Friday, October 28, 2011

Interview: Joel Edgerton (Warrior)

Joel Edgerton has buffed up a little since Animal Kingdom to make a play for the Hollywood big leagues in Warrior. Picking up some blue-collar roots alongside a serious amount of muscle, Edgerton plays a cash-strapped father and physics teacher, who steps back into the Mixed Martial Arts cage in order to earn enough money to save his house. A monstrously muscly Tom Hardy (who you may remember from Inception) plays Edgerton’s estranged brother, an MMA fighter and ex-Marine with his own debts to pay; while Nick Nolte growls his way through the film as their recovering alcoholic father and trainer. 

In Sydney to film Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, Edgerton took some time out yesterday to chat with us about brothers, trapezoids, training montages, and also to talk a bit of smack about the cast of The Fighter


Mixed Martial Arts is a bloody full on world for an actor to dip his toe into. How daunting was it walking into that cage?

It was great. We had a gentle kind of step up to it, because we trained for ten weeks in a Mixed Martial Arts gym. This is going to sound really strange, but we really were kind of like gently welcomed into the gym by these really amazing fighters.


My expectation was that, like ‘OK here come these two actors' and there’d be a lot of this [Crosses his arms and looks tough and standoffish], or that there’d be a lot of toughing up and alpha aggression. But it was the opposite because Tom and I were kind of like these vehicles, and they realised we were the vehicles to depict their sport in this fictional film, for the first on screen in a real way that respected the sport and showed the sport in all of its dimensions. So there was a real investment on their behalf to make sure they filled us up with the right skill and showed us the right way through it all in every aspect: the diet, and the rest aspect, and the weights, wrestling, jujitsu and muay thai. So there was this real kind of loving atmosphere and encouragement. And there was never any, you know ‘You’re not doing this right.’ There was no impatience. It was all positive. 

So that was Warrior training, thrown in the mix with all of these guys?

Yeah, ten weeks of that and as we got stronger and as we got bigger and more skilled, then there was more pressure on us. Then we felt much more like equals. Because if I stepped in the cage with any of those guys, I’d be on the floor, crying in about 30 seconds [Laughs]. But we definitely felt more equal, we felt like we were capable and at least we could sell the trick that we belonged in that environment. 

You’re not stranger to the vagaries of the fraternal bond. How was it sizing up to Tom Hardy and those…


Yeah those traps! Compared with Nash [Edgerton]?

Well I don’t know if Nash has traps [Laughs]. I’m sure they’re there somewhere. Nash and I used to fight a lot when we were kids, but we’re best friends now. There’s no severance or strained relationship. So for me the experience of this movie was relating to this by kind of inverting my experience. 

And did anyone think it was a bit odd for an Aussie and a Pom to be playing this blue-collar American story?

In a way. I think for Gavin [O’Connor] the director it was about finding the right essence in the guy. And for us it was about pulling that trick of the blue-collar Pittsburgh guys, and the physics teacher of it all, and the soldier of it all. All of those things that we had to bring to it. But the energy was something he needed. 

Gavin talked about me, and I never really knew why he picked me at all, but that he needed someone who is a family man and full of love, who would also be able to seem like a fighter. And so somewhere in the middle of sensitivity and brutality I existed, and in a different combination of those two ingredients was Tom, including the damage, you know?

Now, you’re a screenwriter as well, so from that perspective I wondered what is it that we love about sports dramas?

The underdog thing is definitely a real pull for people, because we all feel like we’re not good enough. We all feel like we’re not really capable, and we all feel like we’re on the verge of losing all the time. And to think every now and then that one of us can get up and win the day really strikes a chord with us.

The other thing that really strikes a chord with everybody in this movie is just how painful it is to not have a connection with your family. Or to imagine what it is like to lose the connection that you do have. And the filial bond and the lines that you are connected with to your family are so strong, so when they’re gone, they still exist, but there’s a certain kind of lost-in-the-wilderness feeling, because you’re no longer a team. I think as humans we’re meant to be integrated in our family; we’re not born and cast out into the world. So when we are, it’s really confusing and upsetting. 

And then of course there are the montages in sports dramas, which are amazing….

And to be in a training montage! I was trying to think the other day, ‘Have I been in a montage before?’ And I don’t think I have? And I thought, ‘How can you get to my age without being in a montage?’ [Laughs] I’m in one now!  

Hollywood seems to serve films up in pairs; Look at Armageddon and Deep Impact, so how do you see The Fighter and Warrior coexisting? 

Obviously ours is a much better movie, and anybody who says differently... I just think Tom and I should just get in a cage with [stars from The Fighter] Mark [Walberg] and Christian [Bale], and just work it out.

Wow! Them’s fighting words. 

No no. [Laughs]

Well surely you’d sick Tom Hardy on them?

Yeah, I’ll go [Waves away], ‘Tom, you go deal with these guys, Nick [Nolte] and I will be over here eating a sandwich.” 

Look I think The Fighter is a very different kind of movie. Warrior is much more a kind of Rocky for the mixed martial arts world, for today, in that it’s got that sports movie edge, which I don’t think The Fighter really had, that sports movie ingredient. It really was just the biopic and a great movie as well. They’re chalk and cheese. They really are. The fighting aspect of them is all they really share in common and the brother stories are very different. 

Well speaking of chalk and cheese, you’ve almost literally just walked off the set of The Great Gatsby to be here. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve taken toThe Great Gatsby from Warrior?

One of the best things I learned from Warrior really was from the director Gavin. Because when you make a movie there’s often really pivotal scenes, and there might be four or five of them. And you feel like if you hit those scenes, then the movie’s really going to work. They’re the big flag-in-the-ground kind of moments. What Gavin really taught me, which I thought was really special, is that he sees every single moment in the film as important as the other moment, so a couple of my favourite scenes in this movie were very incidental scenes in the script, but Gavin would still clear the room and go ‘Let’s bang our heads together and figure out what’s the most important thing about this moment.’ 

I thought that was a really great lesson, that everything should be important. Every word should be thought about, every gesture and every interaction, whether the character is a major character or a minor character they're there for a reason and therefore should be mined of everything to make the movie as good as it can be. So with regard to me, that’s a lesson I’ve taken on to every movie that I do. 

Published on The Vine
Australian release date: 27 October 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Giveaway: Bill Cunningham New York

You simply must meet Bill Cunningham.

This is my favourite documentary of the year and I was very happy to give the film 5 stars in the latest issue of Limelight Magazine (the review will be online soon). You'll also soon see me gushing about Bill on The Movie Club, so if you need any extra encouragement to track down this marvellous documentary - here's a giveaway!

Thanks to Madman Entertainment I have 5 double passes on offer. See details below, and be sure to let me know what you make of Bill!

Official synopsis:
“We all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editrix Anna Wintour. The “Bill” in question is 80+ New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. For decades, this Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirées for the Times Style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours”. Documenting uptown fixtures (Wintour, Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor, David Rockefeller—who all appear in the film out of their love for Bill), downtown eccentrics and everyone in between, Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair.

To win one of FIVE double passes to see Bill Cunningham New York, simply email me (subject: Bill Cunningham NY) with your name and address. Winners will be notified by reply. 

Australian release date: 3 November 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Giveaway: Autoluminescent

Although I can in no way be mistaken for a music aficionado (my brain, it seems, is filled with film), I really enjoy music documentaries (and Wim Wenders makes an appearance here!). To be fair I'm a bit of documentary fiend in general - it goes with the history geek - so thanks to Umbrella Entertainment, I'm happy to have some tickets to give away for Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard.

This enthralling documentary takes you into the life of one of Australia's supreme musicians. And you really get a sense of his passion, his vision and that singular drive of a truly gifted soul. It's certainly a celebratory and at times elegiac documentary, but it goes a long way to show Rowland S. Howard as more than the freak 16 year old who penned the seminal song Shivers.

Here's the synopsis:

"Rowland was Australia's most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist." - Nick Cave
Guitarist, songwriter and artist Rowland S. Howard was an instrumental figure in the Australian rock scene, particularly renowned for his role in seminal post-punk outfit The Birthday Party. In a career spanning 30 years Howard worked with the best artists of his generation, including Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch and Ollie Olsen. His was a singular talent, cut short by an untimely death in 2009. 
Co-directed by Richard Lowenstein (Dogs in Space) and Lynn-Maree Milburn and featuring interviews with Nick Cave, Henry Rollins, Thurston Moore, Barry Adamson and many more.


You can watch a 6 min teaser too:

To win one of TEN double passes to see Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard, simply email me (subject: Autoluminescent) with your name and address. Winners will be notified by reply. 

Australian release date: 27 October 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Movie Club: Midnight in Paris (when it really sizzles)

The city of light has brought out the very best of Woody Allen. That’s right, the filmmaker synonymous with New York knocks it out of the Tuileries with his finest European effort since Vicky Cristina Barcelona
In an absolutely inspired piece of casting, Owen Wilson plays Allen’s onscreen alter ego, a screenwriter and wannabe novelist who’s head-over-heels for Paris in the 1920s. A brilliant ensemble that includes Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen and Frances’ own first lady Carla Bruni marvelously supports Wilson as he bumbles his way along the Seine, bumping into some very familiar faces along the way!
Empire Magazine’s David Michael Brown and fellow Movie Clubber Oscar Hillerstrom join me, Alice Tynan, for a wonderfully fun and wondrously romantic tour of Paris with our unlikely guide, Woody Allen! 
(I've finally figured out how to embed the video, so just click play and enjoy!)

To hear more about Midnight in Paris, you can listen to my review on 702 ABC Sydney. And I can also highly recommend you download Francine Stock's marvellous interview with Woody Allen over on BBC Radio's The Film Programme

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side)

Continuing today's Paris theme, here's Spike Jonze's risque little love story, set in the marvellous Shakespeare & Company:

Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side) from Veronica Christina on Vimeo.

Read the full story over on Slate

ABC702: Contagion & Midnight in Paris

It was a Marion Cotillard double bill today on Morning's with Deborah Cameron as I reviewed the frustratingly benign Contagion and the dreamy Midnight in Paris.

Have a listen:

 ABC702 Review8 by alicetynan

If you're in the mood for some more Euro Woody Allen, have a chuckle over his Excerpts from a Spanish Diary.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Whistleblower

Always a compelling onscreen presence, Rachel Weisz makes for an intractable UN Peacekeeper in this earnestly well-meaning drama about human trafficking. Based on the true story of Nebraskan police officer-turned-peacekeeper Kathryn Bolkovac, the film by Canadian co-writer/director Larysa Kondracki keenly portrays post-war Bosnia and the horrific sexual slavery that became a booming business alongside the influx of UN “Smurfs”. 

Initially taking the post to make a quick buck, Bolkovac’s innate investigation skills see her rise in the ranks before the discovery of UN personnel involvement in human trafficking forces her into the dangerous position of whistleblower.

Topically and thematically, this is a strong feature debut for Kondracki, who has attracted a masterful ensemble that also includes Vanessa RedgraveDavid Strathairn and Monica Bellucci. Kondracki also wisely keeps the camera close to make the most of her terrific leading lady, with Weisz bringing much-needed gravitas to a rather patchy script. 

Indeed the film seems so concerned with being worthy of its harrowing true story that it often veers away from political-thriller into melodrama. Ultimately, Bolkovac’s extraordinary story deserves a much more incisive script, one that sinks its teeth into the UN nightmare and gets its audiences up in arms. Instead The Whistleblower pulls its punches.

Published in Limelight Magazine
Australian release date: 29 September 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Higher Ground

Quietly engrossing and deftly delivered, Higher Ground is a film that walks an intriguing path. It's the directorial debut of actor Vera Farmiga’s (Source Code) and is a respectful, honest, and at times almost ethnographical window into an evangelical Christian community. 

Adapted from Carolyn S. Briggs’ memoir This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and LostHigher Ground traces the life of Corinne Walker (played by Farmiga herself), a bookish girl turned born-again Christian whose relationship with God waxes and wanes.

As a child (beautifully portrayed by both Mackenzie Turner and later, Farmiga’s own sister Taissa), Corinne witnesses her parents’ (John Hawkes and Donna Murphy) loving marriage torn asunder by tragedy. And although she heeds the words of her kindly Pastor (Bill Irwin) to accept Jesus into her life, it isn’t until Corinne’s own child is threatened that she and her musician husband Ethan (Boyd Holbrook, later Joshua Leonard) give their lives entirely over to God. 

Living amongst the people they'd once dismissed as ‘Jesus Freaks’, Ethan is transformed. But for Corinne the Lord becomes increasingly elusive. Initially this manifests as playful envy of the effortless spirituality of her vivacious friend Annika (a sexy and scene stealing Dagmara Dominczyk), but eventually Corinne finds herself straying more and more to the secular solace of her library, and, on occasion, into flights of bizarre fantasy.

Playing out over 112 minutes, Farmiga warmly recreates Corinne’s 1960s childhood through the 1980s and beyond in what is a graceful and astoundingly nuanced portrait of a crisis of faith. Both behind and in front of the camera, Farmiga displays masterful restraint (this is a story that could easily have been laden with voiceover) allowing Michael McDonough’s unobtrusive but intimate cinematography to make the most of her beautifully expressive face. Anyone familiar with Farmiga’s performance in Debra Granik’s Down to the Bone or her Oscar nominated turn in Up in the Air will be similarly impressed with the depth and naturalism of her performance.

Spending almost two hours in the company of evangelical Christians will doubtless prove too much for some, but, given a chance, Higher Ground is nothing short of sublime. Farmiga and her marvellous ensemble cast miraculously manage to balance subtle satire alongside their earnest performances. It's a compelling portrait of an embracing yet conflicted society.

4 ½ Stars

Australian release date: 6 October 2011
Published in The Big Issue #391
Watch more about Higher Ground over on The Movie Club

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Movie Club: Red State

Giles Hardie, Marc Fennell and I are back on The Movie Club to tackle Kevin Smith's didactic, dastardly thriller Red State.

Didactic? Did you get that? We might mention it once or twice. That might be because this was recorded at the same time as our Submarine episode, when you may recall I was delirious with fever. It should at least go some way to explaining the crazy eyes.

Last week I also had the pleasure of reviewing Red State on Richard Glover's Drive programme on 702 ABC Radio. Alas I don't have the recording like I do for my visits to Deb Cameron's show, but I was similarly enthusiastic about the film (and mercifully minus the temperature!).

Australian release date: 13 October 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Giveaway: TT3D: Closer to the Edge

Way back in 2008 I may have confessed my love for Top Gear, but I honestly did not expect to adore a documentary about motorcycle racing. Especially not one in 3D. But TT3D: Closer to the Edge is nothing short of brilliant; right up there with Senna and my beloved Bill Cunningham New York in vying for my favourite documentary of the year.

Thanks to Icon, I'm thrilled to have a handful of double passes to give away. So go, enjoy the ride, and I defy you not to fall a little in love with the daffy daredevil Guy Martin.

Official synopsis:

TT3D: CLOSER TO THE EDGE is a film about the TT, the world-famous motorcycle race that takes place on the Isle of Man every year. Racing along public roads on bikes just inches apart - with speeds hitting 200mph - drama, tension and tragedy all combine to thrill the audience and tell a very moving human story.

TT3D: CLOSER TO THE EDGE has smashed box office records to become a breakout hit in NZ and the UK.

To win one of five double passes to see TT3D: Closer to the Edge, simply email me (subject: TT3D Giveaway) with your name and address. Winners will be notified by reply. 

Australian release date: 20 October 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Take Shelter

This absolutely brilliant film opens in limited release today.

Go and see it.

Then let's have a glass of wine and a chat, for this is a film that is really worth chewing over. Michael Shannon gives a jaw-dropping performance and after (very different roles) in Tree of Life and The Help Jessica Chastain yet again proves herself to be one of my favourite actresses of the year.

So, go and see it.

That's all you really need to know.

But here's the synopsis anyway:
Curtis lives in Ohio with his wife Samantha and daughter Hannah. When he begins having terrifying dreams about an encroaching apocalyptic storm, he chooses to keep the disturbance to himself, channelling his anxiety into the obsessive building of a storm shelter in their backyard. His seemingly inexplicable behaviour concerns and confounds Samantha, and provokes intolerance among co-workers, friends and neighbours. But the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within the community doesn’t compare to Curtis’ private fear of what his dreams may truly signify. Faced with the proposition that his disturbing visions signal disaster of one kind or another, Curtis confides in Samantha, testing the power of their bond against the highest possible stakes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Q&A: Burning Man

I'm delighted to say I'll be hosting a special, preview Q&A screening of Burning Man tomorrow night! I'll be chatting with writer/director Jonathan Teplitzky and Bojana Novakovic, so come along, see this striking film (well before its November 17 release date) and I'll guarantee it's a film you'll want to talk about.

Here are the details:

BURNING MAN is the reckless, sexy, funny, moving and ultimately life-affirming story of Tom, a British chef in a Bondi restaurant, who seems to have decided there are no longer any rules he needs to obey. Whatever Tom is up to, his actions seem to be tolerated by those around him.

As Tom descends into darkness, fragments of a different story begin to emerge. All the women in his world are trying in their own, very different ways to help put him back together

Date: Thursday 13th October
Time: 6.30pm intro with Q & A to follow film screening
Location: Palace Verona Cinemas
Ticket Prices: $13 members/ $18 non-members
And here's the trailer, but be warned, it hints at the film's big reveal, so you might prefer to leave it a surprise:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Movie Club: Norwegian Wood

After fighting over Higher Ground last episode, Scott, Jo and I are definitely all on the same page for this lush adaptation of Haruki Murakami's beloved Norwegian Wood.

During our chat I mention the beautiful cinematography by Ping Bin Lee and his work on one of my favourite films of all time In the Mood for Love - you can read my review for SBS films HERE.

And click below (or HERE) to watch the episode. Oh, and please ignore the state of my fringe, I seriously don't know what went wrong there.

Australian release date: 6 October 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

TheVine: Frances O'Connor (The Hunter)

Frances O’Connor is back on home soil. But apologetically jetlagged and sipping coffee in a hotel suite with a stonking view of Sydney harbor, she’s a long way from the Tasmanian ramshackle house that her character called home in The Hunter. Best known for playing the desperately conflicted mother in Steven Spielberg’s A.I (or on the small screen in that short-lived Sex and the City wannabe  Cashmere Mafia), O’Connor again confronts the limitations of motherhood in this atmospheric adaptation of Julia Leigh’s (Sleeping Beauty) debut novel.

Chaos reigns for Willem Dafoe once again, as The Hunter traverses the psychological terrain of mercenary Martin David, who is dispatched to Tasmania in order to track down the last Tasmanian Tiger (so they’re not extinct?). Billeted with O’Connor’s grief-stricken wife and mother, Lucy Armstrong, Martin starts to feel the pull of the domestic sphere against the call of the wild.

Blessed was the last film that drew you home so what lured you back this time?

I guess I loved the story. I loved the story of this solitary figure on a quest for the [Tasmanian] Tiger. I thought there was something really magical about that. And I loved Willem, I thought it was a great opportunity to work with Willem – I hadn’t worked with him before. And the character too I thought was intriguing, so I guess it was all those elements.

“Intriguing” is the word, because if you didn’t look closely you could easily dismiss Lucy as a hippy-dippy, neglectful Mum who needs to be rescued, so how did you go about adding depth to her character?

It’s interesting; they cut a whole bunch of scenes when I was on drugs, where I was up wandering the house interacting. They cut them because they thought you just knew too much about the character. But I guess a lot of those scenes really informed who she was, so that really helped me in terms of what you see in the rest of the film.

So she was wandering around like a zombie?

No you got to see her talk about her husband. She talks about missing him, but kind of through this drug haze. In some ways you get that anyway, in the scene when they play the Bruce Springsteen song. I guess…argh my jetlag has really hit me, sorry!

That’s ok! So you were able to find Lucy through the drug haze.

Yeah I guess the idea was trying to figure out who she was before. Who she was when she had her husband and her two kids.

How did you see her?

I think she was very vivacious, she was very passionate. She was a real environmentalist. She was someone who wore her heart on her sleeve a lot and was very pure and also probably very social and always invited people home, that her husband probably didn’t want there! But she was a very generous spirit.

And then you go from that to being drugged out asleep in bed!

Yeah! [Laughs]

Any tips on how to act passed out?

[Laughs] It’s something that came very naturally to me! And I got paid for it!

You just have to remember those heady days of youth.

That’s true! Sleeping in till three in the afternoon. Ohhh I remember that!

Now I’ll admit I haven’t read the book. But with projects like Mansfield Park and Madame Bovary you’re no stranger to book adaptations, how did you fare in this one?

I think the film is quite similar to the book in some ways. But any novel can really delve into what a character is thinking and explore that. So I found the book helpful in that way, in terms of inner monologue and things with the characters, and with atmosphere. Atmosphere in the book is really specific, so it was really good to get in the mood of the whole piece.

And what’s your theory on reading the book before seeing the film or visa versa?

Ahhh. It’s really hard! My little boy just saw a film then bought the book – it was some cartoon thing – and was like, “Mum, the book is really not as good as the film is it?”

That’s a first!

Yeah, because usually everyone always says the other way around. But I think that’s a snobby thing. People say, [puts on a toffy British accent] “Oh darling, the book was much better.”

It’s hard though isn’t it because books are a totally different experience from seeing a film. It’s something private and you imagine seeing the things yourself and I think if the images you’ve imagined are different from the actual film then people don’t like [the film].

So you err towards read the book first?

Argh, it’s so hard! I did actually read something before I saw it recently and I was very upset about it. But I can’t remember what it was. There’s the jetlag again! [Laughs]

Speaking of the novel, this has been quite the year for Julia Leigh with her debut book to debut directed film Sleeping Beauty…

I haven’t seen it yet! It’s actually in the hotel; so I might watch it later if I can stay awake for long enough.

I think in Cannes it got a really mixed reception. It was quite controversial. [But] I’d rather have that reaction to the film rather than the middle of the road.

I met Julia, she came on set and I think she’d just finished editing Sleeping Beauty.

And talking of sleeping, it struck me that Morgana Davis (who play’s Lucy’s irreverent daughter, Sass) was in a similar position with a catatonic, grief-stricken mother in The Tree.

We talked about that. I was talking to her Mum and they felt they were very different characters for her, which is why she decided to do it, even though there was a similar kind of dynamic between the sleeping, depressed mother.

So did Morgana have any insights for you?

She had a lot of insights about a lot of stuff, because kids do. She’s a firecracker! She’s a gorgeous, gorgeous girl. Very natural and sweet too.

And little Finn Woodlock, what a debut!

Yes, beautiful. He was good, that was his first project and he’s very young. That’s what they come with and I think why it adds such a great element to the film. They had a child acting coach working to make them feel comfortable. For someone so young it’s really hard to understand the industry, but I think they got a great performance from him.

So tell me, what do you think is with chaos reigning for Willem Dafoe?

I think he likes to do roles that are challenging and that are authentic. I think that exists less in Hollywood films, so I could understand him seeking it out in independent features.

Your character can be seen as the emotional barometer for the film, and the catalyst for Martin’s emotional awakening…

To connect to the family. I think that’s true. I think he sees three people who are in desperate need of help and no one is going to help them, apart from him. And he’s so not qualified for the job in some ways, and yet he so needs it. That’s a great thing to be able to play I think. Men do like to be solitary and to be in the quiet of nature. That’s something that’s just natural to men, but they also do have that need to connect and for family and warmth. So it’s a great element of the story.

Now I don’t want to spoil anything, but one of my favourite scenes is, let’s just say, a case of mistaken identity. It’s just devastating.

It was great fun playing that scene. I think it’s a great scene.

It’s a real turning point.

I think so too, because then I think he realises how bad the situation is for this little family. It was great, with the music playing. They played the music for us for real too, which really helped.

Tasmania itself is an obvious, confronting main character of the film. How was your experience there?

It was great being out there and being amongst it, even though our stuff mainly takes place in the house, we were living in a little country town and it did help for getting that feel of being out there. And also in our free time we got to go walking, go on mini-hikes and there’s caves. It is so beautiful.

Speaking more broadly, landscape is such a dominant theme in Australian film…

It’s interesting isn’t it because I think we’re so urban as a culture now, but [the landscape] is such a part of our history. You can’t deny that we all live on the outskirts of this massive land. I think it’s a combination of historically all our films, a lot of them deal with landscape and landscape does become a main character and it is part of our history, and of overcoming the land that we live in because it is quite a harsh landscape. But I think with a lot of the films that are coming out, we are actually becoming more urban. [The Hunter] isn’t, and yet this is kind of an international – I mean I know it’s set in Tasmania – but it has quite a universal feel to it. It’s not totally specific to Australia as a theme.

You could replace the Tassie Tiger with anything else and translate it elsewhere…

Yeah, exactly. But I do think a lot of our stories are becoming urban, like Burning Man. I liked that script!

Now for a totally frivolous question: Martin comments on Lucy changing her hair, but actually it occurred to me during the film that Willem Dafoe has the most luscious locks of hair!

It’s just natural. You don’t fight it. He’s just got great hair. What are you going to do? If you’re that lucky to possess that hair.

Yet you got the hair scene.

[Laughs] I got the hair scene! Ironic. Cruelly ironic.

And finally I guess I have to ask, did anyone spot a Tassie Tiger?

A couple of people while we were working said they thought they saw one, but I think they were just being silly. But I don’t know, so much of Tasmania is unexplored, so I think it’s entirely possible. Some areas aren’t accessible, so I think it’s possible. But it’s just something that’s mysterious and iconic in our culture so I think we like to think that it still exists.

So you didn’t spy any?

I didn’t see any personally.

Even as a hallucination?

[Laughs] I wasn’t really on drugs though! It was just acting. Unfortunately!

Published on TheVine 
The Hunter Australian release date: 6 October 2011 

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Movie Club: Higher Ground

We're shaking things up on The Movie Club this episode. You see, it turned out Scott Ellis wanted to talk about Footloose, but Jo Cohen and I were more keen to recommend Higher Ground, so we took our debate into the studio! 

Click HERE to view the episode. What do you think, did we convince Scott? Or you for that matter? My love for Vera Farmiga knows no bounds.

Australian release date: 6 October 2011
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