I rather nervously dialled the number I had for actor/author Steve Bisley – he was AWOL when I tried to contact him for an interview several weeks ago, but his publicist had assured me he would be waiting. And, happily, he was!
I think our first failure served as an ice-breaker, as we had (certainly for
me) a most enjoyable and relaxed chat. He had disclosed so many intimate details of his life in his memoir ALL THE BURNING BRIDGES that I felt I could ask questions which would have felt too personal in most interviews.
This memoir was written in an almost ‘stream of consciousness’ style and gave one the feeling that he was flicking through old diaries or photograph albums, remembering events in his life, and then sharing them.
He spoke about his early days after coming to Sydney from a small country town, the various manual jobs he had and then his decision to apply to study at NIDA. He felt his first audition was less than wildly successful, but obviously someone recognised his potential and he was accepted as a student.
Among his fellow students of that year were Mel Gibson and Judy Davis.
When they graduated three years later, both Steve and Mel were invited to accept roles in Mad Max.. and, of course, their careers were launched.
I spoke to Steve about his frankness in speaking of his colourful love life, his – er – interesting surgical procedures, and his broken marriages and relationships. He told us of his large family, the youngest of whom is about to finish school.
He was very relaxed and he must have known that anyone having read his book would have some considerable knowledge of his very personal life, his philosophies, and even of the depression that plagued him for a considerable time.
We share the grief and aftermath of his mother’s death, his father’s passing and, as the book ends, we are still sharing his moments of self doubt.
There is a quote on the book’s cover which I liked. “In this sensory and poetic memoir, actor Steve Bisley reflects on loving, losing, wrecking and running – the bridges burned….” which sums it up pretty well!
Please read this book to gain a true picture of a sensitive man rather than the charming, knockabout Aussie larrikin we often see him depicted as on the screen.
ALL THE BURNING BRIDGES by STEVE BISLEY