Joel Edgerton is in the middle of a revelation about suffering from the social experience dubbed "impostor syndrome" when the cramped propeller plane we're on begins to shake.
The tiny aircraft suddenly drops, gasps and groans, ricocheting through the cabin as stomachs turn.
"If you find this in the wreckage," the actor, director and screenwriter wryly whispers into my voice recorder, "then goodbye".
The plane eventually steadies itself somewhere high above Ethiopia's northeast, at the end of our week-long visit, reports news.com.au.
Edgerton, 44, smiles and laughs as I release my grip from his arm. I hate small planes but he doesn't mind them.
Not much appears to bother the Australian star, who has a reputation at home and in Hollywood for his laid-back personality. But it's all a bit of a ruse, Edgerton admits.
"Maybe the workaholic thing I have is really a voice in my head telling me that I've not done enough," he says.
Despite a stellar acting career at home, major roles in the United States and a successful step-up as a director, writer and filmmaker, he's rarely content.
And a part of Edgerton fears one day he'll be found out — that Hollywood will discover he's actually not that talented.
While filming the Ridley Scott epic Exodus: Gods and Kings in Spain back in 2014, he and fellow Aussie star Ben Mendelsohn found themselves sharing that feeling.
"We were laughing about how we seem to have managed to slip through the net and snuck into this world," Edgerton says.
"I've got impostor syndrome, definitely. It feels like I've bluffed my way through."
We've zigzagged across Ethiopia as part of Edgerton's role as global ambassador for the iconic Australian charity The Fred Hollows Foundation.
Twelve months earlier, almost to the day, Edgerton was on the rooftop of the ultra-luxe Dream Hotel in Hollywood hosting a star-studded gala fundraiser for Fred Hollows.
Robert Pattinson, Paris Hilton, Sam and Lara Worthington, Jai Courtney and Ricky Martin were among some of the A-listers to walk the red carpet, along with the heads of almost every major film studio, record label executives and celebrity agents.
"I'm terrible at planning events and even worse at asking for favours," Edgerton laughs.
"I get anxiety having to put on a dinner party so the idea of hosting this massive event was a big deal."
Knowing it would be a challenge, he enlisted a "powerhouse of women" he knows in Los Angeles — friends and colleagues — to bring it to life, as well as rope in VIP guests and source donated art and other action prizes.
"Leo donated a piece of artwork," he says. Leo, as in Leonardo DiCaprio.
"Flea volunteered to do some music," Edgerton adds, referring to the Red Hot Chili Peppers star. "He asked if I minded if he did a solo bass performance. I was like, 'Yeah, why not?' Seal did music for us too."
Edgerton wrapped shooting for his critically acclaimed film Boy Erased two weeks prior and was under the pump. But with the help of a tribe of "well-connected and generous people", the soiree raised a mammoth $600,000 for Fred Hollows' work tackling the horror eye disease trachoma.
"It's a disease of the eye caused by issues related to hygiene and access to clean water for people to clean their hands and faces properly. It's passed from person-to-person," Edgerton explains.
"It causes major discomfort, serious pain and the scratching of corneas, which causes permanent blindness."
That night, Ethiopian ophthalmologist Dr Wondu Alemayehu spoke about the condition, which affects an estimated 27 million of his countrymen and women, and is the leading cause of infection-related irreversible blindness in the world.
"People were very moved by his speech," Edgerton recalls.
"Talk about differences of worlds — what he spoke about compared to the everyday lives of those people in the room. It could not have been starker. A lot of people judge LA for being narcissistic but I think that's an easy criticism. There are also a lot of incredibly generous people who are open-minded and grateful for what they have, and want to help others."
At the end of the evening, Dr Wondu invited Edgerton to come to Ethiopia to see first-hand the impact of the money raised.
"The operations Dr Wondu and his team do essentially cuts the eyelid and sew part of the under part to the top part, allowing the eyelashes to grow outwards.
"The other part of the project is teaching basis hygiene and supporting communities to have better access to water, so you can prevent trachoma."
Earlier in his career, Edgerton was filming a movie when granules of make-up got caught in his eyes, scratching his corneas.
"It was honestly one of the most painful things to ever happen to me. I went to hospital and I got contact bandages put on and two days later I was fine. To think that people have that pain constantly for years is unimaginable."
AN ENORMOUS YEAR
Edgerton managed to squeeze this trip in between an endless stream of work, in what marks his first real week off in more than a year.
"Over 2018, I was flying back and forth to Budapest and between LA, New York and London," he says.
"Netflix gave me and (director David Michôd) $50 million to make The King, an adaptation of Henry IV and V in one, which we shot in Hungary. I was still editing Boy Erased in New York during it and then I went straight into the festival circuit and press tour for that.
"Before that, I shot the movie Red Sparrow in Budapest and while I was there I wrote Boy Erased in my hotel (at night). I was obsessed with it. I wrote the first draft in two weeks."
Edgerton went from one major project into writing, directing and starring in another, before leaping into the next, all while chipping away at a handful of other projects.
Edgerton jokes that he measures time by how tall his mates' kids are getting.
Increasingly, the actor, who got his first big break in the hit Network Ten series The Secret Life Of Us, feels a sense of guilt about how much he's away from home.
"At some point, I got lost. Every now and then, you have to check in with what you've got and your goals, what you think they were and what they actually are."
Edgerton admits part of his extended absence from the Australian industry was previously wrapped up in ego.
There were big local successes with the likes of Animal Kingdom, and then subsequent passion projects, like the film he made with his brother Nash, Square, that barely made a ripple.
"It put a foul taste in my mouth. I thought, why am I labouring over these things back home if there's no way of getting them out there? So, I checked in with my ego recently. I also checked in with how much better I feel when I'm at home.
"So, I've started acquiring a couple of things that are Australian. I'm partnering with people who want to make things in Australia.
"My plan over the next few years is to produce and make my own stuff back home. I want to strike a balance again."
'I'M NEVER HAPPY'
More than a few times over the years, Edgerton found himself questioning his career and wondering what he was doing with his life.
It was more luck than anything else that he kept going.
"There was always enough of a carrot dangled at some point — a role or something — to make me stay there," he says.
"I was never honest about how ambitious I was, how hungry I was to walk down the same path that people like Russell (Crowe) walked down.
"I think I felt like if I didn't achieve that same success, I'd be some sort of failure."
The past eight or so years have allowed Edgerton to relax just a little. He's even "planted some roots" by buying a car.
"My brother and I have this little ramshackle house in LA too. Seriously, it's … yeah, 'ramshackle' is the word. We both have these lovely places in Sydney that we've renovated and worked on that feel like home. Then we go to LA and stay in this super beaten-up house. It's a place to sleep."
One of Edgerton's goals in 2019 is to be more patient and grateful — to allow himself to pause occasionally, although not too long, to reflect on his success.
"I'm never happy," he admits.
"I'm satisfied in the moment and then I get really impatient. I'm always looking for more. I think that's what keeps me working.
"I'm worried about being stagnant. I'm frustrated if the next thing isn't in my head."
I ask him to reflect on a recent experience that illustrates his journey, from Australia's small screen to Hollywood's big one.
He tells me about making movies as a kid in his backyard in Sydney's west with his brother Nash, using their father's video camera. Joel would act, Nash would stunt direct and they would share writing and directing duties.
Last year, while on the set of The King, Edgerton found a moment of realisation in an unlikely situation.
"I was filming a massive battle scene. In full armour, lying in a pool of mud, surrounded by 200 men and 80 horses, I just started laughing.
"I would never have imagined that someone would give us the money to make a massive movie in Europe. Me at the age of 10 — mucking around in the backyard with my brother Nash, with a video camera — never would've imagined the ceiling would be this high for me."
Perhaps then, he admits, this whole crazy ride hasn't happened by accident.
But before he is forced into any uncomfortable self-praise, the wheels of the plane hit the runway at Addis Ababa airport.
"We've made it alive," Edgerton cheers.