This Thursday a new Aussie comedy will be unleashed onto the silver screen. Starring True Blood's Ryan Kwanten, Not Suitable for Children is a refreshing move away from the more serious, though highlight celebrated Australian films of late. After seeing the film at the Australian Premiere during the Sydney Fringe Festival, Larry Heath caught up with Ryan's co-star Sarah Snook to talk about the film, parties in Sydney and the sex scenes she had to show to her parents...
How’s it all going today?
Pretty good, pretty cruisey.
How many of these are you doing today?
I started at nine and I finish at six... a combination of radio and print.
Well let’s talk about the film, it comes out next Thursday but there’s been a few preview screenings. How have you found the response to be so far?
Ah really positive actually. The Sydney Film Festival opening was super positive, everyone really loved it which was really exciting. It’s the first for Peter (Templeman, the director), and Michael (Lucas, the screenwriter), and myself. And it was nice to hear them laughing when I was laughing as well. And good to see up on the big screen.
Had you seen it in full?
I had, but not with all the music though. Only like a picture-lock version of it.
I think the music in some scenes really makes it.
Yeah, he’s done a good job. Peter, and the editor, and everyone who worked on that have really done a super job of the music. I loved it all.
And I think it was Jono Ma from Lost Valentinos did quite a bit of the music, and I think it’s a very Sydney film in that respect. It’s emblematic of the Sydney music scene, you’ve got the Mess Hall in there and bands like that... How important was it to shine the light on Sydney in this eay?
Well I think for Peter it was a very directorial choice to put it in Newtown because that represented that vibe and that culture. It seems to be that era as well, living in a share house, and there’s a lot of share housing going on in Newtown and Redfern, inner west kind of area, near that Sydney University. So, finding ways to visually use that area to find of help the whole film with that energy. And that’s kind of easy around that area because it’s so architecturally interesting and beautiful.
Going into the film, how did that help prepare you for your character? Because living in that same area, it must be easy to relate to that lifestyle.
Yeah. My current living situation is living in a share house and we have had some pretty good parties… it’s been good!
In addition to that main storyline there’s almost that second story line of the party, and let’s throw a great party – as actors did you have any input in those kinds of scenes?
Definitely in the truth-o-meter, Pete was really keen on making sure they were in no way naff, or daggy or goofy, or anything like that. So that it was super real. And so he very much relied on us to make sure we were helping to provide that. I think we did a pretty good job, I always feel pretty pumped up after I see it, I want to go out [laughs].
I remember when watching it, towards the end of the film you’ve got the Mess Hall come in and there’s that big party scene, and I thought, ‘I’m ready for the after party now!’.
I understand now you’re working on a film in the US?
I just did a horror film called Jessabelle, my first US feature film. It’s a funny thing to do a film like Not Suitable for Children, which I cast in the end of June and shot June, July, August, September [last year]. And then I went travelling, I went to Mexico and Guatemala, and just got out for a bit. And then finally the film comes out. It feels like such a long time in between.
There is such a long period. I always think about that when anyone’s talking about a film. This is now a year in the past for you, so much new is happening. But let’s go back to that beginning and talk about how you got involved in the project. Was it a very routine casting situation or were you particularly sought out for the role?
It was a routine casting situation in the beginning for sure. In fact, my first audition I thought had definitely blown it, I was terrible! And then I did a second audition with Peter and I must of done something he liked. We ended up doing an audition sequence, we created a scene where we were in somebody’s house. So it was a long audition process. But props to Michael and Pete for really fighting for me to be a part of the film.
And you and Ryan [Corr] knew each other before?
Yeah, we went to NIDA together, we were a year apart in drama school. So that’s nice to work with your friend and make them a colleague, and have that basis of friendship and foundation already there.
There’s some great repertoire between you, I think Ryan Corr delivers some of the best lines in the film. Did it seem like Ryan Kwanten came in very early in the process for the film?
He did. He was already attached to the film when I started auditioning, so I think he was part of it for a year before actually shooting.
I’m sure everyone’s been asking you about it, but were going to talk about the sex scenes in the film. That’s probably the most awkward part for you in terms of showing the film off to other people. Is that something you’ve become more comfortable with as the screenings have gone along?
Yes, I saw the film with my mother! Of course she knew about it anyway.
Did anything change from the original script to the final version? Was there anything you noticed that changed in that process that you didn’t expect perhaps?
Ah, my name changed, that was a big one. It changed from Corinne to Stevie.
Any reason in particular?
Part of it, was as the character evolved she [Corinne] was a little more corporate, a little more committed to her own idea of where she was going. In the script I think that was more obvious. I think Stevie is committed to that anyway, but it’s less, ‘this is what I’m doing’, it’s more being at peace with going down this track, for example she’s more, ‘thank you very much, and I may have a baby with you’.
It is quite a change for the character.
It was the hardest thing I think, to make that change believable. To go from no babies to wanting a baby. And I think the strength of the relationship between Jonah and Stevie was something that needed to be quite powerful and strong. And the bond needed to be seen there so that change is quite believable. Hopefully that comes across!
I think so! And I like at the end we don’t really know what happens. What do you think happens?
Well, I think they work out how to live together and how to be together. I think they probably took Guss home and had a house meeting!
Indeed a very awkward one! Well congratulations on the film, it’s so much fun. The one thing I think too, is that it’s just so nice to see a fun film. There’s been so many critically acclaimed animal kingdom sort of films. Which are great, but not exactly all smiles type movies. So it’s nice to see something come out that is a bit of fun.
What I hope the audience gets is a genuine, fun, good time. Sure it’s not going to please everybody, but we worked hard to make it truthful, so whatever way you wanted to enjoy it, there’s something in it. Whether it’s the romance part, or the comedy part, or just seeing three friends getting through their lives.
Not Suitable for Children (MA15+) opens on July 12th in theatres nationwide.
Transcript by Cass Savellis