CLOSE-UP Culture caught up with actress, producer and writer Madeleine Kennedy to talk everything from working with a 8 ft boar to her exciting work with Mad Lane Productions.
Q: Boar will have its Welsh premiere at the Fractured Visions Film Festival in late September. What should audiences expect from this Ozploitation-throwback creature feature?
A: BOAR is an exhilarating ride that revamps the 80s image of Australia’s Razorback with a thrilling new story. It showcases some of Aussie silver screen legends with a few fresh new faces, the Aussie outback and one enormous wild pig! I think audiences at the Fractured Visions Film Festival are going to be entertained by the fast-paced narrative and great jump scares, plus enjoy the tongue in cheek humour and banter.
Q: There is a fantastic picture on your Instagram of you drenched in blood in the aftermath of a scene. How was your blood-splattered experience working on this film and with director Chris Sun?
Thank you! I think when you work on a Chris Sun film – blood, in ample supply, is a given! I first worked with Chris on Charlie’s Farm and had an incredible time working opposite horror-legend Bill Moseley, so when Chris invited me back for Boar, I knew this role would be equally as fun, challenging and bloody!
Chris is horror-lover to his core and his directing style reflects that passion. His vision for each character and scene is so meticulous in detail that you cannot help but become invested in the gory world he is creating.
The image on Instagram was a hilarious candid photo taken right after an unexpected full bucket of fake blood had been thrown at me. The moment was priceless, as the action caught me completely off guard and the tidal wave of blood was the tactile stimulus that allowed me to harness an overwhelming urge to fight for my life against the pig. It wasn’t until Chris called cut, that the entire crew and I took in the ghastly sight and burst out laughing.
Q: Can you tell us about any of your interactions with the boar? Was he a good cast-mate?
A: BOAR was probably the most reserved cast member on set. He kept to himself and staying in his trailer during downtime (laughs). No the pig was an incredible presence on set and testament to practical FX artist Steve Boyle’s genius. Boar is 8 ft tall, 14 ft long and takes the talent of three men inside to create the illusions of blinking, roaring and breathing, whilst others outside push him around.
He truly is a beast…except to touch. Working opposite him, proved he is a big softy – literally. Boar’s mouth, tusks and teeth were very soft to touch, so when I was working with him, I had to find a balance between thrashing and fighting for my life, whilst not actually hurting him! It was incredibly technical as I would have Chris on set right next to me, directing the actions, whilst also communicating via radio with the operator inside the pig’s head.
Q: We are in a great period for Australian creatives in general. In the horror genre alone it’s been a few good years with films like The Babadook and Hounds of Love. How exciting is it to be part of this Australian creative scene at the moment?
A: AUSTRALIANS are inherently beautiful storytellers and we have established such an amazing presence in the industry – both in front and behind the camera. We have always excelled in horrors and dramas, and I am so thrilled to be at the forefront of a new wave of artists and filmmakers who are embracing other genres in film and television and taking them to the international stage.
Q: Behind the camera you have been doing tremendous work with Mad Lane Productions. Can you tell us more about Mad Lane and your creative mission?
A: I began Mad Lane Productions in late 2011, after realising, that if I wanted to be a voice to the stories I thought needed to be told, I would have to create them, instead of sitting on my hands and waiting for them. I fused my love for acting, with writing and producing, and this lead to a series of award-winning festival shorts and music videos, before I tackled my first feature length drama Thicker Than Water, which stars Sony singer/songwriter Pete Murray. After that I turned my focus to my sci-fi fantasy television series We Were Tomorrow.
Q: I’m glad you brought up We Were Tomorrow. Can tell us about the show and talk about your experience writing, directing and starring in the series?
A: WE Were Tomorrow follows twin siblings, played by Chai Hansen (CW: The 100) and myself, as we navigate through three lifetimes to escape a dying world and an immortal hunter, played by Gyton Grantley (The Dressmaker).
I initially wrote We Were Tomorrow as a feature film, but when the unique nature of the premise and the global appeal of the trailer generated more interest as a TV series, we reformatted. I began expanding on character’s backstories and strengthening their relationships. It also gave me the opportunity to overcome narrative holes and deepen the intensity of the characters’ antagonist – time. We are in post-production on the project now and will be presenting the 6-episode season to a few broadcasters in September/October.
Wearing multiple hats is always a challenge, but there is something thrilling about toeing the line between creativity and business, and knowing that each day I have the freedom to immerse myself in both sides for the product.
Q: It looks like there are many upcoming Mad Lane Productions projects to be excited about including Before There Was Her. What can you reveal about these future projects?
A: THE next few months and 2019 are proving to be a very exciting time for Mad Lane Productions and are the culmination of years of hard work.
Before There Was Her is a sci-fi/fantasy film, which I am currently co-writing with actor Marcus Vanco (The Shannara Chronicles) and explores a futuristic world of men where only a few women remain. I am also in pre-production on an Australian-Chinese co-production titled The Chronicles of Anatta, which was developed for Chinese audiences based on the premise of We Were Tomorrow.
Q: Lastly, please tell us why audiences should get their hands on Boar and spend an evening watching it?
A: BOAR is a beast of a story! It has all the elements of a good horror film: gore, suspense, incredible practical FX and a ruthless killer that just happens to be the size of a 4WD! You will be gasping, cheering, covering your eyes and laughing at this fun creature feature.