Tagged: Miranda Tapsell

 

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.

Summary:It s 1968, and four young, talented Australian aboriginal girls learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group the sapphires entertain the us troops in Vietnam.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 9th August, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: 7th December, 2012

Country: Australia

Director: Wayne Blair

Screenwriter: Tony Briggs, Keith Thompson

Cast: Merelyn Adamson (Major Wicks), Tammy Anderson (Evelyn), Don Battee (Myron Ritchie), Kylie Belling (Geraldine), Nioka Brennan (Young Kay), Carlin Briggs (Young Jimmy), Eko Darville (Hendo), Martin Farrugia (Max), Gregory J. Fryer (Selwyn), Georgina Haig (Glynnis), Annette Hodgson (Noelene), Tory Kittles (Robby), Tanika Lonesborough (Young Gail), Judith Lucy (Merle), Miah Madden (Young Julie), Deborah Mailman (Gail), Jessica Mauboy (Julie), Wayne McDaniel (Lou McGarrick), Amy Miller-Porter (Vera), Ava Jean Miller-Porter (Young Cynthia), Rhys Muldoon (Uncle Ed), Koby Murray (Baby Hartley), Lynette Narkle (Nanny Theresa), Chris O’Dowd (Dave), Hunter Page-Lochard (Steve Kayne), T.J. Power (Lt. Jenson), Ben Rodgers (Fish), Jake Ryan (Cochese), Jasper Sarkodee (Pinky), Shari Sebbens (Kay), Miranda Tapsell (Cynthia), Tom Whitechurch (Young Tommy), Cleave Williams (Duggie), Meyne Wyatt (Jimmy Middleton)

Runtime: 103 mins

Classification:PG

Dave Griffiths’s ‘The Sapphires’ Review:

Red Dog started the ball rolling now it seems that other filmmakers have realised that not all Australian films have to be about dark, depressing topics. Certainly director, Wayne Blair (TV’S Lockie Leonard & Redfern Now) has realised that as his feature film directional debut, The Sapphires is an uplifting tale that is guaranteed to please any audience.

Based on real events The Sapphires is about three Aboriginal sisters, Gail (Deborah Mailman – Mabo, TV’S Offspring), Julie (Jessica Mauboy – Bran Nue Dae, TV’S Underbelly) and Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell – Mabo, TV’S Magical Tales) who dream about escaping the Aboriginal mission they call home and making it big as singers.

The dream seems fair fetched as they live in a racist outback town but when failed musician Dave (Chris O’Dowd – Friends With Kids, Bridesmaids) he decides to manage them, patch up differences with their cousin, Kay (Shari Sebbens – Violet) and then help them win a competition that will see them perform for the troops in Vietnam.

Thanks to a brilliant screenplay The Sapphires is able to provide the audience with a variety of comedy, drama and music. The film does go into some pretty deep subjects such as racism and tribal acceptance yet never once do you feel that the message is completely in your face.

With The Sapphires Wayne Blair also announces himself as one of Australia’s most promising directors. Together with cinematographer Warwick Thornton (who directed the brilliant Samson & Delilah) he makes this film look stunning on the big screen. Credit must be paid to both of them for making the Vietnam war scenes look so realistic despite a small budget.

The film does have some flaws, at times the story and some of the acting verge on being weak, but this is largely overshadowed by an amazing soundtrack and some brilliant performances by the films leads. Deborah Mailman again shows why she is one of Australia’s finest actors while Chris O’Dowd mixes comedy and drama together brilliantly in what is the best performance of his career so far. They are also well supported by Jessica Mauboy who is beginning to show that she is a talented actress as well as an amazing singer.

The Sapphires is an amazing film that works on all levels. The fact that it mixes music, drama and comedy together so well makes it an absolute gem.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Sapphires’: http://www.helium.com/items/2358683-movie-reviews-the-sapphires-2012

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

IMDB Rating:The Sapphires (2012) on IMDb