Friday, 26 March 2010

[321] Warwick Thornton Interview

Sometimes, interviews just work. Warwick Thornton was jet-lagged, and the Barbican isn't the best venue for recording, but I thought the conversation flowed well. Samson & Delilah is an interesting film, and there is a lot to discuss about it. I had to cut out 2/3s of the transcript, so I might post up those snippets at a later date.

'They're teenagers who are in love... they're neglected and they're homeless' - As his award winning feature-length debut Samson & Delilah opens the London Australian Film Festival, writer-director Warwick Thornton speaks to Mike Leader about documentary realism, non-professional casting, and communicating the contemporary aboriginal experience.

In the production notes for the film, you said that this was a story about the Aboriginal experience that you needed to tell. However, the film doesn't try to shock the viewer with moments of violence or exploitation.

They're kinda accepted. This is a pretty tragic film, it's pretty dark, and there are a lot of issues in it that I wanted to get off my chest. Other filmmakers would create cause and effect, and that would be the turning point of the film, the third act, and it would be bigger than Ben Hur. But it's not like that. Life's not like that. You walk away, dust yourself off, and you keep moving. I wanted the characters to be strong about it.

The approach to the script, and the film's style, is quite minimal, with the characters - and Samson in particular - having hardly any dialogue at all. You need sympathetic, strong actors to communicate those characters - what was it like working with the young actors, Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson?

You need good characters. There's a lot of actors who can't act, but they're good at choosing characters, and choosing scripts. And that's how they get through. I was very fortunate to find those two kids, because they could act. It was the first time that they'd been in films, but they were both 13, and both of them had 13 years of almost rehearsal for the roles, growing up in these communities.

Read the full article here.

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