Exploring the art of storytelling with Bryan Brown

In the realm of film and television, Bryan Brown has etched his name as an incomparable force, leaving his mark through extraordinary acting and producing prowess across decades.

We sat down with Bryan Brown to find out more about the motivation behind a new chapter of his artistic journey, as his distinctive storytelling voice continues with the release of his second novel, The Drowning

We explore the inspiration behind his venture into the world of writing and how this creative avenue aligns with, or perhaps diverges from, his celebrated career in entertainment. 

Your career has primarily been in acting, what inspired you to transition into writing and how have you found the process compares?

Yes, my career has primarily been involved with acting but also producing film and television. Working with writers and directors on stories has always been an engaging involvement. Writing a book is just a different platform for telling stories.

The setting of The Drowning is a sleepy northern New South Wales town. How important is the sense of place in your storytelling, and how did you go about creating the atmosphere of this town?

I know some great beaches and beach towns on the NSW north coast and so with The Drowning I could revisit them and play with them.

You’ve had some significant experiences filming in South Australia, including Breaker Morant in Burra and The Shiralee in Adelaide and Quorn. Can you share some memorable moments or influences from these locations?

Back in the early seventies , with the resurgence of the film industry, actors were flying  to South Australia frequently since SA was encouraging filming there through government assistance. I shot so many films there and of course shooting Breaker Morant in Burra was a highlight since it was recognised as a great film throughout  the world. I am always glad I got to play McCauley in The Shiralee. A great character in a great story. Trudging the highways and byways around Quorn was a pleasure. I remember it fondly.

We are always learning. The more I learn, the more I realise I know bugger-all.

You’ve described the Flinders Ranges, where you filmed Beautiful Kate, as “extraordinarily beautiful.” Did the stunning landscapes of the Flinders inspire any elements in your writing?

As a film and TV actor, travelling to fabulous locations at home and overseas is one of the perks. I think I’ve filmed in about 25 countries. But hard to go past The Flinders Ranges for beauty. Extraordinary locations stay with you and I’m sure are drawn from your memory to go with your imagination when writing a story.

You’ve experienced incredible success and throughout a long career, can you share with us how the “golden years” of your life post 50, in terms of personal and professional fulfillment, differ from earlier stages, and what makes them particularly special?

Am I in the Golden Years? All years are golden to me. Very grateful for any year. And I want more, thank you. Each year brings joys and sadness too at times, but also new knowledge. It doesn’t end, we are always learning. More I learn, the more I realise I know bugger-all.

The Drowning is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $32.99 

Image credit: Tim Bauer


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