Humanity first! | Daily News

Humanity first!

As soon as you hear his name, the first thought which comes to your mind is whether he is related to the famous Sri Lankan musician Alston Koch, and of course he is!

Mo wonder they say that music runs in the family. Apparently, being the son of Alston Koch certainly would have inspired him to follow his father’s footsteps (as any son would be) to establish himself in the world music scene and the big Hollywood movie industry, to add another feather in Sri Lanka’s cap. As he fondly mentions about his father, “I’m so proud and extremely lucky to have a father who’s always had my back.’’ Being of Sri Lankan origin, Fred James Koch was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, who studied with the National Institute of Dramatic Arts NIDA and later graduated from the Actors Centre Australia whose patron was Hugh Jackman. He also graduated from the Monash University, with a double degree and even left an excellent job in the Australian Dept of Defence to pursue an acting career in Hollywood. He made his acting debut as supporting lead in the motion picture “A Common Man” alongside Sir Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross followed by supporting roles in films such as Impact: Earth alongside Tom Berringer and most recently in the LIONSGATE distributed Hollywood film ‘Night Walk’ sharing the screen with Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts and Sean Stone. He has made a name for himself as a singer, song writer and a Hollywood actor, but also as a Philanthropist and a humanitarian.


Q: How is everything going on these days?

Doing ok, and trying to go with the flow. The world is going through a difficult situation, so I am trying to adapt to it and carry on with my usual activities.

Q: Your latest release, ‘’I’m running ‘’ from the motion picture ‘’Nightwalk ‘’ is fast becoming a hit now.

It was a wonderful experience, to be sure! it was the most obvious thing which could have happened to a person. The whole idea was included in the song. I always loved singing. Not so much in front of people though, but on stage, funny as it may seem. The song very much connects with the people, their lives, and it was a great experience to work with AZ Sheriff. That song basically came from dad. He was the one who inspired me do a good song. When I was actually working on it, my dad kind of pinched me on the shoulder. He’s a very high quality critic. I was so taken back and I was so focused on doing this song, that have people calling me from all over the world. It’s a great have this opportunity. I couldn’t have been more exited. I’m so proud to be Sri Lankan, and am glad that I was able to bring credit to Sri Lanka by doing a good job.

Q: What was your role in the ‘Nightwalk’ and how did you feel portraying it among other senior artistes?

Speaking about my role in it, there were diverse roles. When we were filming we had to go through a lot of changes. A lot of the cast changed roles throughout the film. There’s one part of the film where my hair was long, and one part where it was short etc. It was great experience to work with all those actors. Most of them were so great to work with. We had such a great connection and chemistry, and the veterans gave a lot of support. It’s very rarely actors turn up on the set when they are off duty. It was just amazing. There was really great, amazing chemistry on the set. I’m definitely looking forward to work with Patrick again in future.

Q: How would you recall your acting debut in the film ‘A Common Man’?

I think there was so much excitement around when we were filming it! Looking back, I really feel I could have done better in my role. There was a lot of action and excitement, like, I was riding motorcycles, doing a lot of stunts, crazy stuff was going on. We filmed in Hultfsdorp as well . And at the last scene at the Airport, I was so exhausted that I really felt that I couldn’t do it anymore. We had a lot of work to do and it was insane. I really learnt a lot from that movie, as an actor you had to look after yourself, and how to be kind and generous to yourself, I pushed myself very hard for it and it was a memorable experience. I’m really thankful to chandran as well for giving me the opportunity.

Q: What first inspired you to take into the arts and cinema field?

I’m sure everybody thinks like that but actually that’s not the case. One thing I inherited from my parents is the love and understanding, the generosity. My mother is a lovely person, and I do share a lot of that love and understanding with my dad, mom and sister. They also showed me what it was like to be dedicated and give 100 % to what you’re doing. When we watch a movie, we only watch the content and don’t go into the depth. It actually takes us on a journey through that particular character, we express our emotions, our experience, our lifestyle. We haven’t been to Zahara, but through the film we have the experience. We haven’t been to mount Everest, but we can feel the experience. That’s one amazing thing about this profession and that’s why I love it so much. Even when my mother was not well I had to put back everything and commit myself to the film, encouraged by my father. I got the best of support from my parents, and I had to give my 100 % for this film. It’s a great example of showing how hard ypu have to work to get to a particular level.

Q: What is the theme of ‘Night Walk’?

It actually moves around the theme, that we need to believe in something. It’s really important that you have to believe in what you want and what you want to become. In this movie, an American goes through all sorts of experiences till he finds his girlfriend and goes through life. Whatever moment, discovery you make is yours. Until now, I never knew I could connect with so many people. I had something beautiful to connect with, and to believe in.

Q: You’re also an environmentalist. What do you think of the environmental pollution in Sri Lanka, and mostly in 3rd world countries?

It’s emotional really. I feel with every government we are just rotating the ‘’blame game ‘’ but we never look at ourselves and figure out what we can do. We have so many resources but we don’t seem to take advantage of what we have. There’s something you can learn using your own workforces. We have the best brains in the world. If we take certain intellectuals in the world, there’s a possibility that at least one of them us of Sri Lankan origin. Countries like Singapore have limited resources, but they made maximum use of what they had. It’s easy to say that we could do this differently, and that we need help, but I believe that’s a poor way of thinking. There are some ECO hotels in Sri Lanka which is a good thing. We really need to start focusing on ourselves and think what we could do for the betterment of the country. We need to make the maximum use of what we have, and the very thought it makes me emotional.

Q: What was the most memorable moment of your music and acting career?

It was when I found out for the first time that I could sing! That was in 2017 I think. That just happened at the spur of the moment. Once I was performing in front of a bunch of Sri Lankans and I had a great team supporting me (the sound team) I was a bit nervous because the crowd didn’t show any facial expressions or if they were enjoying, they just seemed to be watching me silently. But after I got off the stage, they were complimenting me and praising me for my performance, that it was quite different from what I had perceived earlier! It’s just the way Sri Lankans are. In acting, I really love acting and there’s a privilege of being an actor, because it helps you to portray different versions of yourself.

Q: Did you have any role models throughout your acting /music career?

I never looked at it in that way. We do have role models at an early stage of our life, but I kind of feel like it’s my duty to see myself as my own. You need to seize the opportunities which other people had. I respect people like Al Pacino, Robert De Niro , Leonardo De Caprio and I actually wanted to work with them . I used to adore Michael Jackson when I was a kid. He definitely formed me into something independent. Every song, music video of Michael Jackson was a masterpiece. I’m so excited to have him as a role model.

Q: What do you think of the Hollywood Cinema /audience and the Sri Lankan Cinema /audience?

The difference between Sinhala films, naturally you’re going to limit the audience. In some Sinhala films I have seen the content is so emotional and beautiful, just like the Austral-Indie movies. I’m looking forward to work with Sri Lankan film directors too. When it’s Hollywood, it’s all about that huge budget they are spending on the film and a lot of Hollywood films have a lot of Chinese characters in them. It’s mainly because of the financial stability they have.

Q: Do you hope to visit Sri Lanka soon?

To be honest, I was actually living there! I was very much living between Colombo and Los Angeles when the Covid situation increased and I had to be stuck here in Australia. When the situation settles down I hope to come to Sri Lanka.

Q: Any future activities /projects coming up ?

At the moment I’m focusing on my new release and my song ‘’I’m running ‘’ has a lot of me in it. There’s also a new film coming up as well , and I’m looking forward to that too.

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