Red Carpet interviews by Joelene Pynnonen for MDPWeb and The Spotlight Report

Jupiters Casino was buzzing with energy last night as the stars took to the Red Carpet for the Gold Coast premiere of P.J. Hogan’s new film Mental.

The venue was busier than expected with fans lining up to see stars, Anthony LaPaglia, Rebecca Gibney and Lily Sullivan. Plenty of local celebrities attended the event, among them, Surfer’s Paradise band, Nine Sons of Dan and rockers Mental as Anything. Chai Romruen from the upcoming Secret of Mako Island was there for his first Red Carpet experience, along with co-star Ivy Latimer.

By the time the Mental cast arrived, fans had been gathered for close to an hour. They were not disappointed. Surrounded by the chatter of the crowd and flashing lights, the stars were relaxed and affable. They signed autographs, gave interviews and posed for photos, smiling throughout.

Though the event was running a little behind, we managed to ask P.J. Hogan, Rebecca Gibney and Lily Sullivan a few questions about the film and what it meant to them.

Director, P.J. Hogan, was warm and approachable when discussing his passion for Australian cinema.

Spotlight Report: Obviously this story’s is really getting back to the Australian culture and the Australian way of life. Why is that important to you?

 P.J. Hogan: Well, why isn’t it important to you? I mean, we’re Australian. I want to see Australian stories on screen. Especially comedy. I love Australian comedies, particularly if they’re irreverent and truthful. Well, which I hope this film is.

 SR: You also have a tendency to involve incredibly strong female characters. Where does your inspiration for them come from?

 P.J. Hogan: Well, I grew up with sisters. A lot of them.

 SR: Older ones?

P.J. Hogan: No, I was the oldest, so I got to boss them around. You know, up to a point. Once any girl reaches seven you really are their slave. But what can I say; women really are a big part of my life.

Packed to the Rafters star, Rebecca Gibney was all smiles as she arrived. She has a gracious manner that immediately sets those around her at ease. We talked with her about the challenges she faced acting the part of the Moochmore matriarch.

SR: You’ve said before that this was one of your most challenging roles, in what way was that?

Rebecca Gibney: It really made me go to places that I haven’t been to before. I’m playing a depressed mother of five so I have to so I had to go to some dark places. It was challenging, but wonderful.

SR. So was it that there was too much comfort in that or was it completely out of your comfort zone?

Rebecca Gibney: It was out of my comfort zone in the fact that P.J. Hogan is basically very specific to…Even if you think that you might have got it he’ll say, ‘no, do it again, do it again, do it again’. He’ll make you do it a thousand different ways and, end of the day, it’s the most fulfilling job.

Newcomer, Lily Sullivan, was very open and natural, joking and laughing with the media as she admitted that she was still new to all of this. Recounting her experience with the film, she was pensive without losing the humour that seemed to be a part of her.

SR. Was it daunting having so many big actors around you?

Lily Sullivan: Incredibly intimidating. Yeah, but amazing. What opportunities to have so many incredible talents.

SR. So not something you would do differently if you had it to do over again?

Lily Sullivan: Well, I think to think how I started and how I ended…I think I learnt so much over the process. I had basically four mentors; P.J., Rebecca, Toni and then Anthony. It was absolutely incredible.

SR. It’s a really whacky movie so what was your favourite scene in filming?

Lily Sullivan: Ooh. This one’s always really hard. Probably I would say the eating scenes because we got to eat solidly for about three hours, and it was a roast. I’m a massive fan of roast.

The cast went on to sign autographs and pose for pictures before attending a screening of the film.

PRIEST (the movie) press release from Sony:

Australians crave an escape from tough economic times – to the land of supernatural Australians seek break from reality to world of vampires and the supernatural Priest is available on Blu-ray and DVD from 23rd December 2011.

Australians are increasingly seeking an escape from economic uncertainty through the consumption of supernatural films, TV shows and novels. Ahead of the launch of Priest on Blu-ray and DVD this week, supernatural expert Marianne de Pierres has examined Australia’s vampire obsession.
Marianne de Pierres, one of Australia’s most high profile science fiction writers, states “It’s clear that Australians are seeking an escape from their daily lives, which at present are dominated by global economic uncertainty and political dissatisfaction. We are seeing an increasing preoccupation with the supernatural, with the last half of the year showing the highest rated viewing figures for filmsband TV shows such as The Vampire Diaries, Twilight, Being Human and True Blood’.

“This obsession with the supernatural can be attributed to a need and a desire to escape from daily life and into a world of power, death and the unfamiliar. As shown in the film Priest, the post apocalyptic world is dark and frightening; a place without joy and normality, providing us with the reassurance that even in a time of economic uncertainty, our life is not as bleak as the life lived by characters such as Priest.“By its very nature, despite its dark imagery, post apocalyptic literature and film provide us with an uplifting experience. When emerging from the ruins of society and fighting for the survival of loved ones, post-apocalyptic tales remind us how important fighting for survival is.

Marianne’s examination of the Australian obsession with the supernatural comes as the postapocalyptic thriller Priest is released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 23rd. Priest, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, is set in an alternate world – one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The film depicts the tale of Priest (Paul Bettany) who disobeys church law to track down the vampires who have kidnapped his niece, with the help of Priestess (Maggie Q).

The supernatural thriller Priest will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from all major retailers across Australia from 23 December 2011.


‘Well I’ve never played a moon Nazi before.’  Julia Dietze – Iron Sky

The Iron Sky movie has been in my peripheral vision for a while. I’ve seen it mentioned in interweb dispatches, and the producers and publicist were present at Supanova last year. However, the opportunity to go to the press day at Village Roadshow on the Gold Coast brought the whole project into sharp focus for me.

The conception and gestation of this Finnish-German-Australian movie collaboration can be read about here. The key word to understanding it  though is ‘crowdsourcing’. In a donger at the back of the Roadshow allotment, producers Mark and Cathy Overett and Tero Kaukomaa, and Jarmo Puskala, told us anecdotes about how the already solid fan base are providing them with film extras, materials for filming, information on location, and the big one, MONEY. I million Euros of the 6.8 million Euros budget will be fan funded, and it seems the fans are reveling in their participation. At last count their Facebook membership was 33,000 and YouTube followers numbered 60,000. Iron Sky is surfing high on a wave of fan participation. And to that I say, hooray!

To complete the New Media approach, this project runs monthly real time documentaries where they visit the different departments (art, costume etc) and the crew publishes shorter video diaries on a daily basis. Iron Sky will have three prequel comics and a graphic novel of the Iron Sky story created by Gerry Kissell (A Team comic adaption). Then there’ll be the TV novelisation (wish they’d asked me to write it!), and there’s a video game under development for PC. Finally, there’ll be mobile platform content floating around.  (Oh, and in my press kit I scored a rather cool mouse pad!)

Setting aside all the promo and marketing, what was it like? My impression was of a bunch of professionals really enjoying what they were doing. There was an evident camaraderie between the Finnish and Australian contingent and the project appears to be founded on belief and fun. From the look of the trailer (and the amazing steampunk props I caught glimpses of), the production values are punching way above their budget weight. This is a good looking movie in so many ways.

Julia Dietze, one of the lead actors, sparkled her way through question time in the very unglamorous Roadshow tearoom. When asked by someone if she’d been in any other SF films, she answered smartly with, ‘Well I’ve never played a moon Nazi before.’

A trip onto set while they were filming revealed a giant green screen, a bunch of grey-garbed Nazi extras, and what a fabulous evil Fuhrer Udo Kier makes.  Details of the film are under close wraps but they complete filming soon and head into an extended period of post production (12 months) due to the amount of CGI. It’s been a long wait period for the fans, and it’s not over yet. But after my Iron Sky day, I’d lay my money on it being worth it.

This article is also published at (Cool) Shite on the Tube with thanks to Bruce Moyle.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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