Big screen inspirations
Five films that inspire Richard Roxburgh to hit the road.
Movie moments that drive iconic actor and Audi Ambassador, Richard Roxburgh, to get behind the wheel and see where the road takes him.
31 August, 2020
It seems nuts but I’ve never been to the red centre, The Kimberleys or Broome
What was the last movie that made you want to pack your bags and hit the open road? Different cinematic classics press buttons in us all, whether it be all automotive action block buster from The Transporter series or something a little more sedate – say, Driving Miss Daisy?
For Australian acting great and Audi ambassador, Richard Roxburgh, his list is as diverse as his own impressive body of work, jumping eras and countries in visually stunning displays that would conjure the travel bug in anyone.
If you were lucky enough to share a road trip with him, you’d be sufficiently caffeinated and bopping away to some eclectic tunes the whole journey, if his playlist picks and back-seat essentials are anything to go by.
Audi Magazine: What would we find on your road trip playlist?
Richard Roxburgh: An endlessly eclectic array of stuff that would seem to the outside ear like a hoarder’s fever dream – Bolivian marching bands, Italian pop, my old punk favourites, ’70s Americana with a particular emphasis on surf culture, old school hip hop, trip hop, bebop, Senegalese stuff. Topped with some Foreigner, Boston and Chicago sprinkles.
AM: Australia is famous for its dazzling landscapes, many of which have played as backdrops to big-name films. What’s one landscape or location in Australia that you would love to feature in a movie, and star in yourself?
RR: It seems nuts but I’ve never been to the red centre, The Kimberleys or Broome – “so if someone could just sort out a cinematic road trilogy featuring those three places, that would be great. Thank you.
AM: If you were setting off on a road trip, what items would we find in your backseat?
RR: It’s going to sound weird but some kind of coffee-making equipment. I’m a coffee loon. I roast my own at home and have very particular needs and desires in coffee-land, so that’s not something I leave in the hands of adolescent cafe folk who’ve done a YouTube barrista’s course. I always have a couple of books on the go, so there’d be a bunch of them. My Leather-man Multi-tool. No, it’s not sexual, it’s the Swiss Army knife Swiss Army guys use, because you always need it for something.
AM: What are your five favourite films to inspire a road trip?
RR: I’m married to an Italian and my maritally-acquired Italian passport is one of my most prized possessions. In those heady days of yore when people used to file on-board aircraft and fly to foreign countries, we spent as much time haring around Italy in cars and on scooters as possible. I mean, why wouldn’t you? So if Italy seems slightly over-represented here, that’s why. In no particular order:
Location: Sicily – Italy
RR: Giuseppe Tornatore wrote and directed this glorious, sentimental favourite in the 1980s, but it’s ravishing Sicilian locations (mostly in and around his home village of Cefalù) are timeless. Sicily has been the invasion-football for occupying forces for thousands of years, and has the architectural back-catalogue to prove it. That, combined with the constant glimpses of the Tyrrhenian Sea make you long to jump in an overpriced airport rental in Palermo and get in amongst it.
I’m a coffee loon. I roast my own at home and have very particular needs and desires in coffee-land
Makes you want to get into a Rent-a-Wreck, drive around not speaking to anyone, looking at nothing and eating unremarkable pizza
Stranger Than Paradise
Location: USA – New York, Cleveland and Florida
RR: I’ve always loved Jim Jarmusch films, but then again, I loved acting in Waiting for Godot, where similarly all of a sudden, nothing happens. Stranger than Paradise was Jarmusch’s breakout work. Black and white vignettes fade in and out, one after the other, and the bouquet of deadbeats who are the central characters hardly say a word, and if they do it’s certainly nothing of consequence. For no good reason they drive from New York to Cleveland, visit a frozen lake with an invisible view, and then head down to Florida, which, incredibly, is even less inviting. The film is a weird hilarious triumph of a thing, and the bleak urban winterscapes of the American east just make you want to get into a Rent-a-Wreck, drive around not speaking to anyone, looking at nothing and eating unremarkable pizza.
Location: California Wine Country, USA
RR: Okay. I love Alexander Payne films, Paul Giamatti’s work, anything to do with vineyards, and drinking Pinot Noir, so this film was always going to be on a list somewhere. Paul Giamatti decides to take his old friend on a pre-wedding bachelor jaunt in the California wine-belt. His character is a divorced, middling, unsuccessful novelist with wine pretensions and his friend is an equally unsuccessful actor whose handsomeness is just on the turn. It’s the perfect combo to escort us through an array of hilarious and profound misadventures amongst the blissful beauty of grape vines.
Why don’t they set more films in wine country? This is a brilliant film, but even a bad film seems good if it’s set amongst vineyards.
Location: Italy – Gulf of Naples
RR: I told you this list would be Italian-heavy, but come on, have you seen this film? I mean, it’s set on a little island in the Gulf of Naples. Massimo Troisi, one of the post-war Italian comic giants, co-directs and stars in what was, awfully, his final film. Gorgeous lingering shots of the bay, sunlight everywhere, beautifully drawn characters and Pablo Neruda’s poems. It’s one of those films that makes you want to jump on QF-whatever direct to Rome, and then hit the autostrada, eating the best cheese and ham toastie of your life at the Autogrill, exiting at a state road somewhere down towards Naples – it doesn’t matter where, it’ll all be glorious! But wait, QF whatever has been cancelled, and there’s a lockdown in most states, and all of Italy has – oh, never mind.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Location: Southern Turkey
RR: Alright, I admit, this one isn’t for everyone. I think it runs at around two and a half hours and it’s what is described as a ‘slow burn’. But it’s also incredibly beautiful and spookily profound. A police prosecutor and a suspect travel around the countryside of Anatolia at night trying to locate where a body has been buried, encountering various folk along the way. But the real story all happens under the surface. The landscape of southern Turkey becomes as much a character as any of the people. It’s haunting and magnificent. I’ve acted in a few turkeys, but I’ve never been to Turkey, and one day when all this madness is over, that’s where you’ll find me, shovelling olives and salty cheese in my face, bobbing around in limpid waters and tooling about in a car.
Alright, I admit, this one isn’t for everyone. I think it runs at around two and a half hours and it’s what is described as a ‘slow burn’
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