3 questions for...Guy Pearce

Warhol impersonator, humble Aussie actor

1. How much did you know about Warhol and his work before playing him in Factory Girl?

I was aware of his work, but not on a deep level. I remember thinking when I was younger that all I ever saw him do was turn up for parties in the 1980s with Debbie Harry and David Bowie. He was one step ahead of everyone in the game of marketing and publicity. The message he was sending was, Ha, ha, ha! But as clever as I think he was, he dug his own grave. He was the one who said, “I’m cold, I have no feelings. I wish I could be a robot.”

2. This isn’t your first biopic, though. You played Errol Flynn when you were 20.

Right. It was disastrous. It’s funny, but when you say “You’ve played Errol Flynn,” I don’t actually believe I have played him. I was way too inappropriate for the role, too inexperienced. The best thing I can say about it is that I got a paycheck.

3. To what do you attribute the success of so many Australian actors working in Hollywood these days?

There’s a sense of subtlety in Australian actors, a level of humility that’s generally very appealing. That’s not a rap on American performers. I’m not saying that American actors are hamfisted in comparison, not at all. But there is a different quality to Aussie actors. Plus, we’re huge opportunists. There isn’t a big film industry in Australia, so we’ve figured out how to outsource ourselves. It’s a slow takeover. — Michael Hammer

Factory Girl opens Friday 2.