Directors Lincoln Caplice and Stefan Hunt have known each other since high school.
In the years since, they’ve both been chipping away at the motion picture game, working together on a bunch of projects and pushing each other to go further. Not one to do things in half measures, Stef recently pulled off an ambitious project called We’re All Going to Die: an arts, film and creative festival that debuted in Sydney this month. As part of the film festival component, Linc was asked to direct a piece on the theme of “judgement”, and whilst he was eager to get involved, he says he really had no idea where to start. We asked Linc to tell us the backstory behind his incredible short, shot by Campbell Brown, and sat on the sidelines while he interviewed main character of Judgement, the truly one-of-a-kind Jacko.
“I liked the idea of a monologue performed by someone who has to deal with being judged on a day-to-day basis,” Lincoln says. “Even though I didn’t write Judgement with Jacko in mind, when I saw him performing Iggy Pop’s ‘I Want To Be Your Dog’ with Coffin I knew he’d be perfect for the role. Adorned with nothing but fishnet stockings and a dog collar, with almost every inch of his body covered in tattoos—he was the living, breathing example of not giving a fuck.
“He actually calls himself the Aussie Iggy Pop, and in a homage to Iggy covering himself in peanut butter, Jacko did the same with Vegemite whilst supporting The Cosmic Psychos recently. In the time learning lines and rehearsing with him, he told me countless stories of times he’s had people throw their judgement on him, whether that’s someone muttering under their breath about his tattoos or just a simple sideways glance. He’s had to learn not to care and just be himself—something I respect immensely.”
Lincoln: So Jacko, what did you think of the script when I first sent it to you?
Jacko: I thought it was the perfect part for me. Because of the way I look I get judged a lot—people see these tattoos all over me and think I’m a fuckin’ axe murderer or something and they start talking to me and realise I’m just a regular bloke. It’s one of the main reasons I agreed to do it. I get resentful when people stare at me and whisper, and this film deals with that.
Can you give me any examples of when you’ve felt judged?
I’ve had plenty of people shake their heads at me. I confront them because I don’t cop shit. I say, ‘Why are you shaking your head?’ and they say ‘Well, look at what you’ve done to yourself’. I just tell them I don’t want to go my grave thinking about what if—I’ll go to my grave not giving a fuck. That’s just the way I think, and I have to think that way. When I get up on stage with Coffin, it’s the kind of place I feel welcome. People don’t judge me and they’re pointing at me for a good reason for a change. I’m getting around all night in fuckin’ speedos and fishnet stockings and no one blinks an eyelid. No one gives a fuck. That’s the places I feel accepted. You don’t get judged and I feel comfortable.
Describe the process?
Well, I met you through the blokes who do my tattoos at Dee Why Tattoo. You asked if I’d be interested and I was, then you came round to my house every day for a week and we’d sit there and go through the script. It was a good process for us both, we’d cut out things and edit the lines. You’d tell me a few tricks to remember the lines… even though I still fucked them up. I really loved how you took my opinions on board, I liked having that freedom to tell you what I thought and change lines that I thought weren’t right. I didn’t feel any pressure—when the camera was on me, I thought I’d shit myself with all the people around. In the end, I forgot anyone was there.
What was your favourite part?
I just loved the process. I loved that I was the subject. I loved the character, I just felt it was me. If a few things went the wrong way, that would be me sitting in that hotel room being fuckin’ miserable.
What did you think of the film?
I loved it. I’m not sure if people are lying or not, but everyone I’ve spoken to seems to like it as well and said I did a good job. It was amazing seeing myself on the big screen. The We Are All Going To Die festival was great, it was another place I just felt I could be me and people didn’t care—the whole night was a blur, I think I watched the film four times.
What should my next film be about?
When I was younger I was very naughty and spent some time in prison. I shared a cell with this bloke, Max Headroom, who reckons he can astral travel. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and hear the toilet flushing with Max doing a handstand with his head in the bowl. After a few nights I’d had enough and asked ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ He said, ‘Have you heard of astral travelling? I go out every night’. So I responded, ‘Well, bring us back something will ya? Some Maccas or a beer or something’, and he just snaps at me, cold as ice that he couldn’t bring back physical objects. I just thought, ‘Well that’d be fuckin’ right—useless’ and roll over and try to go back to sleep, knowing I had to share a cell with this guy. Should do something about him.
Writer & Director: Lincoln Caplice
Producer: Morgan Taylor
Director Of Photography: Campbell Brown
Camera Assistant: Jani Hakli
Steadicam: Justin Besser
Gaffer: Mat Wilson
Production Design: Miles Pitt
Sound: Francis Byrne
Sound Design: Jonny Higgins
Hair & Make-Up: Jennifer Roberts
Colourist: Tim Wreyford
Production Co-Ordinator: Zac Warneford
Production Runner: Mayuna Kiyama
Music: Noire Band
Special Thanks: Stefan Hunt, Vaughan Blakey, Ben Briand, Southern Cross Cameras, Dee Why Tattoo