Category: Interviews

 

For most Australians Ross Noble needs no introduction. The talented comedian has become a staple on our television and radio. Perhaps not many people would know about Noble’s rising resume as an actor as well. I’m not talking about when he presented his own shows – but rather when his acted in horror films such as Stitches, Nails and The Circle.

Now however Noble is taking a turn away from horror and has instead lent his voice to a brand new family animation called Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree where he stars alongside Miranda Tapsell and Kate Murphy and he plays a frill-necked lizard… yes you read that right he plays a lizard.

As it turns out playing a lizard was one of the reasons why Noble decided to take up the role. “I literally got an email saying ‘do you want to play a lizard’ and I said ‘yes please,’” says Noble delivering his warm, familiar laugh down the phone line. “You can’t go wrong with playing a lizard, can you? So yeah, I then read the script and found it was one of those films where you find that it is a proper family film and it looked like a lot of fun. So I just replied to them and said ‘yeah I am in.’”

Of course playing a lizard is not an offer you get every day and here Noble gets the chance to play Yarra, a wise old sage who just happens to be a frill-necked lizard. “Well he is a lizard but he is sort of a kind of wise guy,” explains Noble. “He is the Obi-Wan, the Gandalf kind of figure in the film, but really kind of appealed to me was that he was a bit different. Normally the wise guy in a film, that is all they are, they are just wise. They are just there to be wise but what I liked about this script was the fact that Yarra is a little bit unhinged.”

That leads to both Noble and I laughing and when he continues he says. “You know he talks to his stick. It is just basically a stick with a face on it, but he talks to it. And because of that you don’t really know how reliable he is and because he is kind of old and a bit nuts. It really is a case where he isn’t just there for his wisdom, you find yourself asking ‘should we really be following him?’”

Anybody who has ever seen one of Noble’s stage shows knows just how good he is at lending his voice to any number of characters that he is impersonating but that still begs the big question of just how do you find a voice for a wise, slightly loopy frill-necked lizard?

“With the voice I wanted him to sound old and wise but because he is cracked I wanted to be able to take a left turn every now and then,” explains Noble as he gives me a bit of a taste of Yarra’s voice. “The great thing about it being animation is that you can try something else and you can try going crazy, crazy far. You can go much further than you think you could ever go and then the guys behind the glass can say ‘try that again but make it less insane’ or ‘you know what you can be more insane.’ So yeah, during that process I was just really going for and then they would look at it.”

“There was some stuff that they looked at and they were just rolling around going ‘really?’” he says laughing again. “But then once it is all put together it becomes something where you can choose the bits where you can say ‘yeah, he is properly helping this possum on the journey’ and then there are other times where you are like ‘I wouldn’t be trusting him.’”

The process though of finding Yarra’s voice was not easy though and Noble says he had to audition a few different voices for the creators of the film. “You kind of find the way you think he would sound,” he says explain the process to me. “And then you just play with it. We recorded a lot of stuff and it wasn’t quite right so we actually went back and re-recorded it. It was okay, but it just wasn’t quite right, because the thing is at the start of the film Yarra has to be sane – he is talking about the history and you know he is basically telling the story of the legend and that has to have some kind of authority to it but with what we recorded at first he was just a little bit too off the wall. We had to bring a little more authority to it and make it a little bit more steady. You do have to think about your performance but then you really just have to trust the guys that have created it.”

The guys that have created this film have certainly created something that is going to be very special for Australian audiences, so don’t be surprised if this film doesn’t become one of Australia’s next big hits.

 

Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree starring Miranda Tapsell, Ross Noble and Kate Murphy is in cinemas on 27th February.

 

When Australia does animation it always does it well. Think back to when you were a child and sat down happily to watch Blinky Bill. Now think about how the new generation enjoyed films like Happy Feet. When you really think about it it is a shame that Australia doesn’t do more animation, but that is why we should all be so excited about the brand new Australian animated film Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree which hits cinemas on the 27th February.

One of the stars of the film is Australian actress Kate Murphy who has gained experience as a voice actress on popular animated series like Shopkins and Space Chickens In Space. She says she couldn’t have been more excited about working on The Wishmas Tree.

“Well Kerry the ring-tailed possum is the lead character, but Petra, my character, is Kerry’s older sister,” says Murphy as we talk a little bit about the character that she plays in the film. “Petra is a little bit sensible, a little bit pragmatic, she likes her space and she likes not to put herself out of her comfort zone. She has an amazing journey throughout the film though and she learns so much from her younger sister.”

“I found though that I could really relate to her as a character,” says Murphy laughing as we continue to discuss Petra. “When I was reading it I kept on finding myself saying ‘oh there are some similarities between Petra and myself’. I find that something I can be a little bit safe and sensible at times. But having said that Petra can still have some fun and silly moments. When I was working with the directors in the booth I was always trying to find that fun part of her as well. So yeah, I was stoked at being able to play Petra.”

As far as characters go Petra is a very interesting character. In one way she is very much the voice of reason in the film but at the same time she is a character that can at times crack a joke. Murphy admits that it was at times hard to find that middle ground for Petra. “I was always conscious not to try and tip it too far one way,” she explains. “I remember being in the studio when we were doing it and we were always talking about it. The director and the producer would be there with me and we would always be discussing the lines and how we wanted her to come across. It was always an experiment because sometimes I would push it really far and then we would be like ‘nope that was too funny that doesn’t work for this moment’ but we were always trying to have that lightness in there even though there are dark moments. Even though she is quite sensible we did look for moments of comedy.”

One of the most interesting parts of voice acting is how the actor or actress comes up with the voice for the character they are playing but Murphy says she settled on the voice for Petra very early on. “Usually I try to hear the voice in my head,” she says after stopping to think about the process for a moment. “ I definitely play around with it, but I guess also it changes from project to project because the process can be very different”

“For Petra I guess I was kind of lucky because I got to see the director and the producer a few times prior to recording,” she says continuing. “Aside from that I would always be recording little bits and pieces on my phone and then sending it through. However, with voice over you can always be a little bit flexible and in the booth I found that we kind of found her in the first hour or so of recording. Usually though I have a bit of an idea in my head and I guess that is part of the voice artists job – they have to come ready to experiment and explore and not just come in saying ‘this is how it is’ because you do have to be prepared to change it vocally once you are in there.”

It is obvious when chatting to Murphy that she had a lot of fun playing Petra and while she was recording for Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree and she says that she hopes that audiences have just as much fun watching it. “Just go and see something that is completely Australian,” she says with an excited tone in her voice. “This is completely Australian produced, completely Australian created. Just enjoy the message and just really embrace the Australianess of it all. We have such beautiful land here and such beautiful creatures and we really need to look after them, especially now more than ever… so yeah go and enjoy it.”

 

Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree starring Miranda Tapsell, Ross Noble and Kate Murphy is in cinemas on 27th February.

 

You hear the saying ‘it was a dream come true’ used a lot about young actors and actresses. But never is it more appropriate then when you talk about young star Daisy Axon landing the lead role in the new Australian film H Is For Happiness. As Subculture found out when we sat down to talk to Axon she was a fan of the novel that the film was adapted from before she even had a chance to audition for the film.

“I knew the book a few years prior to when I knew it was going to be turned into a film,” the young star tells us. “Because my sister had the book at primary school and she lent it to me. So they ended up being quite special between us. I had read it and really loved it because I found that I related to the characters a lot. So when the email came through that said that it was being turned into a movie and that I would have the opportunity to audition for it I was pinching myself because I couldn’t believe it. I told my sister straight away.”

As we talk about what it is like winning the role of a character that you already love Axon said it didn’t make her more nervous. “I think it actually made me more confident if that makes sense,” she says. “I knew the character way more before the actual audition so it felt like her character was really clear to me, so it felt like I had really known for awhile, and that felt nice. When we actually got into filming of course I had nerves but I felt like I had Candace’s back and she had mine because she had been inside for such a long time.”

Candace of course is the character that Axon plays in the film – a character whose family have gone through a massive trauma and she is the win that feels like she can try and save her family from complete destruction. “Candace is a very unique character,” she explains. “She is full of optimism and she has a very unique view of the world compared to other people her age. She is able to see things in a very different light to her family who are under a very dark cloud. Her personality is one of the reasons that she is so headstrong and why she believes that she can fix her family. She has optimism, she is strong and she believes that she can do it. Plus she has her honesty which is a great personality trait, it does get her into trouble but it also makes the audience laugh and it is who she is so I wouldn’t change that.”

Of course the fact the film revolves around a family who are dealing with the loss of a child makes the performance for a young actress like Axon a lot harder. “I think from reading the book I had seen her traumas and her family’s grief,” explains Axon when I ask whether or not she had done any research into young people who had lost a sibling. “Naturally going onto set and seeing her room and where everything was going to be played out helped, especially the scene where Candace is asking her Mum if Douglas can come to the cemetery – when we practiced that scene it really felt like I got into her shoes and they helped me feel the grief that she was feeling.”

“I know you can play it both ways,” she says continuing. “That can be more of a light but because of the emotions that were running through me that day it made me feel like I wanted to just let loose and do what comes naturally. I think from the book and through the pre-production I was actually able to get some really interesting facts and those were things that I really did help me on set. But I think at other times I just let myself see what came naturally to Candace as a character as well.”

There is little doubt after watching H is For Happiness that Daisy Axon is going to be an actress with a huge future ahead of her. In performances here and in the amazing Judy & Punch suggest an actress that has maturity well beyond her years and the talent to make it big both in Australia and overseas.

 

H Is For Happiness opens in cinemas on February 6th.

 

The past twelve months may have been called the Year Of The Father for Australian actor Richard Roxburgh. From playing a father-like figure in Go-Kart drama Go! through to playing a father placed in a terrible predicament in Angel Of Mine. Now comes H Is For Happiness which once again sees Roxburgh play fatherly duties, this time he plays a damaged father whose family is being ripped apart by the trauma of losing a child. Meanwhile he is also in a bitter feud with his brother and it seems like the only person who wants to help the family is his very own daughter.

“I play a character called Jim Phee,” explains Roxburgh when he sits down to talk to Subculture about the film. “He is married to Emma Booth’s character and we are the parents of a twelve-year-old girl played by Daisy Axon and we have had a terrible incident in our life where one of our daughters, the younger sister to Daisy, has died. It does sound quite gloomy but it is incredibly funny and it is a beautiful big-hearted film and it is told pretty much through the eyes of Daisy’s character who is a kind of crazy optimist.”

As Roxburgh talks about the events that happen in the film we start to talk about the fact that while this is a film about a very dark period in the family’s life there is also an incredible light that shines through with the film as well. “Yeah, I think that is the point that it shows that kids kind of deal with grief, difficulty and adverseness in life in a very different way to we do,” he explains. “And I think that the film essentially brings that to life and shows this girl desperately trying to solve this puzzle of the sadness of her parents through the way that she sees the world – which is this incredibly vibrant and dynamic place which is full of larger than life characters.”

While the discussion goes on we begin to talk about the father roles that Roxburgh has played over the last twelve months and how he prepares himself to play fathers going through such traumatic experiences. “I guess it is not so much about research for a role like that,” he says after thinking about for a few seconds. “I am the father of three children myself so for a very large part of it I try to draw on my own experience and your own terrain – especially your emotional terrain as a parent and a father. You try to imagine what that would be like – having said that though there are always significantly different personalities so there is always that kind of work to do but that is the work that you do every time you do an individual new piece.”

Of course one of the major themes of H Is For Happiness is family and Roxburgh says the cast did get a little bit of time to bond to help out the younger actors as they prepared for the film. “We did get a little bit of time together,” he says. “It was a thirty day shoot so we didn’t get a lot of time but these kids were so, so great, they were such fabulous kids and they were so great to be around. I love working with kids because I just love their energy, so we had a short time to bond but I guess really it was just goofing off and having fun and making sure that they are okay with stuff.”

With some of the deep themes and emotional scenes in this film I asked Roxburgh how important it is for more experienced actors like himself to make sure that the young cast are dealing with it all. “It is always something to be reckoned with when you are working with kids,” he says after a deep breath. “You always want to them to be drawing on the thing that is really natural to them so that for them it doesn’t feel like they are acting because they are really drawing on the close version that they have of themselves, but in a really emotional scene, and in a scene that really counts you don’t really know as the director or one of the other actors that is in the scene how exactly it is going to go. But John Sheedy was a really wonderful director and he was great with the kids – he managed to really guide them through that stuff with great care.”

H Is For Happiness is one of those film that will make you laugh and it will make you cry but at the end of the day this is one of the most powerful movies you will see in 2020.

 

The relationship between the work of H.P Lovecraft and the screen has been a long lasting affair. Classic films such as Re-Animator and Call Of Cthulhu all started with Lovecraft and even in pop culture shows of today, like Riverdale, the presence of the great writer is still there for all to see.

Perhaps though no filmmaker has been more equipped and qualified to bring Lovecraft’s work to the big screen in the way that Richard Stanley is. Thanks to his mother’s love for the work of Lovecraft Stanley has lived and breathed the writer’s work for his entire life. Now Stanley has brought one of his favourite Lovecraft short stories to the big screen in the form of Colour Out Of Space starring Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson.

“I have been a massive fan of Lovecraft’s my entire life,” says Stanley as he sits down to talk to Subculture about his latest film. “I’ve been stealing ideas from his since I was a child so I figured it was important to re-pay the debt and make an official Lovecraft movie. I would love to have had his actual name on the title – like Bram Stroker’s Dracula, it probably should have been H.P. Lovecraft’s Colour Out Of Space because I did want to tilt my hat to the guy.”

“Over the years as a fan I have been very disappointed in the lack of decent adaptations that have been made,” he goes to explain. “I wish that Del Toro had done Mountains Of Madness or that James Wan had done Call Of Cthulhu so I figured that it was time that somebody did an official adaptation of one of the essential stories. Colour Out Of Space is fruit on a low hanging branch because it is all set on a single farm and is about a single family being destroyed by the ultra-dimensional threat. I figured when it came to location that was easier to produce than something set on Mars or in the depths of the Mariana Trench. We could do this on a low to medium budget which I guess is why the story presented itself.”

As we talk more about the work of Lovecraft Stanley starts to tell about the special bond that his own mother had for Lovecraft’s work. “My mother was an anthropologist and also a graphic artist in the 1960s and 1970s so she was drawing a lot of weird and trippy stuff herself,” he explains. “I think she had been an admirer of Lovecrafts since she was child herself. She started me on his more fantastic pieces of work, she used to read to me from a work called The Dream Quest Of Unknown Kadath when I was about seven years old, so there are a few of the Lovecraft stories that  are strangely enough suitable for children. That inevitable though led me onto harder things so by the time I was 13 I had evolved from the stories and was involved in the role-playing games and was fully submerged in everything around it.”

As our discussion goes on I soon start to learn that the idea of turning Colour Out Of Space into a film had been with Stanley for a long time. “I think I first thought about when I was about thirteen years old,” he says. “I think I must have read the story when I was about eleven or twelve and then when I first started to muck around with a Super 8 camera I tried to adapt the story into a script, but I abandoned it because it was obviously too complicated, but it must have come into my consciousness very early on. Partly the reason for doing it now was that it was achievable with a low budget but also because of the backwoods setting, the remote forests of Lovecraft’s fictional encounters.”

The rumours that Stanley would be making Colour Out Of Space first started back in 2013 and he admits that it has been a long road to getting the film off paper and into cinemas. “Like most things in the film business there is always a cubic centimetre of chance,” he says with a small laugh. “There is always that element of luck. I came up with the screenplay with my co-writer that I was pretty happy with and I spent a few years shopping it around. I was trying to find a production partner or cast members willing to come on board and then there was a bit of a stroke of luck that the Spectre Vision producer Josh Waller was chatting to Nic Cage on the set of Mandy, and I believe the subject of H.P. Lovecraft came up.”

“Nic is extremely well read,” he says continuing. “He is also a fan of the original material and Josh remembered that there had been a Lovecraft script floating around and he pulled out the screenplay and managed to get it into Nic’s hands. Then I believe they did a verbal deal on the back of a napkin to agree to make the movie. The first I heard about it was I got a phone call from somebody claiming to be Nic Cage from somewhere in Nevada that came through to my house in France about 2 in the morning and he was claiming that he was making my movie. I didn’t believe it and I remember waking up the next morning and thinking ‘did that really happen?’ before getting on with my life.”

“Then Josh actually came to my house in France,” he explains. “Early in the morning he started banging on my door so I fixed him a coffee and he told me to get in the car and at that point I realised that we were indeed making the movie and that we only six weeks to prepare it.”

 

Colour Out Of Space is in cinemas now.

 

Every now and then a film comes along that you just know will launch its lead actor into super-stardom. That is certainly the case when you watch Jessie Buckley in Wild Rose. The gifted Irish actress has made a name for herself in television shows like Taboo but nothing quite prepared anybody for her amazing portrayal of a young woman who has just been released from prison and wants to try and make a name for herself as a country singer in Glasgow in brand new feature film Wild Rose.

“When I first got the script I got it through Tom Harper (the director of Wild Rose) who I had worked on War & Peace with,” says Buckley. “I just love him so much so he could have told me to lay down on a railway and I probably would of. Then I read the script and I was just blown away by the humanity of it. It felt like I was reading a prison break film for all these women that were trying to escape these limitations that society had been trying to tell them that they had to be in. Like for Sophie Okonedo’s character she has been given this life as a house-wife and through Rose-Lynn she breaks out of what her purpose is, and then Rose-Lynn kind of encourages all the women to be courageous and have wants of their own because she is so tenacious in wanting something for herself, and wanting something that is beyond what everybody has told her that she is allowed. I had never seen a female character be so bold, so rusty and unchained. Her bravery and tenacity just blew me away.”

“I grew up in a very musical household,” says Buckley when the conversation turns to the musical side of the film. “My Mom is a harpist and a singer and my Dad is always playing something, or singing, or writing poetry. So it was a very musical house and we listened to everything from Irish traditional music through to blues, jazz, musicals to classical. Yeah, my ears were always open to all kinds of music.”

“I hope it resonates with as many people as possible,” says Buckley thinking really deeply about her answer. “It is… um… it is about an ordinary person doing something really extraordinary and against the odds. She is told that she is allowed to dream and I think that is something that a lot of people relate to – young girls, older girls, men and women – and you know that it is scary to want something for yourself in your life and I hope that it will reach a lot of people realise that if you want something enough and if you believe that you have a purpose to do something that it is possible and you don’t have to sacrifice yourself for that, not who you are or where you come from… it certainly tells that story.”

 

Wild Rose is in cinemas now.

 

Is there anything that Mark Wahlberg can’t do? As if the transition from musician to actor wasn’t enough he now seems to be making every genre of the film industry his as well. From saving the world in the Transformers franchise to cracking jokes with a smart-ass bear in Ted and then thrilling critics with mind-blowing dramatic performances in movies like Mile 22, there seems to be nothing this man can’t do.

Now Wahlberg plays a husband alongside Australia’s Rose Byrne who is exploring the notion of adopting to start a family in the brand new brilliant comedy-drama Instant Family and it seems to be role that he just loved sinking his teeth into.

“Sean Anders who I worked with on Daddy’s Home 1 & 2 was brave enough to bring three children into his home,” says Wahlberg when he talks about what the inspiration was for the film. “They were children that were in foster care and he talked to me a little bit about the idea of making this movie at the beginning of Daddy’s Home 2 but it was just an idea and we had talked about other ideas in the past. Then basically when he came to me and said ‘no did you really want to do this?’ I just fell in love with idea.”

“Every time I talked to him about the idea before I got the actual script I always got emotional,” he says when the discussion turns to the emotions in the film. “I’m parent I understood the emotion and I understood how emotional it would be for foster kids in the system. Then when I read the script and having laughed hysterically and cried a fair bit to it was just one of things where I saw that Sean was great with the tone and he pushed things but also delivered on an emotional level. Sean knows what he wants and he will always take that little bit of extra time when it comes to the emotional stuff. It is just nice to see him to continue to mature and grow, he is a great writer and director and he has a great partnership with John . It is just great to see people get more experience and more confident about how they want to do things.”

When talk turns to the fact that the film garners emotion by being both a comedy and a drama Wahlberg says. “I think that will be really satisfying for audiences and I think that people may be inspired to look at children in the foster care system and creating a home for them. I still want to explore more about and I think it will encourage other people to take a look and see that there a lot of wonderful children that need families…. it is an amazing thing. Being a family can be a wonderful thing but it can also be very trying at times – that is the same whether it be with adopting children or with your biological children.  But the ultimate goal and the ultimate reward is coming together in love… and that is a beautiful thing. I think this is going to be a feel good movie in a time when people need to feel good. People need to be reminded about the importance of family and connecting with others. To have that opportunity to go and laugh and cry at the thought of being a family and then have the thought about helping all those wonderful children out there… I think it will be interesting. There will be a lot of people who will laugh and cry and then be like ‘oh my God’ and then the wheels will start turning.”

 

Instant Family opens in cinemas today.

 

 

Forget Game Of Thrones and forget The Walking Dead brand new film Mary Queen Of Scots is going to show that the battle for supremacy in our own real world history is more intriguing than anything that Hollywood could ever dream up.

The film chronicles the struggles that both Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) and Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) had against the threat to each and also the threats and obstacles that presented themselves amongst their own Kingdoms. Both are strong women from our past and both are brought to life brilliantly well by the talented Roan and Robbie.

For Robbie this was a chance to do something a little different seeing she will be playing in Harley Quinn in three new DC films slated for the next few years and she says that the idea of playing Queen Elizabeth captivated her from the start.

“The script was amazing,” she says. “As soon as I read it I knew that it was going to be something special. The idea of Saoirse playing Mary and Josie directing there was definitely a sense of girl-power around this project and there were already so many other women on board that I admired. It was not a character that I immediately gravitated towards, Elizabeth herself, the movie and the idea was very enticing and I really wanted to work with Saoirse. I had met her personally and loved her the moment that I had met her and I have been watching her work for years and I think she is incredible and then the moment you talk to Josie you see that she is so smart, she had such a relatable perspective on this story and I wanted to be part of it. I guess the short answer is I just didn’t feel worthy of being Elizabeth and that is why I originally passed on the movie. I said this is going to be an incredible movie but I am not the right actress, you should get somebody else to play Queen Elizabeth… somebody else will be a way better. But Josie was relentless and  she said ‘I want it to be you’ and I said ‘why? Why me? I can think of ten other actresses who could play this a lot better than me.’ That was when she said “I don’t want you to play a Queen I want you to play a woman.” And I was like “Yeah I can do that, I can definitely do that.”

Going away and doing some research also changed Robbie’s perspective on Elizabeth as a character. “Then I felt empathy for her,” she explains. “I really felt for her, to me she had a really tragic life, before that my image of her had been grand halls and servants, I guess I assumed that Elizabeth had had a really easy life, a very cushioned and luxurious life when in reality it was anything but.”

She says that history has also changed how people viewed the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. “I think history has painted them as two rivals, one big cat-fight,” she says carefully. “But I think they both yearned, certainly I believe Elizabeth yearned, for that shared experience, that bond – that relationship and there was just constantly men in the way conspiring to keep them apart and pt them against each other. Their relationship was extremely complicated because on what hand that yearned to find that bond and almost feel comforted by the fact that somebody understands the position you are in, that had a very special sisterhood and there are many letters that showed how intimate they really were, but at the same time the mere existence of one threatened the existence of the other so there was constantly male advisors in their ears, conspiring against them and warning them. I enjoyed finding that inner conflict inside Elizabeth that really wanted Mary to succeed, because that would show that you really could rule with your heart and it would work.”

 

Mary Queen Of Scots opens in Australia on the 17th January.