Hafedh Dakhlaoui on Australia, Movies, and Working During the Pandemic
Today I’m talking to French-Tunisian actor Hafedh Dakhlaoui about life as an actor, living in Australia and the movie industry during the pandemic. Firstly, how long have you been in Australia and what have you been doing here since you arrived?
I’ve been here for about a year. I arrived just before the big bushfire season, and I’ve been shooting movies.
So I did a little research on that. The Spy Who Never Dies and They Called Me Keith, right?
Can you tell me about them? Why don’t you start with the Spy?
Absolutely. The Spy Who Never Dies is an Australian comedy-action film written and produced by Corey Pearson. He’s amazing to work with. It’s rare, but when I’m working with him I feel like I have an actor guiding me—someone who has been in the trenches. I'am playing the lead role of walker a Russian assasin who is in love with Natasha a new recruit of the agency.
How long have you been shooting for?
About three months but due to Covid restrictions some of the cast are stuck in Victoria. We’re hoping to have filming finished by December.
Can you tell me about the plot?
It’s about a world-class spy who falls in love with an unlikely woman. If you want more than that you’ll have to see it. Which, by the way, I assume you’ll be doing.
Absolutely. From my notes here I can see it will be getting widely distributed. Great work. And what about Keith? That’s a short film, correct?
It is. I am playing the lead role of a guy who thinks he’s a dead British war poet, but there’s a fairly major twist. It will be released in 2021 and doing the festival circuit. It’s spooky. Really spooky. It also deviates from the standard short story script in a lot of ways. It could be a feature.
I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the film. Personally, I love shorts. Do you have any favorites?
Besides Keith? *laughs* I love the movie The Chair. It’s about a plague. Very fitting for 2020.
You mentioned you arrived before the big bushfire season we had. As a French-Tunisian what did you make of that?
First and foremost, I admired how Australians handled the situation. The community really seemed to pull together during that time, especially before Covid took over the headlines.
Secondly, I was horrified by the environmental cost of the fires, especially to the native wildlife which I love. I’m actually a plant-based eater and after the fires I decided to join WIRES (Australian Wildlife Rescue Organization). I’ve spent a lot of time getting accredited with them so I can help Australian wildlife, especially in the coming bushfire season.
Have you had any WIRES rescues so far?
Yes! I helped with a kookaburra rescue a few days ago! It was great to get him the help he needed.
That’s big. God, I love kookaburras.
Me too. Have you heard the Indigenous story about why they sing in the morning? Look into it. It’s beautiful.
I’ll have to do that. You’re really embracing the Australian spirit, aren’t you?
Last question. How are you finding working during the Covid pandemic? The arts have been hit pretty hard.
They have been and it’s been a big challenge, but I also see a lot of opportunities to make Australia a haven for movie makers. I think the government initiatives are great but I’m also using my contacts in Hollywood to bring some big producers over to Australia. I can’t see a better base for actors or movie makers anywhere in the next couple of years.
Thanks for you time, Hafedh. If I find any hurt kookaburras, I’ll be giving you a call.