Cult Projections: How did you score the role of Wyrmwood’s co-star Brooke?
Bianca: I actually never even auditioned. The Roache-Turner brothers saw my showreel, I had a coffee and a chat with Kiah, the director, and they offered me the role. My flatmate at the time worked with him, and recommended me for the role. We met in a dingy little cafe on Oxford Street in Surry Hills, and just instantly got each other and had the exact same vision for Brooke. I know they had been searching for the right person for the role for a while. And thank fuck they saw something in me: luckiest day of my life.
CP: What was it about the Roache-Turner brothers’ approach and/or screenplay that appealed to you?
B: The thing that first got me was the character breakdown and description of Brooke. She was so strong and intriguing. It was a role that every actress would dream of portraying. You would have to be an idiot to turn it down. And then I saw the seven-minute teaser trailer they had made and the look and feel and professionalism of it just blew me away. It just had this amazing quality to it. You could tell just from that small teaser that the brothers had something special, and that Wyrmwood was something that only comes along very rarely. If you are lucky enough to get a chance to work on it, you jump at it.
CP: Were you much of a genre-movie fan - especially horror/exploitation/action - before making Wyrmwood? If so, what genre movies are amongst your favourites?
B: I am actually a huge pussy when it comes to horror films. I can’t watch them alone. And I definitely can’t sleep alone after them ... But I have always had a sick, morbid fascination with all things “zombie”. They scare the shit out of me. I absolutely loved 28 Days Later; so desolate and lonely and horrifying at the same time. But I also love vampire stuff. I think deep down I’m just a 13-year-old girl who wants a sexy vampire to come and bite me and live forever. Very corny.
CP: What movies, if any, did the brothers tell you to watch in order to prepare for your role?
B: I watched as many zombie films as I could. The original Dawn of The Dead, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead .... All of them, from across all genres. I think I just wanted to live and breath zombies. But I also watched films with strong female protagonists. So Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Underworld, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ... Because I wanted to be inspired by the amazing hot, tough, sexy women who are strong and independent in their own right. Who don’t need men. Because that’s how I saw Brooke.
CP: Tell me a little about your acting background, how did you get into screen acting?
B: I always wanted to be an actor, even when I was a little girl. I was always in some play, or musical, or performance over the years. But I was also incredibly shy growing up. I had huge stage fright. So I kinda stopped doing it for a few years ... But then one day I woke up and just said, “Fuck it. You only live once. I can’t not pursue my dream, for fear of what other people think, and fear of failure.” I didn’t want to waste my life anymore.
CP: Wyrmwood was made over four years, how much time each year did you spend on set? It must be a pleasure to finally see it complete; did you ever wonder if the movie would ever get finished?
B: I only worked on the film for around eighteen months. I know the guys shot a lot of stuff prior to me coming on board. We would shoot on weekends, sometimes with several months in between. It was tough keeping continuity. Stopping and starting with a character means you have to get back into that same head space somehow each time. Which is a bit of a headfuck. Trying to look exactly the same the whole time. Bit of a mission. As soon as it finished I dyed my hair bright pink. I was just so excited that I could finally change my appearance. You never know when you’re making an indie film if anyone will ever get to see it. I’m just so glad that this one is getting out there. It’s amazing. Though hardly surprising really, Kiah and Tristan have done a brilliant job. I’m so proud to have been a part of it.
CP: Your character, Brooke, is fast becoming something of a cult favourite heroine amongst those that have seen the movie. The role is very physical and demanding, tell me a little about the difficulties you faced during the shoot, but also the rewards.
B: God it would be amazing if Brooke became a cult favourite heroine!! It would be a dream ... I’m just so glad that she is being so well received, and most importantly that female audiences are loving her as much as the men. We really wanted to make her appeal to both sexes. She had to be smart, strong and independent, someone who takes no shit from anyone. But you still gotta throw a bit of sex in there. No fun without that. It was the most physically demanding role I have had to play so far. I did some kickboxing and circuit training with an MMA trainer friend of mine. Which was very out of my comfort zone. But something I really enjoyed, and I would love to get to do more of it. In real life I’m more of a yoga and dance kind of a girl. Which is just slightly different ... It’s always great to get the opportunity to explore things you wouldn’t normally do!
CP: How fussy are you as an actor? If you could choose between making more independent, low-budget genre flicks, but not as well paid, or being part of a successful television soap or a few big-budget mainstream movies here and there, where does your passion lie?
B: My passion definitely lies in drama. I love little, small budget, beautifully shot indie stories about people and relationships. Great in-depth, insightful, well-written scripts ... But at the same time it’s fucking fun pretending to be a larger than life action hero type of role. When do you get to dress up in skin tight outfits and fight bad guys in real life?! Who would day no to that? Ultimately, I just love acting. Exploring what makes a certain character tick. I just want to do this for the rest of my life. And while you need money to live, it really doesn’t matter to me much in the grand scheme of things. I’d rather be happy and fulfilled and doing what I love.
CP: Wyrmwood will no doubt enjoy cult status in the living room, but it’s the kind of movie that demands to be seen on the big screen, loud, and with a lot of people. How important is the cinema going experience to you?
B: I love going to the movies. I know our society is changing, and people can just illegally download all the films now as soon as they come out. But it isn’t the same. There's an atmosphere in the cinema that you just can’t recreate. It’s special. And you also can’t get choc tops at home. Totally not the same thing.
CP: Genre movies like The Babadook and These Final Hours were very well received critically, but failed to make much impact with Australian audiences in the cinema. Australia makes great genre movies, but they seldom perform well at the local box office, do you have much of an opinion on this dilemma?
B: I think it’s sad that Aussie films generally don’t do well at the cinema. But it’s just part of life really. I think as long as people are loving the films we are making, that’s all that matters. You can’t tell someone how they should live their lives, and you can’t make someone go to the movies to see your film. You just need to concentrate on doing what you love, and putting it out into the world. And hope that other people will appreciate it. You do it for the art and for the love.
CP: Do you have any other cool genre flicks lined up?
B: No other genre films locked in at this stage ... I am in talks for some up coming projects, but nothing locked in yet. At the moment I am just about to shoot season four for the web series Starting From Now. So far we have had nine million views in less than a year. It’s had a great response from all over the world. We are about to start a crowdfunding campaign for the new season. So fingers crossed it all gets off the ground!!
CP: Thank you for your time Bianca!