Daniel Monks Talks Through His Career From Pulse to In the Room Where He Waits in This Interview

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Daniel Monks is an award winning theatre and film actor who hails from Perth, Western Australia. He received an AACTA nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the feature film Pulse, a story about a disabled teen who undergoes radical surgery to turn into a beautiful woman in a bid to be loved and embraced. Daniel wrote the script and worked with his close friend, Stevie Cruz-Martin, as a director. It’s a film that helped launch his career as an actor in both Australia and London, where he has performed opposite Emilia Clarke in The Seagull, and where he won the Best Performer in a Play award at The Stage Debut Awards for his turn in Teenage Dick, Michael Lew’s darkly comedic retelling of Richard III.

When I first watched Pulse, I saw an actor who brought a complicated and conflicted character to life on screen with deep empathy and understanding. We open the discussion by talking about the origins of Pulse, leading Daniel to reflect on the almost ten-year journey between that film being shot and now. In that decade-long career path, Daniel has also starred in Australian films like Sissy, and Timothy Despina Marshall’s new film, In the Room Where He Waits.

His place in the world of theatre and film as a gay, disabled actor has seen him become a leader in his field, forging a path for his fellow queer and disabled actors. We talk about the weight of responsibility that often comes with the role of being a leader, while also touching on the push for diversity on stage and on screen, and how Daniel navigates that when it’s often driven by non-disabled, cisgender, straight, white people.

As you’ll hear in the following interview, Daniel is a ‘bucket list’ interview guest I’ve been eager to talk with for years. I was fortunate to chat with Daniel’s mum, Annie Murtagh-Monks, a few years ago about her work as a casting director, so it was quite wonderful to hear about the conversations that she has with Daniel about their work. Daniel also talks about the support that filmmakers like Stevie Cruz-Martin and Hannah Barlow have given him throughout his career.

I recorded this ahead of the world premier of In the Room Where He Waits at the QueerScreen Mardi Gras Film Festival, where it received Queer Screen Completion Funding. This stunning drama sees Daniel play the role of Tobin, an actor who slips back home to Australia for his father’s funeral. As he waits out his two week quarantine period, he is haunted by the presence of the previous tenant in the room. This riveting film sees Daniel command the screen in a way that will have you leaning on the edge of your seat – not because of how tense the film is, but simply because of how compelling Daniel is to watch. The film will no doubt screen down the line at other festivals, so please keep an eye out for it.

This is a long, deep dive discussion which I’m proud to be able to share with you all. Make sure to seek out Pulse, Sissy, In the Room Where He Waits, and visit National Theatre At Home to view The Seagull.

Andrew F Peirce

Andrew is passionate about Australian cinema, Australian politics, Australian culture, and Australia in general. Found regularly talking online about Sweet Country, and reminding people to watch Young Adult.

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