The first film Brendan Jack remembers watching is 'The Deerhunter'.
"My mom kept sending me out of the room whenever something bad happened. So I'd watch a bit and then she'd say: 'You have to go out now'. So I'd go out and then I'd hear screaming and stuff. It really affected me weirdly," he laughs.
Not that the experience put him off ? his childhood memories are filled with the musical 'Bugsy Malone' ("I must have watched it about 50 times"), Chevy Chase's 'National Lampoon's Vacation', "Steve Martin stuff" ? and 'Rambo First Blood'.
His current favourites include acclaimed David Mamet drama 'Glengarry Glen Ross', underground classic 'Withnail and I' as well as 'Dodgeball' and 'Anchorman', so that eclectic taste continued into adulthood ? as did the allure of film. As an advertising copywriter he worked on everything from the Yellow Pages and Nike to "probably the most irritating banking ad ever: the one that went: 'Who are those people, you see them on a Tuesday afternoon'."
Which meant a lot of time spent on sets, looking at his words coming to life.
"That gave me a good grounding, sitting there watching how a shoot works, figuring out the hierarchy involved, seeing what works on camera," Jack says now, looking back ? although, at the time, a film career seemed a little far fetched for a pretty average-looking guy with no acting or directing experience.
"It was never a conscious decision to be in the film industry, I kind of fell into it."
It might be better to say he was pushed, by a little something called 'Crazy Monkey'. A series of short clips featuring Jack and three friends performing daring 'Jackass'-style stunts like brushing their teeth immediately before drinking orange juice, they aired on MTV for a couple of years ? despite being rejected at first.
"We were quite naive," he freely admits in his laidback, unassuming manner. "We tracked down the right people to speak to and sent them scripts but they went: 'Sounds interesting, but we're not going to give you money to make it'."
Not a problem.
"So we made it anyway, and sent it to them, and they liked it."
Simple as that.
"All we wanted was for it to be flighted a couple of times on MTV. But it changed our lives, I suppose."
And now, here sits Jack, promoting 'Footskating 101'. About a poor miner's son who invents the new extreme sport of footskating (skateboarding for those who can't really afford a board), it's his second film as actor, writer and co-director.
This time, though, it wasn?t quite that simple, the two-year project beset with financial constraints, hijackings, injuries and tragedy. The script alone took 12 months to complete ? enough time for Jack to draw inspiration from the likes of 'Billy Elliot' and 'Karate Kid', while thinking up extreme moves like the "front tuckshop robbery" and "360 electrified mongoose".
Then there was the tight budget. With his previous film, 'Straight Outta Benoni' costing more than it should have, Jack hadn?t actually earned any real money from the project. So this time the line was drawn at R1.0-million ? which is less than a lot of 30-second adverts cost. Cue plenty of multi-tasking with the co-director/writer/actor becoming co-director/writer/actor/soundtrack-coordinator/actor-wrangler/part-time-editor ("I've seen the film a thousand million times," he says, exaggerating just slightly)/tea boy.
Then there was the not-inconsequential matter of holding his own on screen.
"In the family scenes there's Marie Pentz who's done her time, and Andrew Buckland and Rob van Vuuren who are both brilliant. So I was very aware that these guys had spent a lot of time honing their craft and I'm just this court jester doing my thing," he professes.
"So it was slightly intimidating to be honest."
Straight out as usual.
"But once we started going I kind of started relaxing a bit more. And I learnt a lot from them as we went along, subtle things.
As if all that wasn?t enough to worry about, star Rob van Vuuren almost derailed the entire project a week before the two-month shoot was set to begin.
"He's a very athletic guy so he started learning to do back flips and other gymnastics with some Russian guy. He tried to jump over a storm drain but when he landed on the other side, he fell back into the storm drain and hit his head."
He waits a beat.
"My first thought was 'We're going to have to cancel the shoot', not 'Is he ok'," he sniggers, conspiratorially.
But even if a project is all-consuming, life goes on. And two years is a long time: Jack's new car was hijacked; more significantly his friend and fellow crazy monkey Brett Goldin was murdered.
"I spoke to him quite a bit before the thing happened," says Jack of their plans to collaborate on 'Footskating 101', which is now dedicated to the actor's memory.
"He was definitely going to be involved," he adds, for once sounding distant rather than engaging.
"Once he got back from that play he was going to be doing in England we were going to speak to him a lot more," he continues, speaking slowly, more carefully than usual.
His voice drifts off as he considers what might have been: "It would have been cool, it would have been perfect."