The acclaimed actor has three places he calls home – one from the past, one for the present and one that holds his future.
1971 | Australia
My family moved to Australia from England in 1971. I grew up in Geelong and spent a lot of time on Victoria’s southern coast between Lorne, Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff. I go there when I can; I feel free there. Beyond that coast, aside from Tasmania, there’s nothing. It’s like you’re on the edge of the earth. I’ve since sold it but, in 1997, I bought a run-down little schoolhouse in Kooroocheang, between Daylesford and Ballarat. I used to love going up there with the dogs. It was a wooden shack surrounded by paddocks that went for miles.
As much as I go to wonderful places for different films, country Victoria is where my heart is and that’s never going to change. That combination of the earth, those trees and a climate that goes from blisteringly dry and dangerous to thundering rain and wind; it’s so dramatic and fantastic. I love it. And I miss it.
1999 | United States
I really struggled with Los Angeles in the beginning. It felt soulless and overcrowded. Everyone tells you that you’re the greatest actor they’ve ever met. It has an air of desperation, an energy that’s hard for a sensitive wee chap like me to deal with. Not having any grounding there amplified it all.
I bought a condo in West Hollywood when I was making the film Memento in 1999 and it changed everything. I walked in and went, “Wow!” It needed work but I opened it up, put floorboards down, painted it white and basically rearranged the feng shui. It’s on four floors and is tiny but lots of light comes in. My guitar collection is there – and clothes – so I don’t have to pack much.
You know when you meditate and come to centre and it’s just you and your breath? That’s how I feel when I walk into that apartment. I just love, love, love being in my little place and I know in my bones that I’ll never sell it.
2016 | Netherlands
Carice van Houten [Melisandre in Game of Thrones] and I had a baby boy here in August two years ago. Carice and Monte live in Amsterdam and we do a bit of toing and froing to Australia but Amsterdam is another home to me now. I haven’t seen it in the same way tourists do because I was very quickly launched into, “Right… we’re pregnant, we’re having a baby… okay,” and all my focus has been on my son.
Carice has just moved to a house next to Vondelpark in the heart of Amsterdam. We go into the park every day. It has a wonderful combination of lakes and canals and open areas with beautiful old oaks and plane trees and lots of people riding bikes. It’s that picture-perfect Amsterdam image.
I was here in 1994 with Stephan Elliott to promote Priscilla [Queen of the Desert]. I was 27 then and I’m now 50. I’m discovering the city through Monte and it’s really lovely to take it in. It’s unusual. It’s beautiful. It’s growing on me. ￼