Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Screenings Anounced


Melbourne: Astor Theatre, St Kilda, December 27

Sydney: Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, December 28

Monday, October 10, 2011

It’s a wrap. Where's Post?

Photo: Jess Husband
Left: Cat, Gary, Paige, Bridget, Pete, Jarrah, Helen, Garnet, Hayley
by Carissa Pritchard

Six weeks ago I sat in the Kirribili pub with Producer, Peter Furst and a certain amount of skepticism. Yet having watched him prove his statement, “It’s easier to make a movie for nothing than with a budget,” I too want to put his theory to the test.  I compose an email to cupcake shop My Little Cupcake in Neutral Bay. I explain the project and ask if they’d like to provide catering for the wrap party. The minute I hit send, I second-guess; “There’s no way they’re going to do it. Isn’t is rude to ask people to do something for nothing?

For the final day of the shoot, Garnet tempted fate by shaving his “Play-off” beard – a tradition started when Hockey players stopped shaving once their team entered the playoffs. The superstition has been copied by everyone from Bjorn Borg, the New York Nicks, Sheffield United, NASCAR drivers, most recently, Reservoir Cats Director, Garnet Mae.

Shooting on a Sydney street, a black cat wanders across the set, but Garnet’s magic holds and "That’s a wrap!” is declared three hours early. But the three-week shoot was only one small step; the giant leap will be finding a location to edit for the next three months.

When I get home, I check my inbox – eyes falling immediately to the My Little Cupcake response, “We’d love to help you. You can pick up fifty this afternoon.” In a modern capitalist society there’s something incredibly inspiring about such generosity.

As I enter the Wrap party at Club 77 in Darlinghurst, I spot Garnet in the corner having a drink. Is he enjoying it considering post-production is unresolved?
“I’m not going to think about that now,” he says.
Good idea, its time to celebrate.

Amidst the free flowing champagne (that was actually free), I catch up with Gary Russell, Director of Photography, for a debrief.
Would you do it again?
“No way.”
Why not?
“Because there was only Matt and I in the entire camera department which meant we had to lug all that stuff around, pack it up, move it, unpack it, clean it, pack it up and bring it back every single day. There’s more help in student productions! I’m way too far along in my career to have to do that. If it wasn’t for the fact those girls were counting on me to turn up every day… But they kept turning up, giving 100%, so did Garnet so… so did I.”
What’s next?
“I’m off to shoot Reality Tele in Bollywood.”

What’s next for actress Hayley Beveridge?
“Back to working in a bar.” She giggles. “When I tell people I’m an actress they say, ‘Really? What bar do you work at?’” She laughs.

Actress Bridget Power says she’d love to work with everyone again and starts talking about the next project she’s planning. Unfortunately, the band stars playing and I have to practically rub cheeks with her to hear anything. Faced with an extreme close up of such incredible bone structure, it’s hard to focus on what she’s saying. I hope I’m not “objectifying” her. When does a compliment become objectification? (C’mon, I still have to make some kind of political statement :)

Peter Furst takes the stage with Garnet, beckons Gary and presents him with a big, gold trophy –  “The Cup of Awesomeness.”
The cast joins Gary on stage and cheer wildly.
Gary thanks everyone, especially Garnet, whom he says working with, “Was like a brother and sister collaboration – Garnet being the sister.”

Garnet takes the mic, starts singing, Trying to stay relevant and turns the club back into a party. It’s time for the cupcakes.
As I offer them around, someone asks, “Did you bake these?”
“No”, I say, “I did a Peter Furst.”

Does anyone have a 15 square meter room, centrally located, available for the three months? Please contact Peter Furst.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

When Hayley met Eddie

Photo: Jess Husband
Hayley Beveridge as Edwina

by Carissa Pritchard

Hayley Beveridge is cast as Edwina, based on “Eddie” – originally played by Chris Penn. As she hurls abuse at the other characters she seems rough, tough and a little bit scary. On the lunch break I sit down with her and in less than a minute we’re giggling like a couple of schoolgirls.

She’s nothing like “Edwina”, she confirms, “It’s really fun doing a gender reversal, its not often that I get cast in a role like this, even when I auditioned they told me to be less smiley.” Then she giggles.
Since we’re talking gender roles, I wonder if playing the “tough guy” is an act for most men too?

When Harry Met Sally suggests men are only interested in sex, lack any desire for emotional connection thus can’t be friends with women. Yet my best friend is male and in more than a decade of friendship he has never tried to sleep with me.  Last week he told me his brother had separated from his wife and was flying in to stay for the week.
I caught up with him yesterday and asked about his brother.
“He’s really good actually”, he said. “I’m exhausted though. We’ve been up talking until two in the morning each night and I’ve still had to work all week.”
 “I mean, how’s he feeling about the break-up?”
“I don’t know. We didn’t talk about it.”
“What?!” I ask.
“I know what you’re going to say, but guys are different. I figure if he wanted to talk about it he would’ve raised it. If not, there’s plenty of other things to discuss.”

Hayley offers her view on why men and women differ emotionally.
“Look what happens when a girl falls over. The mother rushes over and cuddles her. If a boy does, she stands him up and says, ‘you’ll be right.’”
More than a theory, this example has been proven by hundreds of research studies into parental reinforcement of gender roles.

“Aren’t men just less emotional than women?” I ask Matt, Camera Assistant.
“No. But if you talk about your emotions you’re not seen as the ‘alpha’ male. You’re showing weakness and vulnerability, which means you’re an easy target for ridicule from the rest of the guys.”

I decide to ask my Best Male Friend (so common now it has it’s own acronym – BMF), “Why haven’t you tried sleeping with me?”
“I know we’d never work in a relationship – we’re just too different. So if we slept together I’d just end up losing my best friend.”
Is he suggesting an emotional connection is more valuable than casual sex?

He’s not alone. Gary Neuman, marriage counselor and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Truth About Cheating revealed on Oprah that 92% of the men he interviewed cheated because of an emotional disconnection, not primarily a sexual one. Neuman says, "Men are very emotional beings. They just don't look like that. Or they don't seem like that. Or they don't tell you that."

Even more surprising was the reaction of female viewers. Oprah received thousands of scathing replies - not about men cheating, rather the suggestion they were looking for an emotional connection. Why are women so confronted by men being more than “tough guys” after casual sex? Perhaps gender roles are just as oppressive for men as they are for women.

Photo: Jess Husband

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Is that a Playoff beard?

Photo: Jess Husband
Movie Magic

By Carissa Pritchard

Last week, as we approached the half way mark, I asked Garnet how things were going.
“Surprisingly well actually. I always worry when things go well.”
To ease his worries, red wine was spilt on the laptop containing the shoot schedules. For a while the daily call sheet was replaced with, “See you all back here again tomorrow.”
Today I notice Garnet’s stubble is turning into a beard and wonder whether it’s a “Playoff beard”. A tradition started when Hockey players stopped shaving once their team entered the playoffs. Its since been followed by everyone from Bjorn Borg, the New York Nicks, Sheffield United, NASCAR drivers and possibly now, Reservoir Cats Director, Garnet Mae.

Further complications arise. Rain delayed the scene with Blonde in her car and the black Audi being borrowed wasn’t available the next day. Unable to complete the warehouse scenes, Garnet had to ask the owner for extra days.
“What are you going to do for me?” He asked.
Garnet replied, “Fix your roof and clean out the rubbish.’”
I assume the final call sheet will now include a working bee.

Back to the car problem, Garnet explains:
“My neighbours drive a BMW, she’s really nice, but her boyfriend looks like Viggo Mortinson in ‘Eastern Promises’ (big Russian Gangster). I decide to ask them anyway. 
I knock on the door and he opens it: ‘Vwat do you vont?’
His girlfriend appears beside him and I explain the situation.
She say’s, ‘Normally I’d love to help you Garnet, but I’m trading it in next week and I don’t want to risk any damage.’
Photo: Jess Husband
Garnet and the Beard
The next day I’m in the laundry and the Russian appears. He just walked out of the ocean – looks like Daniel Craig in James Bond.
‘Garnet’, he growls, ‘In Russia we have saying; my pipe, my horse, my voman – you not borrow.’
We ended up using Paige’s 121 and it was hardly even in shot, so it didn’t matter anyway.”

I ask him the obvious question, “Don’t you find this kind of ad hoc movie making stressful?”
“To tell you the truth, I haven’t done it any other way. Of course I’d love to make a movie with a budget, where everything’s planned, I don’t know if I ever will.”
“Is there any good news?” I ask.
“Today’s shoot was scheduled for three days, but we’ll finish in one, which means we’re still on track for the wrap party on Friday night.”

I ask him if he’s sporting a ‘Playoff Beard’.
 “Oh, no, I just haven’t had time to shave – the longer it gets, the longer it takes to shave.”
Perhaps he should avoid cutting it until Saturday.

Join the Wrap Party:
Club 77
77 William Street, Darlinghurst.
From 9pm
$10 entry (free to VIP pass holders)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Never judge a cover by a book.

Photo: Jess Husband
Jarrah as Blonde

By Carissa Pritchard

The question regarding Jarrah’s impending scene as “Blonde”, is not whether she can do violence, but how she’ll play “sexy”.

Violence is a natural human instinct – whether you’re male or female. This was proven this morning when my daughter bit me on the arm to try and stop me from putting her jumper on. 

Anyone with kids knows how much socialisation goes into overriding human instinct. As for sexuality, society has two stereotypes for that:
  1. Feminine – bubbly air head: a “Beauty” from Beauty and the Geek or
  2. Masculine – cold and emotionless: Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct.

Jarrah is the friendliest person on set and her conversations always reveal a greater depth than even her first impressive insight into Blonde’s sexiness. But what I find more notable is her genuine warmth. Today she ensures everyone has a share of the free lunch rations before she eats. Not her job to care, but she does anyway. So how will Jarrah do sexy?

Over lunch, Matt, camera assistant and chief clapper, offers his opinion on women being sexy, “When I tell women I know, that I don’t find the women on Beauty and the Geek sexy, they don’t believe me. But I have absolutely no interest in a woman who reduces herself. When they act like they don’t know where Germany is on a map, I don’t think it’s because they’re stupid. They just believe that’s what men want. To me, a woman who’s interesting and intelligent, that’s sexy.”

Yes, it would be hard to have a conversation with a woman like the “Beauty” who said, “My mother always told me never judge a cover by a book”, but we’re not talking about being intelligent, we’re talking about being sexy. Doesn’t society separate the two? “Beauty” and “the Geek”. Is it the same for men?
                                                                                Photo: Jess Husband
Matt: camera guy & good guy

“Oh yeah”, says Matt, “if you don’t want to talk about how much you lift and who you had sex with last night, there’s nothing to say in a group of guys. I’m not interested in ending up with no neck (he performs quite a good Arnie impression), so I don’t fit in.”

Finally it’s time. Edwina, White and Pink exit the warehouse, leaving Blonde and the cop alone. Blonde flicks her cigarette away, slips off her jacket and drops it on the table. She turns to the cop and purrs, “Alone at last”, smiles cheekily and strides towards her.

Wow! Sexy? Yes.

Not as dumb and beautiful or cold and masculine. Rather, deliciously naughty, fun, and confident. Jarrah proves a sexy woman doesn’t have to fit a social stereotype, or in other words, never judge a cover by a book. 

Photo: Jess Husband
Blonde and the Cop (Belinda)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sex, Violence and Catering

Photo: Jess Husband

Jarrah Sexton is "Blonde"
By Carissa Pritchard

Jarrah Sexton, a striking red head, plays “Blonde”. She won’t simply be replaying the notorious “cutting off the cop’s ear” scene – it’s been amped up for the Reservoir Cats version...

I ask Jarrah, “What’s your approach to playing Blonde?”
“I always thought it would’ve been good if Tarantino picked a female to play that role – I always saw that character as very sexy. The dynamics of so much male testosterone, to have a really sexy female dominating the other males, would have been a nice a counter balance.”

Sexy? All I remember is extreme violence. Intrigued by her take on it, I revisit the original. As Michael Madsen moves about the warehouse, I find myself thinking, gosh this guy is sexy… then he cuts the cop’s ear off.  Yes, I knew it was coming, but I’m still shocked – not from what he’s done, but from what I have: I can’t believe I felt that! What does that say about me?  Jarrah was right, the impact of the scene comes from flipping sex to violence in the blink of an ear.

The warehouse, a last minute find, adds an unexpected visual element to the film. The low roof bears down on the scene, like the police outside and the walls contain an assortment of coloured graffiti, like the array of contrasting characters inside. Unfortunately, the external tin roof does not help – when it’s pouring with rain, it’s deafening inside. As we wait out the latest bout, I chat to Orsi Parkanyi, Production Manager and onset masseuse (when Helen hobbles up from hours on the warehouse floor, it’s Orsi who gets her walking again). Originally from Hungary, she’s been in Australia for six years and whilst she has four degrees in everything else, her passion is film. It was her apartment that was used for Orange: “I was shocked at the huge amount of equipment – they took over my place in Maroubra in a minute.”
Photo: Jess Husband

Orsi Parkanyi, PM

But what she found even more shocking, was Producer, Peter Furst’s approach to catering. “Walking into a cafĂ© and asking for free food is not something you would ever do for yourself.”
“How do you do it?” I ask.
“We explain that we’re involved in this project, we’re all volunteering, a bit about the cause, and ask if they’d like to help out with free coffee and food. Almost everyone’s supportive, which is very Australian, I think. They all say, ‘that’s great, good luck.’”

Due to a day of rain, Jarrah’s scenes have been rescheduled until tomorrow. What is the Reservoir Cats version of the ear-cutting scene? That's been classified by the Director. You'll have to see it for yourself.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Slipping into the scene.

Photo: Jess Husband
Paige Gardiner as "Pink"

By Carissa Pritchard

When I first interviewed Paige Gardiner, playing “Pink”, she said, working with Director, Garnet Mae, was easy. “He has a pretty clear idea of what he wants and to a certain extent, he trusts us.” The project was great because, “It’s rare, for an actress to play such great roles.” Most male actors I’ve told about Reservoir Cats have said, ‘Really? Girls can’t pull that off.’”

Paige (Pink) and Amanda (White) are shooting the scene revealing the heist was a set-up. After nailing numerous takes, Garnet is now free to try something different, he confers with Paige. Today's crew - Production Manager, Orsi and Head of Make-up, Laura, sit behind Garnet, flipping through celebrity magazines.

Pink and White take their places.

Have a cigarette.

I quit.


Why? Have you got one?

Cut! Turn before you say the line. Again. Action.

Have a cigarette.

I quit.


Why? Have you got one?

Cut. Turn the other way. Still rolling and Action.

Have a cigarette.

I quit.


Why? Have you got one?

Cut. Look over here when you say the line. Go again.

Have a cigarette.

I quit.


Why? Have you got one?

Cut! Again, without giggling this time.


This is called “taking direction.” It’s an important scene, it’s where your character arcs, you need to get it right.

Orsi looks up from her magazine.

(To Laura)
I didn’t realise how hot Beyonce’s Mum is.

Yeah, she’s totally hot. Did you read that article about Nicholas Cage being a vampire?

When Garnet calls a wrap on the scene, DOP, Gary Russell, calls a cigarette break. Paige sits down on a crate and looks over her script.
I ask, “How’d you find that?”
“Frustrating”, Paige replies.
“Does the angst help?”
“Yes,” she laughs. “In that scene it helped. It was just a misunderstanding.  I always pride myself on taking direction. I wasn’t clear about what Garnet wanted.”
If you were expecting Paige to lambast the director, then you might have interpreted her polite response as “being professional”. But to me, it shows, not only is she an incredibly gifted actress, she’s not insecure either. What a combination, one that Garnet obviously recognises, evident by the fact she’s the first actress I’ve seen him joke around with.

I ask her, “How are you finding your character?”
“It’s a bit of a stretch for me, this character, being the bad ass I don’t want to turn it into a stereotype; I’m not playing ‘the dark side’. The character’s very intelligent, not as cool as a gangster would be. But still, when I was running down the street shooting, I was thinking, ‘I hope this is coming off’.”

The next scene, is described by Garnet as, “A tough one – there’s five pages of dialogue and smoking. Please don’t look like you’re smoking. Action.”
When Garnet calls “cut”, I realise I had slipped into the scene. Rather than watching the making of a movie that’s remaking a movie, I was watching a thief on the run, fighting for survival, trying to save herself. Paige Gardiner stands out. To say she’s going to be a big star one day would be a clichĂ©, and like any great actress she avoids them in her work. To say the least, Paige proves women can play bad asses. As for Nicholas Cage, that hasn’t been proven.