(last update: 23/11/2016)
He was named after a character in the 1966 TV series of Tarzan; ‘the boy who was found in the jungle’…. His parents are Chris and Karen Courtney. Jai caught the acting bug as a 10-year-old. He went on to develop his dramatic skills at Cherrybrook Technology High School, also attending local drama groups after school. At 18, Courtney, like many of Australia’s finest thespians before him, tried and failed to win a place at the country’s leading acting school, the National Academy for Dramatic Art (NIDA). However, he later nabbed a spot at the respected Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). Which he is a graduate of (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts).
“I sucked at ballet but we had a dance element there and you can apply it to anything whether it’s a fight or a dance. You understand where your balance is and learning the moves and avoiding injury to yourself and others.”
Courtney was a member of the strong class of 2007, at WAAPA, which also included his good friend, Jimi Bani. Both young actors were profiled together in The West Australian, after landing plum roles in world-premiere plays at the 2008 Perth International Arts Festival. Bani, who has since gone on to star in The Straits and Mabo, played the title role in Jandamarra and Courtney played brooding abattoir worker “Boner” McPharlin in the adaptation of Tim Winton’s The Turning.
Courtney said at the time he had no illusion about this early good break after being cast well before he graduated.
“It is very exciting to be given the opportunity to do a professional production so soon after graduation,” he said. “It is pretty good to be paid for doing something you love so much.” (Continue Reading at “Tough Guy Jai Pulls no Punches“)
Jai has also been a part of several short films throughout his career. Jai’s first screen role was as Alex in 2005’s short ‘Boys Grammar’. In 2008, he had a lead role in the TV series ‘Packed to the Rafters’. Also in that year, he was seen playing Harry Avent on two episodes of the show All Saints.
- Stepped in, with 24 hours’ notice, to play the role of Andrey in Cry Havoc!’s production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters in 2010.
He also had a role in Stone Bros., before getting cast as Varro on the Starz Network TV series ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’ in 2010, this was his breakthrough role and he has since played Charlie in ‘Jack Reacher’ in 2012 alongside Tom Cruise, and Jack McClane in 2013 Die Hard franchise instalment ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ (which he took Russian language classes before filming and which they had a global, months-long casting search.), Felony, Unbroken, The Water Diviner with Russell Crowe, The Divergent Series as Eric, he’s now played Kyle Reese in Terminator Genisys and many more movies to come.
Jai’s performance, combined with his brawny and masculine features, catapulted him into the action movie arena. He soon landed his first big role in a major motion picture. He was cast as Charlie , the evil mercenary in Paramount Picture’s Jack Reacher (2012) opposite Tom Cruise. (via Tribute.CA)
Jai Courtney Quotes
I’m not someone who has a lengthy attention span, and that applies to my exercise routine as well.
I was too young to be an avid enthusiast for the franchise, but like billions of people I remember as a child sitting around with the family on a Friday night with pizza and popcorn and a ‘Die Hard’ movie on.
I was a bit of a show-off in school and loved playing dress-up, and my passion for it just grew as I got older.
I’ve always played sport. I played rugby, I was involved in athletics, I played cricket… I’m an outdoors kind of guy.
I don’t know if I’m an action star or if that’s just how things are shaping up. I would hate to be boxed into that forever, but it’s probably just a strength as far as my type goes, and I’m fine with that.
With ‘Divergent’ and ‘Insurgent,’ there isn’t great emphasis on uniformity; it’s a vigilante military, the state is in disarray, and there is no reference point for authenticity, so it’s just weapons work and circumstantial fighting.
I was always realistic about the fact I wanted to be involved with big films.
I started coming to L.A. as often as I could, for three months on and three months off, because immigration kicks you out after 90 days.
When you’re working with people you’ve seen in hundreds of films… it’s a bit crazy to step outside yourself for a minute and think, ‘This is surreal.’ But I try not to get too bogged down in that.
I don’t handle creepy crawlers well. I had a spider problem at a house in Australia, and one of my female friends had to come rescue me from it.
After ‘A Good Day to Die Hard,’ I had a bit of an identity crisis as far as where I wanted to place myself in the business. When it’s all new and fresh, there is a lot of pressure to know what you represent, and I didn’t really get that.
I was always dressing up as a kid in the backyard, building some sort of fort and having battles against imaginary enemies. It’s often that same feeling when you’re pretending for a living, but it’s with bigger toys.
I would much rather have a couple of hundred grams of chicken in the afternoon than neck a shake. You’re better off just keeping your diet relatively lean and eating simply.
I’m more likely to give you a cuddle than a punch in the face. I have a soft side, especially with my girlfriend. I send her flowers and use my culinary skills to pull off romantic meals. I do great Thai dishes.
I’m not sure I’m comfortable with a reputation of being an action guy. That’s something I probably try to avoid, but I seem to keep making action movies.
I’ve been approached by a couple of people who’ve recognized me from ‘Jack Reacher.’ It’s great… when the feedback’s positive. I don’t know if I look forward to the day when I can’t go out and get a cup of coffee. I kinda hope that day never happens.
It’s funny: a lot of roles I do read for mention physical presence – like, ‘built like a quarterback’ – and for me, it’s pretty boring because I don’t want that to be the most important thing. I’m not trying to be Dwayne Johnson.
Ideally, really ideally, you want to get to a place where you can have creative control over the material you do – choices, at least, anyway. And you want your choice of script and role. But do you really want your life to revolve around trying to maintain your privacy?
It’s a funny thing because I don’t want to wish away my privacy. Do I want ‘Terminator Genisys’ to explode? Absolutely. Do I want to take my career to the next level? Absolutely? You have to trade some things for that. It’s all about how you conduct yourself and what you make of the experience.
I do love doing action, but if I can balance the scale by doing other kinds of films that satisfy my creative ambitions, that feels really important.
I got into the guitar at a young age, and it’s a big part of what I like to do during my down time.
Jai Courtney for Haute Living San Francisco ~ Photoshoot – July/August 2016
~ Photography by ~ Randall Slavin
Slideshow of Random, Casual, Instagram and Candid Shots
My Collage ~ Montage Gif of Jai Courtney as Eric, in The Divergent Series
“Jai Courtney joins Josh to talk about the time they first met on the set of Divergent, currently filming Suicide Squad, working with Arnold on Terminator Genisys + more”
Jai handles the above interview with a wise ass american…. so smoothly, classy guy our Jai….
Jai Courtney Quotes, cont:
Auditioning for a couple of years, 99 per cent of the time you are doing an American accent.
I like to eat. So it’s often a battle to try and control that.
If you get just a bit of exercise in before every meal, you’ll really see a difference.
I did this film with Russell Crowe called ‘The Water Diviner,’ which took place just after WWI. It was fascinating because the weapons between WWI and WII were very different. I had to learn how to ride horses in a battle setting. It was important that we rode a certain way.
For ‘The Terminator,’ I was asked to drop a bit of weight to get less physically imposing because it wasn’t about an athletic build; the build they were looking for was something more unassuming or boyish. And it was tough!
I kind of missed out on those years when a lot of my friends did big backpacking trips around Europe and that sort of thing. So to be able to travel and see parts of the world on the job is kind of a double whammy.
Action roles – or any role – should go to the best guy for the job. People obsess about nationality. Hollywood and America might be the hub for pop culture and cinema for the Western world, but that shouldn’t suggest that all the roles should go to young American men.
The last time I played rugby, I busted my nose bad, and that’s incentive not to get down and dirty in the park anymore.
Would I want Johnny Depp’s career? Sure! But do I want all the trappings and all the stuff that comes with that? I don’t know. It’s a pretty serious trade off. Can you prevent it? Probably not.
Sometimes filming can be grueling when you’re shooting the same scene for a week, or you’re sitting around for 7 hours a day. They sound like very first-world champagne problems. I don’t mean to sound like life is so hard, but filming sometimes is tougher than other times.
The ‘Die Hard’ thing was one of those situations where even then people had told me – people in elevated creative positions, studio execs – I was told to prepare to kind of blow up, and life’s gonna change. Everyone’s gonna know your career has taken off. Whilst it was a huge opportunity for me, it certainly didn’t go down quite like that.
To be given a lead role in something as cool and fresh and crazy as ‘Spartacus’ was a real thrill. That had a lot to do with the evolution of my ambition as well.