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Ben Mendelsohn’s hard-won path back to success

Larry King NowDec 14 '16

With roles in ‘Rogue One,’ ‘Ready Player One,’ and an Emmy win for ‘Bloodline,’ Ben Mendelsohn has become one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood. But the actor says he spent years languishing in obscurity – and considering walking away from acting – following a period of success as a leading man in his twenties.

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Larry King: Do you get better roles as you get older?

Ben Mendelsohn: Oh yeah.

Larry King: How do you account for that?

Ben Mendelsohn: Luck. And hopefully not dropping the ball when an opportunity is given. I spend an enormous amount of time not doing really much of anything.

Larry King: Why?

Ben Mendelsohn: Like out of work, just…

Larry King: You were a star early, right?

Ben Mendelsohn: Yeah I was a star at around about, you know in Australian terms, from about 17 I suppose, into my early 20s.

Larry King: You were a leading man?

Ben Mendelsohn: Yeah, yeah. The aforementioned wide doe eyed love-seeking lad. And then, you know these things run their course, and then you know in my 30s it was a lot of really dry years. And I had some good jobs and stuff like that. But since “Animal Kingdom,” really without “Animal Kingdom” it’s hard to see any of the rest happening at all.

Larry King: Was it hard to be a star early and then have that drop off?

Ben Mendelsohn: Oh yeah, look it’s never, I mean – Basically I had thought by the time I’m in my mid-30s I thought ‘this is – well clearly it’s all over. And I’m gonna have to look at what I might do from now on.’ It’s always irksome I think, when you feel like you have the ability to do the job but it’s just not happening.

Larry King: So how’d you get the “Animal Kingdom” part?

Ben Mendelsohn: That was David. David has asked me to do that as well. I’ve been very, very lucky with the right people asking me to do the right things.

Larry King: That plays a big part in life.

Ben Mendelsohn: Oh it’s a huge part in life.

Larry King: You’ve got the talent to take advantage of it.

Ben Mendelsohn: You gotta turn up, you gotta do it. You can’t drop the ball, but luck is pivotal.

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