Sydney Flick

You’ve probably heard of Felicity Price by now. Pull out the entertainment pages of your weekend paper and you’re bound to spot her. She’s the stunning blonde starring opposite Joel Edgerton with Teresa Palmer and Antony Starr in one of the most talked about films to première at Sundance 2012 so far – Wish You Were HereShe’s also the creative mind behind it as a co-writer with her soul/film and baby making partner, Kieran Darcy-Smith (he’s the director). I was lucky enough to catch up with her before their departure to LA last week, the pre festival detour, to drop off the kids.

“There’s really no way they can come” pained Felicity on their four-day separation. “We’ll have so many screening and publicity commitments, plus it is going to be freezing”.  

Indeed temperatures are currently well below zero in Park City, Utah, where the largest independent cinema festival in The States takes place. Not that the weather ever leaves a chill on the Sundance Film Festival – it is one of the hottest destinations on the industry calendar. Founded by actor, Robert Redford in the ‘80’s, it is a glitterati, pap and critic packed affair that has debuted many talking picture greats including Reservoir Dogs, An Inconvenient Truth and Little Miss Sunshine to name a few.

But opening night audiences wouldn’t have seen any larger than life Tarantino characters in ‘Wish You Were Here’. Rather, they would have been be swept up in a very intense and believable story about four friends on a carefree South East Asian holiday that seems perfectly adventurous, fun and idyllic until one of them disappears. Felicity plays Alice Flannery who is pregnant with baby number three to Dave (Joel Edgerton) and confronted with heart breaking betrayal and her integrity as the investigation unfolds and the reality of their trip away becomes clear.  

Felicty with on-screen husband, Joel Edgerton

“Audiences are going to fall for Alice and for Felicity” praised Kieran in a previous interview. “She is a remarkable actress and the role was developed over a long period of time just for her. Alice is the heart and soul of this movie and in anyone else’s hands it might have been a very different film experience”.

Respect and admiration seems to be the winning combination for this duo. It certainly makes a fitting explanation for how they managed to produce anything other than bottles during the intense, sleep-deprived initiation of parenthood. Kieran insisted however that working on the same project during that time was a perfect arrangement. “Rather than having to work specific, diarised times”, he explained, “We were working together constantly. We discussed the story and the characters over dinner, on walks, in the car, in the shower, changing nappies… It was an always fluid and absolutely constant thing”.

Felicity offered the more insightful “mad juggling act” description of the four years it took to bring the script to the screen and the even harder yet transformational journey of becoming a mother. “I somehow came into myself when I became a mother” she shared. “It is definitely the hardest job in the world but despite that I’m a much better, more relaxed person. Being a mother gives me confidence; makes me feel like I can do anything.”

Felicty with Director / off-screen husband Kieran Darcy-Smith, cast and crew

For Felicity, that ‘anything’ would be something like developing a script with your husband through the coveted screenwriting mentor program, Aurora. Then attracting some of the hottest Australian talent both on and behind camera to tell the story, and shooting on location in Cambodia with your 2 year old and 5 month old baby.

“That was certainly the most difficult and the most exciting time” explained Felicity matter ‘o’ factly, as one can do on reflection. “Luckily, we had the world’s best nanny living with us and I was completely confident that my kids were in the very best care because both Kieran and I were working 24/7. I think it was especially tough for Kieran, directing his first feature film and getting about three hours sleep a night”.    Ahhh… typical mama, forgetting to mention her own sleep deprivation.

Kieran confirmed, “The entire experience was challenging in the extreme. Our days were long, hot, chaotic and plagued by illness, exhaustion and gear setbacks. On day one, I fell neck-deep into a sewer …but I absolutely loved it. I’ve never felt more alive and would do it all again”.

And that’s exactly what he’s intending to do soon – go into production that is – with Wish You Were Here’s producer, Angie Fielder, on his next film, Memorial Day. But first some family and publicity time in LA.

“There’s going to be numerous publicity commitments for the film” informed Felicity, “but as we don’t know exactly what will be required of us yet we’ll just take things as they come”. 

  1. Q: What are you passionate about? A: “My kids. My family. My work. Film. Theatre. Friends. Travel. Life!”
  2. Q: What do you love about motherhood? A: “The incredible – unfathomable – love you feel for your children”. 
  3. Q: Favourite park? A: Sydney Park
  4. Q: Family tune? A: “Ain’t Got No Home’ by The Band and anything by Neil Diamond”.
  5. Q: Charity of Choice? A: World Vision. “I like that they seem to be there on the ground when disaster strikes. I also like their focus on helping children”. 

Wish You Were Here hits Australian screens later this year. Here is what some reviewers are saying:

 

Author: Sharon Quill

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