June 11, 2015
IMAGINE you have spent more than 10 years trying to get your feature film debut off the ground and you get a call out of the blue that an Academy Award winning A-list actor wants to star in it.
That call was a reality for Kim Farrant while casting her Australian film Strangerland, when she got word Nicole Kidman wanted to take the lead role of Catherine Parker, a woman searching desperately for her two children who go missing before a sand storm in a tiny, remote outback town.
It was a pleasant surprise for Farrant, who didn’t even know Kidman had read the long-gestating script she had been attached to direct.
“I had directed Hugo Weaving in a short film years earlier, then he attached to the first draft of the script which was amazing,” she said.
“Then his agent, who he shares with Nicole, read a later draft, and we were lucky that he gave it to Nicole to read and she loved it and I got a call saying ‘hey Nicole wants to do your movie.’
“So I went to Nashville and we met and it was great to confirm we were on the same page about what kind of film we were making and talk through the different components.
“Actors need to feel really safe with you as a director and vice versa; you need to know they want to tell the same movie as you.”
Farrant said the fascinating themes of the script kept her pushing to have the film made, which went on to have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
“It was really the themes I was fascinated by and kept being challenged by and inspired by, also knowing sometimes things are hard doesn’t mean they are not right,” she said.
“Sometimes you have just got to hang in there and really allow changes to happen.
“For instance with the script we had to adapt to society, the world, funding bodies, whoever was able to stomach the script in the way that it currently is.
“The Dallas Buyers Club took 20 years, so sometimes they take a while.”
Strangerland opened in cinemas today.