The seven week shoot of main unit photography began in Melbourne.Yarraville was chosen as an appropriate inner city location and the outer reaches of Werribee stood in for the Norseman approach to Perth, the location of the film’s climactic scenes.
The budget permitted only two weeks of location shooting which is a tough chore for a film that is essentially a road movie in which characters are passing through changing landscapes.
Dean and Morris were created for the actors Noah Taylor and Hugo Weaving respectively. Shortly thereafter, while reading Interview magazine, Stavros found a picture of Naveen Andrews and instantly knew that he had found his Hanif. For the role of Mimi he saw over 100 actors before deciding on MirandaOtto, who he felt embodied the right mix of purity of heart and wisdom.
MIRANDA OTTO as Mimi
Miranda, one of Australia’s most accomplished young actors, describes her character as ‘light going on dark’ "She’s a lighthearted soul with a black-and-white view of the world who optimistically believes that goodness is always possible ."
"True Love and Chaos captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of four people in a car travelling across open landscapes, getting on each other’s nerves and the shifting alliances that inevitably develop."
"Stavros wanted a naturalistic style of acting so we changed lines a lot and it was a bit scary at first."
"All movie sets tend to be slightly different because you tend to take on the mood of the particular work that you are doing. Road movies usually involve a personal as well as physical journey in which characters come to some kind of self-realisation."
Miranda feels strongly that Australian cinema seems to be moving toward a more gritty, realistic style that harks back to a less glamorous, Seventies-type cinema and shifting away from the brashness of the Muriel’s Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen the Desert and Strictly Ballroom cycle.
"Those films were great when they came along because they were a reaction against the personal dramas that had preceded them," she says.
Miranda completed her training at NIDA in 1990, where she was seen by a casting agent and signed up to star opposite Martin Kemp in Daydream Believer
Miranda’s extensive theatre credits include The Bitter Tears Of Petra von Kant, Brilliant Lies, The Real Thing, Time And The Room, Gigi, The Girl Who Saw Everything and Sixteen Words For Water.
She has been nominated for Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards for Daydream Believer (Best Actress) and The Last Days Of Chez Nous (Best Supporting Actress). The versatile actor has also starred in
The Nostradamus Kid, the internationally acclaimed Love Serenade, winner of the Camera D’Or at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, Doing Time with Patsy Cline and The Well.
HUGO WEAVING as Morris
"Morris is basically a bullshit artist who will run away when problems occur but he knows on some unconscious, indecisive level that he is going back torevisit his past. He loses the girl at the beginning, then he loses the band and his belongings. Everything is gradually stripped away from him but you get the sense that he still retains something."
"In preparation for the part of Morris, I watched such road movies as Five Easy Pieces and The Wizard Of Oz. Trying to get into the muso mindset, I took guitar lessons and read books on people like Lou Reed and Nick Cave."
"Stavros says that the dialogue is there but it can be chucked out or changed – it sometimes seemed like we were making it up as we went along but there was always a strong structure, " says Weaving. "Road movies are a great genre to work in, containing a physical journey and a forward movement."
"Stavros has got it all in his head and he knows exactly what he is doing but he is flexible enough to respond to new situations."
"Before we began, Stavros and I spent a weekend in the country with other cast members in which we got to know each other. When you work on stage with a group of actors it becomes an incestuous little world of like-minded people but on a film set you are working with a disparate group of people who represent a microcosm of society."
Hugo was born in Nigeria of English parents, and led a peripatetic existence as his parents travelled through England, South Africa and Australia. His father worked as a seismologist with an oil company and the family eventually settled in Sydney where Hugo attended high school.
Almost immediately upon his graduation from NIDA he took up a two-year, eight-play contract with the Sydney Theatre Company in which he played a variety of roles. He was subsequently signed up by the Kennedy-Miller team to play the ruthless English cricketer Jardine in the miniseries, Bodyline Hugo won the Australian Film Institute Best Actor Award for his memorable portrayal of the blind photographer in Proof and has appeared in major Australian films such as Babe, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Frauds
His stage performances include The Taming Of The Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing and That Eye The Sky.
NOAH TAYLOR as Dean
"When I first read the screenplay I felt that my character was a rather depressing, bleak fellow but after subsequent readings I decided to adopt a more comedic view of him."
"He’s pathetic and seedy by choice but also has strong moral convictions and you discover that although he lacks control over his own life he is quite ready to point out faults in other people."
As to working with Stavros, Noah ventures the opinion that "his best asset, apart from being a great writer, is that he is a visually cinematic director. and he allows me to cut loose ".
Like Hugo, Noah had previously worked with Stavros on his third-year film at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Road To Alice. Noah feels strongly that there is "a new, more diversified breed of writers and directors who are less pre-occupied with Australian stories from our historical past and it is an added bonus that I am working in a truly collaborative environment."
"Whereas the directors who emerged in the Seventies were maybe influenced by French New Wave we are now seeing filmmakers who are admirers of figures like Scorsese and Coppola," added Taylor.
Noah is excited at being part of a younger generation of filmmakers, attracted to contemporary subject matter with a cutting edge.
Frequently cast as a youthful anti-hero, Noah has always sought out challenging roles. Noah trained at St. Martin’s Youth Theatre under the artistic direction of Helmut Bakaitis, John Preston and Malcolm Robertson.
He has been nominated for several Australian Film Institute Awards including The Year My Voice Broke (Best Actor), Dad and Dave On Our Selection (Best Supporting Actor) and the multi-award winning Shine (Best Actor ). The latter film, in which he plays the adolescent musical prodigy, David Helfgott, has elevated Noah’s profile to the extent that his services are now being sought by international producers. Other film credits include, Dogs In Space, The Prisoner of St Petersburg, Loverboy, Flirting, The Nostradamus Kid.
STAVROS ANDONIS EFTHYMIOU Writer/Director
"Before I embarked on this film I watched every road movie I could get my hands on and strangely enough the biggest influence on me was The Wizard Of Oz, surely the grandaddy of all road movies."
" I wanted to build a feeling of mounting spectacle , holding off until the end to create a cinematic avalanche, similar to the manner in which Scorsese does in Taxi Driver," says Stavros.
Stavros likes to take a flexible approach to shooting, being able to respond to new situations and build on the ideas in his script . "I’m continuously looking for new ways to improve the film which sometimes results in me changing my mind. This tends to drive some people around me crazy . But when I see an opportunity I go for it." Invariably it’s to the benefit of the film.
Stavros was born in Cyprus and moved to London with his family at the age of four. He left school at sixteen, then drifted from job to job. At nineteen he migrated to Australia.
In 1985 Stavros became a student at the Sydney College of the Arts studying painting and sculpture. He developed an interest in film and made several experimental films. After completing his degree he found that his focus had changed, with an increasing interest in the creative possibilities offered by narrative films.
He studied film at the Australian, Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) for three years. His AFTRS graduation film, Road To Alice, a black comedy, wonthe 1992 AFI Award for Best Short Film and he was named Young Filmmaker of the Year at the 1992 Edinburgh Film Festival.
Recently Stavros produced the internationally acclaimed feature film, Love And Other Catastrophes.