|Walkabout - David Gulpilil
|by Chris Parry & Dov Kornits
When you think aboriginal actors of the 70's and 80's, one name springs to mind, David Gulpilil. The unknown star of the classic Australian drama Walkabout is the quintessential acting enigma. Known to disappear into the outback for years at a time, then suddenly pop up in Hollywood blockbusters like The Right Stuff and Crocodile Dundee, prompting cries of "Hey! Isn't that... that guy?" Is he on a higher spiritual plane? Does the sun do wacky things to a man's mind? Was the Telstra connection garbling his words? Was the office assistant drunk when she transcribed the interview? Or is David Gulpilil suffering from...the price of fame?
What's the best piece of gossip you've heard about yourself?
"I never heard about myself. I don't know much about me, so how do they know about me?"
Have you ever wanted to punch a director?
"Directors are always complicated. Always, but that's allright. I'm a director sometimes so I understand them a bit."
Do you think there's a God with a big white beard?
"I hope so. I never seen his face. He can be anything he wants to be, I guess."
How old are you?
"I don't know. I think I'm 40 or 50 or something. I lost my track there somewhere. I was born in... Something in the 50's I think. Can't remember."
When was the last time you were naked in the open air?
"Uh, when? ...not long ago. Nobody was watching. That's how we live. Close to nature, you know?"
What would your epitaph say?
"I dunno. What you reckon? I'd be inside a tomb. You could push a button and open the gate, check out if I was allright, press another button and a secret door would open up. I'd like to see technology do that."
What's the best way to spend a free evening at home?
"Being home. That's good."
Where do you go when you die?
"God knows. Back to the soil I suppose."
Why do men have nipples?
"They didn't grow because the other one growed."
Have you ever had a supernatural experience?
"I'm a jungle man, I live in the bush. I have a house, it has a phone, but I don't know what the phone number is. I've got a river, but I have to cross it. I haven't got a canoe. So what do I do? I swim across. There's hundreds of crocodiles, but I have to cross it. So what do I do? I swim. That's the only way I can do it. The crocodile is like a guard dog of the river. If anyone sneaks up on me, crocodile will bite 'im."
Uh, Dave... What the hell are you talking about?
"I've got a phone there. If you ring me, I'll tell the pub to settle down a bit."
Are you in the pub now?
"No, I'm here in the office right now, but.. you know."
At this point, mysteriously, the phone went silent and David was gone from our lives once more. We can only guess what occurred on the other end. Maybe the crocodile bit him. Maybe the pub closed. Maybe he went walkabout. Who the hell knows? Like we said... The man's an enigma. ---Chris Parry and Dov Kornits
Walkabout is currently available on video.
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originally posted: 05/08/99 09:08:23
last updated: 05/19/99 02:21:40