KATANNING actor and silver-screen gunslinger Mitchell Page is returning to his home town next month for the screening of the internationally acclaimed independent film The Decadent and Depraved.
Mr Page filmed alongside Australian TV screen heroes Michael Muntz from A Country Practice, McLeod’s Daughters’ Ben Mortley and Blue Heelers’ Steve Turner during his role.
Mr Page said he initially auditioned for the role of ‘Cattlehandler Number 2’ when he got offered to read the role of Ellis.
“I wasn’t even auditioning for Cattlehandler Number 1,” he joked.
“After auditioning they asked me to read the part of Ellis. I drove off when I was done and they called me back 30 minutes later to do a second reading.
“A week later they asked me if I wanted the part of Ellis.”
Mr Page said Ellis’ character leapt straight off the page when he was reading the script but nutting out the details of his persona was a harder task.
“I started off reading a lot of history on what Western Australia was like back then. It was hard work,” he lamented.
“So I decided to read more about the culture and the poetry.
“There was a lot of Banjo Patterson.
“Ellis’ role was unique in that you just had to dive in, sail over the edge and hope you come back out the other side.”
Mr Page said his character was certainly unhinged and an overall wacky personality.
“I drew a lot of inspiration from ragged bushrangers and Ned Kelly sort of figures,” he said.
“I just really wanted to play on the myth of what it was like back then to be a bushranger.
“I’m definitely drawn to these sorts of characters. I played Monster in the Lockie Leonard series and he was definitely wild and wacky.”
Twenty-one year-old director Jordon Prince Wright said Mr Page jumped into the character of Ellis.
“He starts off as an undeniable cruel villain in the beginning,” he said.
“By the end of the film he’s more of the lovable villain and acts as comedy relief.”
Mr Page said the process of filming The Decadent and Depraved was a great and intense experience.
“It was either scorching hot or below zero,” he said.
“We really had to battle the Australian environment sometimes since we were filming in outback Kukerin, Cue and Yalgoo.
“There were plenty of late nights and rogue animals.
“The fact that we had such a young cast as well with 19 to 20-year-olds was amazing.
“Their work ethic was fantastic. They would just say ‘bugger it’ and have a crack.”
Mr Page said he was ecstatic about the screening at the Katanning Town Hall.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to do a screening of a film I’m in at home,” he said.
“Katanning is known as the heart of the Great Southern and I’m hoping it can be known as the Hollywood of the Great Southern just for one night.
“Mum and Dad are still in town and they’ll definitely be beating the drum, but we’ll definitely do a bit of a shindig.”
Mr Prince-Wright said this would be the first screening of The Decadent and Depraved in Katanning.
“We’ve taken the film on a tour three times already since it has been so popular,” he said.
“Our biggest premiere event was in Perth, but our stints in country towns have had a completely different atmosphere.
“I feel like the one in Katanning is going to be bigger than Ben Hur, that’s for sure.
“The Shire has been treating us like royalty and the locals have been incredibly supportive.
“We had around 200 people turn up in Kukerin to watch Mitchell run his lines.”
Mr Prince-Wright said he was still shocked at how his $100,000-budget film had evolved into a multi-award winning film.
The Decadent and Depraved has so far won six awards at the Los Angeles Film Awards, seven awards at the Oniros Film Awards, three awards at the New York Film Awards and was a winner of the Festigious International Film Festival.
Mr Page said for now he would be concentrating on his most important project yet.
“I have a one-and-a-half year old at home. That is my little project at the moment,” he joked.
“She takes up a lot of my time and energy so I’ll finish off the film tour and spend some more time with her.”
The Decadent and Depraved will screen at the Katanning Town Hall on November 17 from 7.30pm with a Q&A with the filmmakers and actors on November 18 from 10am.
Tickets are available at www.trybooking.com/418922.