Dimitri Baveas must be the best-kept acting secret in Brisbane – but the rising star’s charismatic turn in Healing with Don Hany and Hugo Weaving is about to change all that.
Healing is one of the best Australian films to come out in recent years, in my honest opinion. Did it ever get intimidating on set?
Only in the make-up chair. Hugo and Don had some pretty mean facial hair going on, and I was clean shaven so there’s a pecking order which comes with that. Other than that not at all, more exciting than intimidating. We had a great cast of actors and a great script to work with, so being a part of that was a great challenge and a really rewarding process. We worked in a zoo with different birds of prey, fed some emu’s and travelled throughout country Victoria, so turning up to set everyday was a treat.
In the movie you play the estranged son of Viktor, who is played by Don Hany – I interviewed him when the film came out, and I found him very charming! He plays a completely different character in this movie though, he is very jaded, quite rough and older than we are used to seeing him. How was he to work with?
Don’s a great guy and a great actor. He brought so much to the character and the story personally. Our characters have a very difficult and estranged relationship in the film, so there was a lot that needed to happen between us without being said. We come from similar backgrounds so we teed it off pretty well. We met on the first day on set. I had just had a haircut, Don came over and we started chatting while he slowly picked the pieces of hair off my forehead. Such a good dad.
Viktor and his son are of Iranian descent in Healing, but many people may not realise you are actually Greek. Was it difficult to learn a different language?
I didn’t actually have to speak much (of it)!
Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
It started when I won a scholarship to a local school in Brisbane. I moved on to an agent and auditions when I was 18 and that’s when I got The Ruins, and it all just kind of followed from there. It’s been a great ride so far, I’ve been lucky enough to travel around Australia and abroad doing it and I’ve met some amazing people along the way. Pretty stoked all around!
You scored your first part in a US movie in 2008’s The Ruins – can you remember what it felt like when you found out you landed that first role?
It was all pretty surreal. I hadn’t really worked on anything yet and suddenly I had a part with Dreamworks, so it was all a bit of a dream. We had a lot of fun on that set for the next three months, and then in LA the following year. It’s always a bit of fun to catch it on tele somewhere and watch my brains blow out and a creepy vine eat me up. My mates love it, they even made shirts.
One of your co-stars in that film was Jena Malone, who has become kind of a big deal to The Hunger Games fans!
Yeah she’s hardcore these days! Don’t believe it all though kiddies, she’s actually really sweet… she used to sing songs about us between takes. I wouldn’t mess with her though, and don’t steal her guitar.
You’ve also worked on some big television productions, including the Underbelly Files telemovie, Tell Them Lucifer Was Here. How did it feel to become part of that phenomenal Australian franchise?
Working on Underbelly was a big challenge. It was already a very successful franchise, so getting the call up was pretty special. Also being based on a true story, we had to do justice to the two policeman who lost their lives, so that added to the level of work we were doing. In saying that it was also a lot of fun playing the bad guy. I actually tried to get in contact with the real Jason Roberts, but due to legal reasons that couldn’t happen. He did send a message through to me though: “Don’t play me like a d@ckhead.” Hope he liked it.
What’s next for you now?
I’ve just finished a film with David Rosetzky called Gaps which is showing at ACMI at the moment. I’ve actually just come back from a 4 month holiday so looking forward to tucking into a new film project in the new year. Other than that, a bit of surfing and fishing.
HEALING was awarded the Audience Prize at St Tropez’s Cinema Des Antipodes Film Festival in France last month, and has just finished screening at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in Florida, USA.