FOR her first indie Aussie film in more than 25 years, Nicole Kidman embraced all the challenges of shooting in the Outback – including 40 degree heat and swallowing a fly.
In Strangerland, which made its Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival last Friday, Kidman plays the mother of two children who go missing just before a dust storm hits their tiny country town.
Also starring Joseph Fiennes as Kidman’s husband and Hugo Weaving as a local cop impacted by the case, it was a bit of a coup for seasoned documentary director Kim Farrant for her feature film debut.
Farrant, who had worked with Weaving before, said she was thrilled to have Fiennes and Kidman come on board.
Although she ackowledged that the shoot – across Sydney, Canowindra and Broken Hill – was tough at times.
“Filming in the Outback has its advantages in that your away from the distractions of every day life, but you’ve got to drive long distances, it’s easy to get lost, the temperatures and that in terms of stamina,” she said.
Farrant actually started herself on a fitness regime nine months before the shoot so she could cope with the physicality of directing, with its 12-14 hour days, but also running between the cameras and actors in the extreme heat to give notes.
“I remember at that time thinking, `wow it’s really hot out here and these flies are killing my actor. He’s going to have a tantrum at any moment’,” she said.
“I think all of that stuff is difficult and at one point Nicole swallowed a fly and one point Hugo got one up his nose during the middle of a take and that’s the desert, you just have to deal with it.
“And it all adds to the inner tension that the actors are cultivating witin themselves in this unknown, uncertain, unweildy place.”
SEE: Strangerland opens today.
Originally published as Nicole Kidman swallows a fly on set