Angus Benfield Artenzza Magazine



Angus Benfield is a multi-award winning, Australian-born actor known for his wide-ranging versatility in film. From his early days as a production runner at age 14, Angus’s passion for movies has shaped his career. He trained at The Actor’s Centre at 20 and immediately secured the lead in the Australian feature Lex and Rory.

Beyond acting, Angus has achieved recognition as a director, producer, and writer, frequently discussing his work on various news broadcasts and podcasts. His Hollywood collaborations include appearances alongside notable actors such as Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Eric Roberts, Julia Garner, Jaime King, Bob Gunton, Brian Doyle-Murray, Angus Macfadyen, Doug Jones, Corbin Bernsen, Brian Posehn, Kris Polaha, Cate Blanchett, Anna Chlumsky, Kathy Garver, Judy Norton, LL Cool J, Eric Christian Olsen, and Chris O’Donnell.

Throughout 2023 on into 2024, Angus demonstrated this adaptability through the many diverse roles he took on in films, The Weight of Darkness, The Christmas Letter, Stan the Man, The Keeper, The Great Turkey Town Miracle, The Post, The Deprogrammer, Purgatory Station, and Yellow Bird. His next venture features him as Mark Stevens, a down-on-his-luck ventriloquist in Las Vegas, in the upcoming film Gus, set to begin production mid year.

Angus’s films have been screened theatrically and are available on digital platforms such as Amazon, AppleTV, Prime, YouTubeTV, Tubi, Vimeo, Roku, PureFlix, and more.

"Crafting Cinematic Magic Across the Spectrum"

Angus Benfield Artenzza Magazine


You’ve had a diverse career in the entertainment industry, acting, directing, producing, and writing. What initially drew you to pursue such a multifaceted career?

I was originally drawn to the film industry through a passion for special effects makeup, inspired by the likes of Tom Savini, Dick Smith, and Rick Baker. At the age of ten, I began experimenting with creating monsters and simulating gore, but soon realized my talents lay elsewhere. At the age of 14 I gained further experience working as a production assistant, then was encouraged on a suggestion from a family friend to try acting, which allowed me to navigate both in front of and behind the camera.

I found myself gravitating toward screenwriting, producing, directing, and distribution out of sheer necessity. The inconsistent nature of the industry meant I often had to create my own opportunities to stay afloat. This multifaceted approach not only became my way of paying the bills but also a fundamental aspect of my work philosophy. In today’s landscape, I firmly believe that every actor and director should cultivate a diverse set of skills to effectively manage their careers and become their own studio.

Starting as a production runner at the age of 14, you’ve certainly had a long-standing passion for movies. How did your early experiences in the industry shape your approach to acting and filmmaking?

My early experiences in the industry were far from ideal. Starting as a production runner at 14, I was exposed to a toxic and often harsh environment on film sets. This early adversity, however, inspired a commitment to foster a different kind of atmosphere in my own projects. Back then, being yelled at and poorly treated was commonplace, and unfortunately, from the countless stories I have heard from crew members, such issues continue to persist in the industry today.

These challenging beginnings helped shape my approach to acting and filmmaking going forward. I now prioritize creating a calm and positive environment on set, where everyone, from background actors and PAs to directors, are treated with respect, to the best of my ability. Maintaining such an atmosphere on set isn’t always easy, but it’s a change that has significantly improved my experiences and I hope other’s, on one of my sets.

The irony of pursuing a dream-like career in filmmaking only to encounter misery due to poor treatment, including yelling, abuse, and discrimination, is not lost on me. I believe making movies should be a magical and enjoyable experience, despite the hard work and long hours involved. My goal is to eliminate the unnecessary negativity that often clouds film sets—be it from egos or other disruptive behaviors—doing everything I can to ensure that the enjoyment of the acting/filmmaking process remains.

Landing the lead role in the Australian feature film “Lex and Rory” straight out of acting school must have been an exciting opportunity. Can you share some memorable experiences from that project?

 Working with Dean Murphy on his debut film was not only an exciting start to my career but also the beginning of a lasting friendship. It was both our first major film project—I hadn’t even completed acting school when I was cast. My naivety at the time only added to the excitement, providing a fresh and optimistic outset before the industry’s more jading aspects could take effect.

The project was filled with memorable and often bizarre incidents, owing to the unique mix of seasoned crew members from films like Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee and newcomers like us. One particularly humorous moment involved a local biker, a wiry man with a long beard who treasured his Harley. During a shoot in a makeshift studio at a school gymnasium, he accidentally found himself in a port-a-loo attached to a truck that started moving. His frantic escape from the moving toilet left an indelible image.

Catering was another adventure, supplied by a local gas station run by a large man with a Buddha tattoo on his stomach. The food, mostly frozen and thawed daily, was far from gourmet, but it was part of the charm of filming in the small Australian town of Albury-Wodonga.

The film’s premiere was a significant highlight. It featured spotlights, a red carpet, limousines, and the entire town turned out to celebrate. I even had the honor of cutting a ribbon for a new city council project, despite battling a virus at the time. That evening was not just a personal milestone but a testament to the community’s support.

Overall, the experience of working on this film with Dean was phenomenal. It set a strong foundation for both of our careers, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity.

Throughout your career, you’ve had the opportunity to work alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood. What have been some valuable lessons or insights you’ve gained from collaborating with such experienced professionals?

I’m gradually having the opportunity to collaborate with some notable names in Hollywood, and there are many actors I’m eager to work with, especially before they retire. Working with these experienced professionals has been incredibly enriching.

Each time I’m on set with a seasoned Hollywood actor, I learn new lessons. I pay close attention to how they manage both aspects of their careers: the professional side, which involves the business elements of being an actor, and their artistic performance during filming.

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Angus Macfadyen, Doug Jones, Jaime King, and Corbin Bernsen. Each brought a unique background and method to the set, I found observing their individual approaches to acting fascinating and highly educational, especially being a relative newcomer to the Hollywood system.

One critical lesson I’ve learned is the importance of voicing concerns. Often in filmmaking, while directors and crew members regularly suggest adjustments, actors might feel hesitant to speak up. Observing these actors assert themselves appropriately—never to the point of being difficult, but enough to address what didn’t feel right—was inspiring. This has taught me the value of confidence and self-advocacy on set, qualities I admire and am striving to develop further.

The knowledge I’m gaining from these collaborations could fill a book, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow in this exciting industry.

Your roles have ranged from paramedic Jonathan Stone in “HEAVEN” to millionaire Steve Lagos in “INVENTING ANNA” and even a grocery store stock boy in “YELLOW BIRD.” How do you approach preparing for such diverse characters?

Delving into different accents and characters can be an interesting process. Each role varies greatly, whether it’s for a TV show like Inventing Anna or my appearance on NCIS LA, where I played a British Cockney character—despite not being British or Cockney myself. For that role, which was my first television gig in LA, I didn’t immerse myself in extensive research. Instead, I relied on the instincts that resonated during my audition, especially since I was acting alongside notables like LL Cool J, Chris O’Donnell, and Vinnie Jones, with a Cockney director overseeing the production. I stuck to my original portrayal, and thankfully, it was well-received.

Some characters are more intuitive than others, requiring less effort to embody. Personally, I often latch onto a specific phrase or sentence that helps me capture the accent and tone, and I build from there. However, I avoid remaining in character or accent offscreen to maintain mental balance—it can become quite unhealthy otherwise. While the so-called method approach makes for compelling marketing, it’s not always the most effective in practice.

When it comes to developing a character, I try to utilize every tool at my disposal. Wardrobe and physical mannerisms also play a significant role; a confident character, for example, is often all in the posture. I aim to find the simplest and most direct connection to the character to avoid fatigue during performances. This might involve adopting specific accents, phrases, or physical movements.

In addition to acting, you’ve also ventured into directing, producing, and writing. How do you balance your various creative pursuits, and do you find that each discipline informs the others in your work?

That’s a great question. Yes, in addition to acting, I frequently take on other production roles, though I strive not to juggle too many at once. Primarily, I find myself producing quite a bit. I initially started out wearing multiple hats—acting, directing, producing, and writing within the same project—which I found quite challenging to balance. It seemed that trying to do everything at once often meant compromising the quality of each discipline.

Integrating these roles can be beneficial and does allow each discipline to inform the others. For instance, when I’m directing, it definitely influences my acting. I tend to work through scenes much faster than other directors who might dwell longer on each take. This approach is partly driven by an understanding of the energy drain experienced on set; new directors often start with boundless energy, only to find themselves exhausted as the production continues, ultimately reducing takes to conserve energy.

For example, during the filming of The Keeper, I began as both the director and lead actor but quickly realized the toll it was taking on me—both emotionally and physically, especially with the demanding nature of the shoot involving extensive hiking and emotionally charged scenes. Bringing on Kenny (Kendall Bryant Jr.) as a co-director was a crucial decision that helped alleviate some of that strain.

These days, I prefer to bring in other directors to share the load. While I still enjoy producing, it can have moments of being incredibly stressful and can detract from my performance as an actor. Dealing with financial issues or crew conflicts one moment and then having to deliver a deeply emotional scene the next can be jarringly difficult.

Stepping into more than one role on a production can have upsides and downsides, I’ve come to recognize that spreading myself too thin can dilute the quality of work, but it can also prevent overthinking, which might be beneficial depending on the scene. Ultimately, the impact of multitasking on set varies greatly depending on the genre and the specific demands of the project. Each experience has its pros and cons, but finding the right balance is key to maintaining both quality and sanity in the chaotic world of film production.

Your films have been released theatrically and are available on various digital platforms. How do you feel about the evolving landscape of film distribution, particularly with the rise of streaming services?

I have a rather critical view of the impact that digital platforms and streaming services have had on independent films. In my opinion, they have significantly undermined the independent film industry, much like they have done to independent musicians.

The shift away from physical media sales, such as DVDs, which provided a modest revenue stream for independent filmmakers, has been detrimental. This has forced many back towards theatrical releases, which, despite being a century-old model, offer a clearer financial structure. In theaters, revenue splits are straightforward—sell $100 worth of tickets and split the proceeds 50/50 with the cinema. However, the economics of streaming are far less favorable. Here, the same $100 in downloads might yield only a minuscule portion for the creators.

The recent SAG strikes highlight some of these issues but haven’t substantially improved conditions for those affected by the streaming model. This situation calls for better regulation, although the likelihood of seeing such changes is uncertain, given the financial incentives for platforms to maintain low subscription costs.

For independent filmmakers, especially those without major names or the ability to secure pre-sales and minimum guarantees based on star power and genre, the current landscape is exceedingly tough. Typically, films with smaller budgets—under a few million dollars—are the hardest hit.

A potential solution might involve greater ownership for creators, whether they be actors, filmmakers, or musicians. The rise of proprietary platforms, such as NBC’s Peacock in response to Netflix’s success with licensed shows like The Office, suggests a model where filmmakers might benefit from hosting their content on their own platforms. This could potentially shift the balance, allowing creators to retain greater control over their work and financial returns.

Ultimately, the path forward isn’t clear, but one thing is certain: the current state of streaming and digital distribution is challenging for independent filmmakers, and a rethinking of how we value and remunerate creative work is overdue.

Looking ahead, what are some of your aspirations or projects you’re excited about pursuing in the future?

We’re doing quite a few different things. We have The Keeper that’s coming out May 24th for a memorial day release, which I’m very excited about. We have another film coming up this year called Gus, as well as 5 films in post-production getting ready for release. There’s quite a few things I’m excited about. I can’t really talk too much about it because, you know, we’ll have the announcements soon, but we’re in the process of locking those down and getting some really great actors and talent attached.

We just completed production on The Weight of Darkness, in which I got to work alongside Angus Macfadyen, Jaime King, Doug Jones and Corbin Bernsen. Prior to that we completed The Christmas Letter, acting with Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Brian Posehn, Kris Polaha and Regina Schneider. So I’m excited about a few of these titles getting finished and being released. I’ve also got a film called Purgatory Station, in which I got to work with Bob Gunton and Sean O’Bryan. So we’ve got some exciting things ahead including some bigger projects with some bigger names attached. So the future ahead is busy, and I’m grateful for that.

Angus Benfield Artenzza Magazine


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