Tag - Australia

Isabel Lucas: Gender & Love Complexities in Adventure

Isabel Lucas stars in the recent film In Like Flynn. The film shows you the high lengths a man named Errol Flynn that went on to explore what life has to offer. Lucas talks about her character’s connection, family and more.

ATM: What can you assess about Errol’s perspective of adventure?

IL: Imagine someone putting all his coins in one basket to buy a boat and go to a journey to somewhere he has never been before. I am not sure. What is an adventure? It is all so relative to each person. He went on these big random escapades. In the film, we follow him through the earlier years of his life. I did not know this myself that before he became an actor Errol Flynn had gone on all these adventures. This is what made him the charismatic man he was and is.

ATM: What is an adventure for you?

IL: Good question. Maybe it’s easier for me to consider what an adventurer is. An adventurer is not afraid of taking risks, someone who wants to get closer to the juice of life, be passionate about their life and doing things that are not safe or easy but makes them feel alive. – What about you? What do you think is an adventure?

ATM: An adventure is not necessarily dangerous, but it is that internal moment when you take a risk and you are able to overcome this risk and feel happy.

IL: Yes, this makes sense.

ATM: Do you think your character Rose had a chance to dabble into adventure like the men?

IL: That was such a different time then. These days, women can do this more easily, they are liberated. They can make choices that feel freeing for them. I don’t think women were able to do this in the same way as men were during Errol Flynn’s time. Maybe they were dabbling in adventure as you say, but they’d certainly have to face a backlash. Rose was attracted to someone who was an extreme daredevil. She was incredibly brave to go on her own adventure looking for him, traveling from coast to coast. She shared this with him in the scenes. You know, maybe when we fall in love, we become an adventurer in a more internal sense. We go out on a limb. We are going to places where we have not been before. We make these irrational decisions, but they feel right. They are bold decisions, but they are from a place of love, passion, and wanting to live on the edge. Maybe in this way – more internally – she was very adventurous.

ATM: So, women are more of an adventure internally and with their emotions. They are adventurous with love and it shows with the words they say. Also, in the charismatic or passionate words women say to their male lover or lover. This is typically in a literary sense taking a risk also. You are saying words that are based on your emotions, but you do not know how the male or the other person is going to react.

IL: Exactly, this is the point. When we are in love, we become like an “adventurer of the heart.”

ATM: We become like little kids again.

IL: Yes. This is why we all love this experience and why an adventurous spirit is attractive to us and a beautiful thing. It’s attractive to see it in people and when I feel this in myself. It’s about completely living on the edge of life, feeling closer to why we are all here and being really alive.  In this way, this energy inspires me and connects us to the love of kids. They are playful, young, and have not been hurt by life.  

ATM: Sometimes when people fail or mess up at something when life hurts them it closes the internal need for an adventure. They do not try anymore and just become more content in life. The adventurous streak is gone. This could be with a heartbreak or a relationship.

IL: This is why resilience is important whether we get our heart broken or have a car accident. We get hurt physically and emotionally. This is life. The real question is how do we still say yes to life and open our hearts again and soften rather than become over-protecting and guarded? It is important to repair, nourish and nurture yourself after you have been hurt. It is important to know to get this feeling back -the childlike, joyful, and adventurous spirit. Otherwise, we become hardened and close down our hearts. You then do not care for yourself or other people as much because you are afraid of being hurt. It is good to learn about being hurt and come back from this.

ATM: When has been a time you have sought an adventure or lived on the edge of life?

IL: I feel this happens when doing a movie. Most actors have a huge amount of self-doubt. I have talked to Christian Bale, John Hurt, Ben Mendelsohn and have learned mainly that actors all go through the same internal struggle, “What am I doing here? I cannot do this…” and it can happen right before shooting. It feels like this, “Yes, this is my job and I like doing it, but it is also scary” right beforehand. – It is also a risk. What is everyone going to think about it? This is an unknown territory. I take it day by day. So, for me living on the edge has been mostly related to work. 

ATM: Describe the authenticity seen in Errol Flynn during the times of pre-Hollywood?

IL: It does not mean that when working in Hollywood you become fake. A lot of people do care what other people think of them. It is a human trait to want to be liked and look for validation, but wanting to get a positive response from people, I think, can also be unhealthy. We can become quite inauthentic and very concerned about what people think. This is why I think Errol Flynn was attractive. He was living his own truth.

ATM: What is the difference between the customs and social norms in America and Australia?

IL: I have heard people describe Australia as being comparable to America during the 40s, 50s, 60s. In that sense, they really appreciate Australia because it felt like the 40s in America when everyone came to start their own dream. It is kind of related to openness to life. Australia is not as important on the world scene as America and political issues and baggage that weigh down society are less impacting.  Maybe there is a little bit more freedom here.  

ATM: How and what did your young adult self-view as life in Australia?

IL: My family moved around a lot which affected me considerably. We lived in different parts of Australia which are all very beautiful in their own way: in the south (Melbourne), the north (Kakadu National Park) and on the north-east coast (Cairns, near the Great Barrier Reef).  My mother grew up in Switzerland and we spent some time there as well. I went to school in Switzerland when I was 7 and again at 15. I felt a new familiarity with nature in Australia when I returned. In noticing the difference in the landscapes between the two countries, the beautiful land, the forests and the rainforests, and I discovered the coral reefs. It was such a colorful, very aesthetic and beautiful underworld treasure! Nature had and has a big influence on me. 

Ding Dong I’m Sarah Bishop

Sarah Bishop is the director for the new Australian web series Ding Dong I’m Gay. Bishop worked alongside creator Tim Spencer, also starring in the series. Producers Rosie Braye and Joshua Longhurst helped organize the structure of the series. The web series has received attention in the media and will continue to be a fun energetic comedy exploring a class odd-couple troupe. The show discusses homosexuality and coming out of the closet. Bishop takes us into some of Australia’s socio-cultural norms with identity and sexuality.

ATM: Take ATM through the casting process of this show.

SB: For the most part the casting process of this show happened quite organically. Tim Spencer, the creator, approached me to come on board to play Lucy quite early on, he was playing Cameron and then the biggest casting issue we were worried about was casting Toby. Toby needed to have that rare combination of being a very alpha-male, strapping, country lad but also with a naive and playful innocence.

I had worked with Remy Brand previously on an independent thriller feature called Crushed where he played my younger brother and I had a feeling he would be perfect. But it was a still a process of meeting with Remy and making sure that he clicked with the group. Ultimately of course he won everyone over with his charm. And Alex Lee who plays Sweetie is a comedian and actress here in Australia that we were all big fans of, so it was a no brainer to approach her to join the show.

ATM: What prior directing experience helped you to direct this series?

SB: I’d recently been a director on a TV series that I also co-created called Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am which aired on ABC in Australia and on the NBC Universal comedy streaming platform, Seeso, in North America.

ATM: In addition to directing this amazing series, you have a role in it a pregnant con artist. You possessed an authoritative role as the director and as an actress. Describe how you were able to direct and act in this series.

SB: I started in comedy through an all-female online sketch comedy group called Skit Box. We are constantly acting in and directing our own stuff, so it’s something that has always felt natural to me. The key is to make sure that the rest of your production team – especially your Cinematographer – is really across what you want the show to be, and I was lucky that Michael Steel, our Cinematographer, was someone that I trusted completely to come on this job and have my back.

ATM: Motherhood and homosexuality are two arbitrary topics. Where in the series did you want to show these topics the most?

SB: We wanted to explore a variety of topics and different characters – and we’re excited to explore more topics as we move on to Ding Dong I’m Gay Season 1.

ATM: What does your character portray about an Australian woman?

SB: I think Australian women can be fun, cheeky and sometimes a little bit dodgy (many of us are descendants of convicts after all). I liked the fact that even though Lucy is pregnant, she’s still finding time to steal a bunch of iPads from unsuspecting electronic retail salesmen.

ATM: Where in Sydney did you direct this series? / What location{s} did you all use for majority of the scenes?

SB: We directed this at one of the producers’ houses in a suburb in the inner west of Sydney. We sincerely apologize to her partner and two dogs who were made homeless for the weekend.

ATM: Explain the expectations you had for the cast members: Toby, Cameron, Sweetie, and your character Lucy.

SB: My only expectations was that everyone had fun and spoke up if something didn’t feel right or authentic. I think if actors are really struggling to say a line or do an action, then often it means that it might not be right for the moment and there could be a better option that will make the scene flow. It was helpful that we had one of the writers on the set so that we could make those changes if needed.

ATM: Are you currently working on any other projects?

SB: I have two TV projects in development with the ABC, a television network here in Australia, and I also have a web series in development with YouTube called Skit Box which is like a Flight of the Conchords style origin story of my all-female comedy group called Skit Box.

ATM: Explain your viewpoint on the status of the gay/queer community representation through entertainment: film, television, or web series.

SB: I’m excited that the industry is becoming more and more open to stories from a more diverse range of voices from all spheres. I think we’re moving into a phenomenal time in storytelling where the barriers are coming down so that people from all walks of life can start to come forward and share their stories, and I think our culture will be all the richer for it.

Ding Dong I’m Gay is still in its early stages of the season. Bishop played a pivotal role in developing this series. The series is streamed online and is continuing to challenge societal norms. This show makes us contemplate women’s roles in other parts of the world and changes the viewpoint on the LGBTQ community throughout the world.