Mark Davis was 22 when he was hit by a car crossing the road in his home town of Melbourne, Australia. The car was going over 60km/hr when it struck Davis, blowing off his shoes, causing severe lacerations to his back, taking the skin off his hands when he landed like a cat. Despite this, he thought he escaped the near-death experience almost unscathed. However, this proved not to be the case for Davis, who at the time was on track to be a celebrated hockey player in Australia, ready to play for the national team; two weeks after the accident, he discovered a small fracture that would prevent him from playing hockey ever again. At the time, sports had been his main focus throughout his entire life, and when his dream came to a sudden end, he had to ask himself, what other dreams did he have that he never gave himself the time to realize?
“During rehab and recovery, I got involved in acting and I saw a master class run by legendary acting teacher Larry Moss. I sat there in the theatre and realized that my path was changing to what I really wanted, and I made a pact to go study and get to the same level as the professionals working with Larry. After drama school, I went and worked with Larry and acting has been the biggest part of my life from then on,” said Davis.
Now, Davis finds himself at the forefront of Australia’s entertainment industry. Acting in several award-winning productions, such as I Want You, The King is Dead, Lucy, and Topdecked, Davis is at the top of his acting game. He has been a part of several national commercial campaigns for internationally recognized companies, including Teleflora, Crownbet, and Honda. Looking back at his life, Davis wouldn’t change a thing.
“My accident gave me the chance to do the thing I always wanted: acting. Sometimes the worst things in life can put you on the right path,” said Davis.
Audiences can see Davis once again in the upcoming period drama Fallen set in Mont St Quentin, France during WWI. When a Captain tumbles into a trench with a serious bullet wound, Private Lockhart tends to the wound and distracts the Captain with conversation. As the two men reveal intimate details of their life back home in Australia they make a chance revelation that will change the course of their war.
“It’s a World War One period drama and this year is the centenary of the closing of the war. To put on the Austrian and New Zealand Armed Forces (ANZAC) uniform was a privilege. It is a solid script with a young female director and her vision was different to many war films I have come across. The film hasn’t been released yet, but it will clean up at film festivals. I promise, if it doesn’t I will eat my hat,” said Davis.
Davis plays Captain Benjamin Hughes, the old-fashioned and highly respected Australian Stoic who operates on the honor system of right and wrong. When Captain Benjamin falls into a trench on the front line with a leg wound, he meets a young private who is struggling with the effects of war and constant shelling. Although heavily wounded, he must keep rank and keep his spirits high. Through the course of their conversation, it becomes clear that the private has unknowingly had an affair with the Captain’s wife in Australia before he was shipped out to Europe to join the War.
“My character has a pretty heavy story arc. It was a challenging role dealing with all the psychological aspects and the physical. We were shooting in -2 degrees Celsius and frost was covering everything as we shot in the Victorian High Country. We shot from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. every night and to be honest the physicality involved made the job a lot easier. Being that tired and exhausted sometimes helps you find the emotional triggers you need to convey a story,” Davis described. “Sometimes you just put on the uniform, embrace the cold and trust your prep and the work is there. It was extremely challenging, and I loved it. I can’t wait until it comes out.”
Davis is extremely proud of his work in the film, saying it is his best to date, which is definitely saying something. Even during his audition, he captivated. He lost his spot in the hectic war scene and just improvised it. At the time, he thought he had made a large mistake as everyone was quiet when he left. When he returned for the call back, they had added his improv into the script.
“Playing an Australian soldier was a real privilege. It has been 100 years since the Great War and playing a respected Captain who crosses the line was great fun,” he said.
Undoubtedly, Fallen will impress audiences around the world, and Davis as the star will impress. He is eager for viewers to see the film, and knows it is a highlight of his career thus far. The opportunity to be a part of something so special only came from Davis realizing a dream that wasn’t being a professional athlete, and now he wouldn’t have it any other way. He encourages others to follow their dreams as well, and for those who aim to achieve what he has in acting, he offers the following advice:
“Persist until you succeed. Make your own stuff. Right now, it’s the biggest ideas and content boom in the history of storytelling, and your job is storytelling, so make it happen,” he advised.
Be sure to check out Davis in Fallen later this year.