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Simon Baker Debut

Australian star directs his fiirst movie

Australian actor Simon Baker admits he was “slightly crazy” to take on drama Breath as his big screen directorial debut.

Based on the novel of the same name by Tim Winton, Breath tells the story of two daredevil teenagers in mid-70s coastal Australia, who form an unlikely friendship with a mysterious older adventurer who pushes them to take risks that will have a lasting and profound impact on their lives.

As well as starring as adventurer Sando, Simon also directed and co-wrote the screenplay.

“I look back and think maybe I was slightly crazy to want to take it on as a first film,” Simon confessed to GQ Australia. “A couple of people said that to me. But you have to push yourself. If you don’t push, it’s bulls**t. I knew it was ambitious.

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I’ve been on sets for more than 20 years of my life, and I knew we needed a lot of luck. But we got incredibly lucky. I still pinch myself that it came together because there were times when I thought, ‘this thing’s going to be a disaster’.”

Elizabeth Debicki stars alongside The Mentalist actor, as well as newcomers Ben Spence and Sampson Coulter, who had a lot of experience surfing, but no acting jobs to their name.

However taking on filmmaking duties felt natural to 48-year-old Simon, as the setting was one he knew well.

“I grew up in this world. So all of these characters are very familiar to me,” he said. “And I do feel a sense of responsibility (to Australia). Just like those people who supported me growing up, becoming the person I am right at this moment, I feel a debt of gratitude to this place.”

Breath debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September (17).