Insurgent: Jai Courtney Explains the Downside of Movie Franchises


Jai Courtney is in everything. The Australian star who first turned American heads in the hit STARZ series Spartacus: War of the Damned has been swiftly swept up by Hollywood, and given prominent roles in the Die HardDivergentTerminator and Suicide Squad franchises. His latest big blockbuster, Insurgent, is the second film in the Divergent series, and it opens today in theaters. His next film, Terminator: Genisys, finds Jai Courtney taking over the coveted role of Kyle Reese from 1980s action star Michael Biehn. It arrives in theaters everywhere in just a few months, on July 1, 2015.

We sat down with Jai Courtney at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, CA to find out exactly what it’s like being one of the most prominent franchise actors in the entertainment industry. What we discovered is that, as amazing as his job actually is, there’s also a bit of a downside to working in that many blockbusters. Not the least of which is being chided by his Insurgent co-star, Miles Teller.


Check Out: Miles Teller Talks ‘Insurgent,’ and Getting Beat Up By Shailene Woodley (Exclusive Video)


CraveOnline: What’s it like being in every franchise?

Jai Courtney: [Laughs.] It’s this funny little insecurity that’s fast developing. Miles Teller sent me a text when I signed on for Suicide Squad, and it was pointed. He was having a go at me [but] of course there was some truth in jest. He was like, “Bro, you don’t need to sign onto a franchise with every studio.” I did have a moment of like, fuck! It’s certainly not my intention to have done so.

It’s just been a funny thing, that opportunities have come in that shape and form. There’s no grand plan for me. I haven’t been that strategic in that sense. I just take things one step at a time. The Divergent stuff came about a couple of years ago. This seemed like an opportunity to do something that was this kind of novel adaptation, and I knew that it would be a couple of films and [I] saw some fun stuff to do with the character. 

Then Terminator rolled along, and the Suicide Squad thing is obviously, I mean, it’s cool man. I didn’t see it coming but it’s not something I could have turned my back on just for the sake of not getting in bed with another franchise. You know? David Ayer was someone I’d been wanting to work with for several years, and I was getting actually close with Shia LaBoeuf because we were working together at the time, and hearing a lot about their experience on Fury. And this opportunity came about and I was like, man, playing an Aussie comic book character…

Right, you get to keep your accent for a change. That’s got to be a nice change of pace, right?

Totally bizarre. But yeah, it is, it’s really nice.

And you get to wear Captain Boomerang’s sweet white scarf.

I can’t guarantee there will be a white scarf.

There’d better be a white scarf. That’s all we ask for.

We’ll see.

You said that being in a lot of franchises comes with insecurities. About what?

It’s the sort of thing… I mean, look, the double-edged thing with a franchise is, I guess from the outside it might seem like there’s some job security, and there will be things to come, which is great. I’ve had a great time reprising this role in [the Divergent] franchise. What it also does is it takes you out, and when your time is booked up, it limits the possibility to do other things. 

It’s looking like next year we might jump straight back in and do another Terminator movie. They’re long, taxing adventures to go on. So I guess, I’ll embrace it. I can’t wait. All these things that are happening are really exciting, but look… I guess in short, it’s nice to know that one of them is down now…

Although they’ve got all that V.R. stuff in Divergent. You could always come back.

Who knows, yeah? But yeah, I guess it’s just that. It’s like, you want these things to succeed and you’re committing to a lot of stuff, but finally it’s the shape of the industry at the moment and it’s really common, especially being a relatively young actor. You get involved with a studio and optional pictures and sequel options and that sort of thing are becoming part and parcel with the roles they’re handing out. So it’s somewhat unavoidable, but I’m confident in the choices I’ve made so far.


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