NIDA-trained Ryan Corr’s aspirations as an actor received a big boost in the form of the 2011 Heath Ledger Scholarship, which saw him move on from a five-year stint on TV soap Packed to the Rafters and into a busy career in film, delivering memorable performances in Wolf Creek 2 (2013), The Water Diviner (2014), Holding the Man (2015), Mary Magdalene (2018) and Ladies in Black (2018).
This month Corr can be seen in the dark and grungy biker gang drama 1%, as the heir to the throne of an outlaw motorcycle club, who struggles to modernise the gang’s outdated methods.
Corr had never ridden a motorbike prior to appearing in this Aussie answer to Sons of Anarchy.
“I’ve spent plenty of time on dirt bikes but this was the first time I’d sat on a Harley-Davidson. I’ve got to say, I fell in love. It feels pretty amazing,” he told STACK at the film’s 2017 world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Laughing at the notion of going “method” and hanging out with real motorbike gangs for research, he noted: “I don’t think that would go down too well. ‘Hi guys, I’m an actor, can I hang out? Ooh, is that leather?’”
Inspiration, he revealed, came from the script penned by Matt Nable (who also stars in the film as the club’s sociopathic president), and the direction of up-and-coming young filmmaker Stephen McCallum.
“We did have a few tough guys who came and assisted us on set, some as extras and others who helped us out with the vernacular of the script so we could create authenticity in that world.
“I think the most important aspect of this film is that it’s no good if you feel like you’re watching actors playing dress-up and pretending to be hardcore. We have to believe the world and I think through Stephen’s direction and Matty’s script, we do believe the world. It’s very gritty, real and human. The film for me has always been about brotherhood and love in a setting which you wouldn’t normally perceive to be domestic.”
Swiftly transitioning from bikie mode to playing Joseph in Mary Magdalene and then Hungarian refugee Rudi in Ladies in Black, the charismatic Corr isn’t daunted by the challenge of diverse roles.
“I try to keep it as varied as I can and try to stretch myself as much as I can,” he said in an interview with Fairfax Media last year. “If you see each project as a different challenge you’ll stay excited. The older I get and as more opportunities present themselves I’m getting a bit more selective about the creatives I’m working with. It’s about chasing fantastic directors and writers – get that right and you’ve accomplished 80 per cent of your job.”
1% is out on DVD on March 6