.
What other projects do you have coming up?
I have several projects coming up in the United States. Having travelled to the United States over the last 8 years meeting with producers to discuss opportunities, I have been blessed to be cast in some amazing productions. Although I am unable to publicly speak about some of these projects for now, I can discuss an incredible production I have been cast in, “Andean Society” which will be produced by AK Entertainment and will be filmed in a several locations across the United States including Los Angeles and New York.
Set in Dystopian times with themes like that of Blade runner where the world expands into a vertical city in the distant future. The story unfolds around a darkly imaged Washington DC, carpenter Andean Meso is the unexpected guardian of the powerful Epoch Society, however with the cunning Judd Holocene on their trail, one miscalculation could spell disaster for the city’s soul. I will be stepping in to play one of the lead roles, Commander Rax who is a member of the Epoch society with a military background. He is Andeans guide with existential connections and questions the morality of keeping the Epoch society a secret. Already Andean Society has won two screen writing awards to date. This will be a full-length feature film with plans for a theatrical release and VOD streaming platforms.
What have been up to in the industry lately?
I’ve been busy filming a new Australian feature film shot in New South Wales and attending three film screenings that were shot in South East Queensland including my hometown of Brisbane. Recently I completed filming on the feature film production “Patched”, a film that centers around bikies and brotherhood shot in Coraki, New South Wales and is the inspiration of creator Colin Dixon and his own life during his childhood. I play the role of a local radio announcer Mike shock jock. He has a controversial take of the new anti bikie laws, and he believes the governments energy could be spent elsewhere. Patched also stars Australia’s Gary Sweet, Kim Wilson and Nathan Jones and directed by Steve Mann.
I had the pleasure of attending the special private preview of sci-fi crime drama feature film Space/Time in Brisbane ahead of its film festival run. My character in the film is the bodyguard of one of the antagonists where my character is put to the test to stop the operation. An extraordinary film from Mohworks Films which is a new science fiction mind bender. A movie about the accidental invention of time travel and the true cost of scientist discovery. Along with a stellar Australian cast and directed by Michael O’Halloran, this film is an amazing journey across space and time set in beautiful locations in and around Southeast Queensland, Australia.
After having a success international festival run and multiple premieres and screenings of Seven Times in 2021- 2022, the hard-hitting drama film yet again had another screening alongside its director Ashlee Jensen’s new thought-provoking short film premiere “The Finish Line” in October at the Strand Cinema, Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Seven times won 11 awards, including Nominee Best Actor on the Australian and International film circuits. Seven Times was created to bring awareness to domestic and family violence which is clearly an important topic in our society today.
This year I have been appointed as a judge for the acting, music video and documentary categories for the Gold Coast Queensland 2023 Christian Electi International Film Festival to be in November. The organizer and founder of the festival has been created by award winning Australian Christian Producer/Writer and Director Linda Marie Curry an Independent filmmaker of LMC productions. An array of entertaining and thought-provoking short films, documentaries and music videos have been selected for this year’s festival. It was an honor to be invited to be a judge for this exciting festival as I have been a long-time friend of Linda’s and we have worked together on several productions.
With my extensive experience in the industry Linda believed I would make a fantastic judge for the festival. Joining me on the judging panel are experts in the industry, including multi award winning Australian cinemaphotographer Andrew Condor (The Bureau of Magical Things), (Seven Times), (Thirteen Lives), (In Limbo), (Rock Island Mysteries); award winning actress Caroline Dante (Pirates of the Caribbean), (Joe Vs Carol), (Tv series Neighbors), (The Wilds), (Boy Swallows Universe), (ABC TV Troppo) and award winning Australian Christian Producer/Writer and Director Linda Marie Curry (Dralien), (Know by Heart) and (Beautiful Scars).
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
Be open to learning the finer details of the craft from those experts in the field you admire and respect. Be humble yet self-contained and focused on your goals and aspirations to become the best in your industry. Don’t be concerned with what everyone else is doing and avoid comparing yourself to others. Focus on your goals and align yourself with the opportunities that speak to you. Ignore the outside noise and avoid being railroaded by negative opinions of following what you’re called to do. “Be authentic, follow your heart and your creative instincts”. Whenever you feel distracted by the noise, remind yourself why and how achieving this goal makes you feel and what it does for your soul. We all have different journeys; nobodies’ journey is the same. Stay focused in your own lane and on the path, you feel aligned with.