Guy Pearce says phone call from Nick Cave brought him out of “crash and burn” breakdown

Guy Pearce has opened up about how Nick Cave helped him out of a “crash-and-burn” breakdown.

The actor, who starred in 2005 Western The Proposition, written by Cave, discussed having a “big crash and burn” breakdown in 2001 after an intense period of work.

“It was a confluence of things,” Pearce told The Times. “The pressure I started to feel about working in America and the whole making hay while the sun shines philosophy. And of course, as an actor, you never usually work back-to-back unless, of course, you’re in a soap.


“All the time you have off between jobs, it revitalises you. You get to be yourself again and recharge, all that sort of stuff. But you don’t realise that until you start doing movie after movie after movie and you’re fucking exhausted. Plus, I was smoking way too much pot.”

Pearce went on to say he took a year off after 2001 to smoke more weed, until Nick Cave called him directly to ask him to star in The Proposition.

“I was at home with my mate, getting stoned again,” Pearce said. “The phone rang. I just let the answering machine answer it. I wasn’t looking at scripts. Scripts would arrive and I just put them in a pile in the corner. I’d said to my agent, ‘I don’t fucking want to read anything.’ I wanted to get away from all of this.

“And Nick rang – I didn’t know Nick – and left a message saying, ‘Er, yes, Guy, it’s Nick Cave calling. Look, your people seem to think that if I call you directly, you’ll perhaps take notice.’”

Nick Cave performing at All Points East Festival 2022
Nick Cave performing at All Points East Festival 2022. CREDIT: Jim Dyson/Getty Images


Pearce said Cave had sent him the script and “something opened up” in him when he read it.

“I realised that, in fact, I’d had enough time off and I’d also had enough time thinking about what I needed to think about,” the actor said. “Which really was: is this valid, this job? Am I any good at it? Am I OK with it? Can I live my life with this job?”

Pearce ended up starring in the film as a 1880s outlaw. Meanwhile, Nick Cave recently confirmed his plans to start writing a new album at the end of this year.