Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with Australian actress Alexandra MacDonald to chat about her recent work on 5 Moons Of Pluto, collaborating with director Bradford Walton, and life in Canada.
Q: What appealed to you about returning to Australia to work on the short film ‘5 Moons Of Pluto’?
A: There was never any doubt in my mind about returning to Australia for 5 Moons of Pluto.
I knew it was something I had to be part of from the moment I read the script for the first time. I was drawn to what Bradford Walton had created; the writing, the team, the vision – it was all magnetic. If I couldn’t be cast, I would be crew. There are some stories that you feel compelled to be part of, and this was one of them for me. I’ve been excited about it from the get-go.
Q: How did you find the experience of collaborating with writer-director Bradford Walton and The Cleveland Film Company?
A: Bradford is wonderful. He and his wife Diana have been working so hard to get this project off the ground, and it is no wonder that such a phenomenal team came together to support it.
The script Bradford wrote was nominated for the Best Unproduced Screenplay for the Australian Writers Guild Awards last year – there is something magic about the story. Just getting to step in and fill the shoes of one of his characters is a privilege, and knowing he fully supports the local film industry is the icing on the cake.
Q: You’ve worked with Joey Vieira in the past on the short film ‘Serena’. What was it like reuniting for this project and also working with young Gabriella Petkova?
A: Joey is wonderful! Anyone who knows him will tell you so. He is a compelling actor, a great friend, and an all-around amazing human. I am very lucky to know him and to have had the chance to work with him. Whenever we get together it is always organic and natural – we can laugh and be serious and explore stories with ease. The man has a gift for this industry and he deserves all the praise he gets.
Gabby is one to watch for sure too! She’s sweet and hardworking and she takes direction well. I adored working with her, and can’t wait to see how she grows as an actress. She has a great mindset and really puts the miles in when it comes to preparing for and delivering a role. She is a young lady who we should all be watching.
Q: What impact do you hope ‘5 Moons of Pluto’ has?
A: Pluto explores a universal story in a beautiful way. Grief and all the emotions that come with the experiences associated with loss are universal to us all – we will each experience that pain.
Bradford has written the story in such a unique way, exploring these concepts through the eyes of a child and giving them a beauty and a peace that doesn’t detract from the pain, but rather gives it a new colour and perspective.
Pain and loss do not mean a lack of beauty and love. It doesn’t mean we stop growing, learning, or bettering ourselves.
It is a remarkable story and I can’t wait for you to see it.
Q: What spurred your decision to move to Canada and how are you finding life over there?
A: The film industry in Canada is phenomenal – and there are tonnes of Aussies over there! I managed to get an amazing agent in Vancouver and made the decision to pursue a film career on both shores. I’m very much a global citizen and have worked in Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and Canada and am blessed to have done so.
There is opportunity everywhere, and the Earth is so connected now. Canada may be on the other side of the world, but it is so similar to Australia in so many ways – and I am still collaborating on projects Down Under no matter where I am in the world!
As an actor, I want to tell stories and there are so many being filmed in Vancouver. There is a chance to grow and to be authentic and genuine in this industry. I’ve been hands-on behind the scenes of some huge projects, and have been lucky enough to lend my face to a few things too! Life there is good. It’s busy, it is collaborative, and I am inspired to improve every single day. That’s all you can ask for as an artist.
Q: Have you noticed many differences from the film industry in Canada compared to Australia?
A: Being so close to the US, Canada gets a different kind of work. There is always something happening, always something filming. The people of Vancouver are so used to seeing film crews now. It has a very international, dynamic feel and you never know what exciting things are coming.
Australia is definitely on the way to doing the same; so much is happening in South East Queensland especially! It is amazing seeing how connected and global the film industry is becoming – how borders are becoming blurred. Local film and TV is really blossoming here and I can’t wait to see how it evolves.
There is a lot that is similar between both countries and I love having the opportunity to work in both!
Q: What do you love about acting and what type of roles excite you?
A: I have a degree in English Literature and have always had a passion for how stories are brought to life. I like asking what the author’s intentions are, what the audience wants to see, what the script says, how it all plays out… it’s a journey that has such a unique energy to it. Film really lets me step into that energy and take part – to get my hands dirty and explore in a way that is new and exciting for every role.
I get to be a teacher – like I am on 5 Moons of Pluto – one day and ride horses in a gown the next. I get to be me throughout it all too. You’ve got to be genuine and work hard, but have an open mind and be willing to take direction. It’s a challenge and an adventure and I am wholeheartedly in love with and inspired by both.
Q: Are there any other upcoming projects or ambitions you’d like to share with us?
A: You should keep an eye out for more on Pluto – that’s for sure! I’ve also got a few things in the works that I can’t speak about just yet.
I’m collaborating with some amazing Aussie filmmakers and will be back in Vancouver before July is out. I can’t wait to share more of it with you!