To play Searle, the Icarus II’s Medical Officer, Boyle was looking for somebody who would subvert expectations. “The role was originally written for a slightly stiff British character,” he explains. “We cast New Zealander Cliff Curtis. He approached the part with such freshness and originality that I knew he was right for it.”
Curtis was drawn to the role because of the chance to work with Boyle. “Danny is a very special guy, very down to earth and he’s got no delusions about working in film. My character Searle is the doctor and psychiatrist on the ship who becomes obsessed with the Sun. He realizes something went wrong with the previous mission, and potentially could go wrong with theirs, and so he uses himself as a guinea pig. Searle theorizes on the possibility that to some the Sun may be the face of God. He starts to study the Sun and soon begins to become fixated by it, as if it is communicating something to him. Do we have the right as human beings to change the course of nature, to go against nature? The sun is dying, what right have we got to question the wisdom of nature?”
In addition to his many film credits, Curtis has worked extensively in New Zealand television. He starred in Overnight, for which he received a New Zealand Television Award nomination for Best Actor. Curtis spent a year training at the New Zealand Drama School before attending the prestigious Teatro Dimitri Scoula in Switzerland. His stage credits include Macbeth, The Cherry Orchard, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Porgy and Bess.
Cliff is the ‘family man’ of the cast and has his family around as much as he can.