Crticially acclaimed Australian actor Brendan Cowell sure is a busy man. Currently starring in two Australian films – the brilliant Beneath Hill 60 and I Love You Too – he is also working on the final draft of his first novel.
Cowell, back in Australia for the premiere of I Love You Too in Sydney tonight, is racing against the clock to finish the book, which he told me recently was a dark, coming of age story about male friendship.
“Or, a little bit of a love letter to my upbringing in Cronulla,” he said, adding that for the last few months he was “basically being a writer guy” in Los Angeles where he is presently based.
Cowell scored an advance for the unfinished manuscript on the back of his other prolific and successful career as a writer, which includes eight plays (Rabbit and Bed have both won awards), a critically acclaimed television series (Love My Way) and a movie (Ten Empty).
“I got a publishing deal a couple of years ago and I’ve been climbing the enormous mountain since,” he told me during an interview for a story I wrote recently for sunday magazine on his I Love You Too co-star Yvonne Strahovski.
BTW: the charming Aussie rom-com is the brainchild of former Rove sidekick, Pete Helliar, who also stars in the flick with American actor Peter Dinklage (remember him from the brilliant Death at a Funeral?) It is a lovely story and a great first effort by Helliar with good performances by the lead actors.
But back to Cowell and his writing, which he says began as a youngster when he developed a love of books.
“I read a novel every week and I’m obsessed with books and I always have been. I was brought up with books and my mother was really into literature and I’ve always read and I’ve always seen it as the highest literary form, and the use of language.”
The 34-year-old actor hopes to have the book published at the end of the year by Pan Macmillan.
“The notes that I got [back from the editor after the first draft] were actually longer than the novel itself,” he said with a self-deprecating laugh. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’m battling away.”
Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, who has already helmed one play for the prestigious company and acted in the same play on Broadway, will direct the piece co-starring Cowell and Wayne Blair.