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 Ashleigh and Chris talk about their experience on set

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PostSubject: Ashleigh and Chris talk about their experience on set   Mon May 16, 2011 5:42 pm

Ashleigh (Robyn) and Chris (Lee) talk about their experience on the Tomorrow set and their characters. The full interviews can be read here and here

You play the role of Robyn. How would you say her character develops over the course of the film? She’s like this kind, innocent religious girl at the start, but by the end of the film she changes into someone completely different…

Yes, so Robyn undergoes probably the greatest transformation in the film. She’s fairly straight-laced to begin with but as the war progresses, there’s an underbelly of instability which begins to evolve. This inner conflict concerning her faith is something she basically denies until the end of the film when she is ultimately forced to face it. She doesn’t lose her kindness; it’s just kind of reconfigured according to her circumstances and she has to make decisions where before, the answer seemed very black and white. It’s funny you mention innocence though, because the story deals with that exact concept in terms of its definition. In the new context of war, Ellie (the protagonist) redefines innocence as “the big fantasy” of “believ(ing) we were safe.” (pg 107 of the book by John Marsden). So by that definition (and I don’t yet have an opinion on whether or not it’s true), the entire group venture on that loss of innocence together. However, Robyn is one of the last to admit it and that transformation is much more accentuated because, originally, her world completely revolved around the security she had in God’s hands.

Would you say you identify with your character on a personal level, or is she completely different to you?

To an extent. I mean I’m currently agnostic so I can’t draw the religious parallel nor can I say I’m as assured in many of my beliefs of morality as she is. I admire her so greatly for that! But any of my family will tell you – and often, much to their frustration – that when I’m passionate about something or if I’ve finally come to a decision about a situation (usually after much internal deliberation!) then there’s not much point trying to get in my way.

What was it like working with Stuart Beattie? He’s known for ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’…

I love Stuart like he was my own second dad! He was so supportive throughout filming both on and off set but he’s also an extremely talented writer, director and overall artist really. You would never guess it was his first time making the film because he brought a very special clarity and calmness to the set. He knew everyone’s names and that kindness made everyone perform to the very best of their ability. It permeates through the film and his energy has and will continue to reach out to audiences when they see TWTWB because it’s his heart and soul right there in the form of a film.

What was it like working with your co-stars? You spend quite a lot of time around Caitlin Stasey in the movie…

We had the besssst time. Our on-screen camaraderie was very much reflective of the one off-set because we literally spent 24 hours a day with each other for over 3 months. Caitlin’s a huge inspiration to me – she’s definitely one of my role models in terms of both her acting abilities and her personality. They’re all my role models for different reasons and, because they’re a fair bit older than me, they’re like mentors as well. I miss them all incredibly but luckily we’ll soon be re-uniting for the sequel!

If your hometown got invaded by a military power, what would you personally do? Hide or fight?

That’s a question I’ve done my head in thinking about. It’s just so hard to know for sure unless you’re immersed in that circumstance. I dislike violence and weapons intensely - yet I would like to think that I’d stand up against anything I didn’t believe in – I just don’t know how. I really can’t imagine myself fighting violence with violence, like Robyn. I know I’d experience extreme moral dilemmas – especially if I could empathise with the foreign force and their reasons for their unrest (not that I agree with invasion/violence as a solution!). However, on a greater scale, that’s an issue many governments face. If there was a happy medium, then I guess nobody would have difficulty facing that decision and the public wouldn’t be so divided over it. That’s the great thing about the film though – it allows people to reassess their opinions and find an emotional relationship to such situations that are very real and present in our world today.

What else is coming up for you in 2011?

I’ve been working on a few Australian television shows, but we’re starting pre-production for the second film in the ‘Tomorrow’ series in August so stay tuned!

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’Tomorrow’ is based on a book written by John Marsden – do you think the adaptation from book to screen was 100%, or do you think it left out important things which could have been developed more – and if so, what (in your mind) were they?

It delivers an extremely faithful screen adaptation of the book, and fans and even John Marsden himself – (you can’t get much better than that) – have been happy with the transition. Some lines were even taken directly from the book, but since a book can take days to read (I’m a slow reader) naturally things have to be left out. There was a sub-plot that was skipped over because of time restrictions. But then again some things Stuart changed worked better than in the book itself!

Were you a fan of the book before you signed on?

Hell yeah! It’s an entire series and “Tomorrow When The War Began” is… well I want to say the beginning, but… it’s more when it began. It was a school text that I studied when I was younger and that automatically made it dull in my mind. But after I started reading it, I realized it was actually enjoyable and I went on to read the rest of the series. I was very excited when I heard they were making a film!

You play the role of Lee. How would you say his character develops over the course of the film?

Lee is a sheltered quiet kid who spends more time at home talking to his piano than talking to real people. By the end of the film he kind of becomes the guy he idolizes with the added bonus of being with the girl he dreams of!

There’s a great scene involving you in a ….I dunno, what can we call it, trash dumpster? What was it like filming that?

Oh yeah, that was frikkin awesome! They treated us like snowflakes on set and wouldn’t let us do this and that for safety, but we all wanted to be in every shot that we could and I can tell you it’s pretty scary being in that dumpster shovel with 10 AK-47’s going off at you and squibs and sparks exploding everywhere. A lot of it was done in the studio with blue screen, but the location shots I could have done forever!

What was it like working with Stuart Beattie? He’s known for Pirates Of The Caribbean…

Yeah he’s known for a lot of other great projects too, but during the shoot I think he was most known for being a great guy. He’s just one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet and was so good at his job! Stuart knew exactly what he wanted and he was very clear in his communication as to how he wanted things done.

What was it like working with your co-stars? Being young adults, I thought it was great the way you seemingly interacted with each other around campfires, etc. It was almost like you had known each other for years…

Those scenes were really just us chilling and having fun by a campfire – so I’d love to say it’s because of our awesome superior acting abilities, but it was the time we spent in the month of rehearsals showing through.

There’s a few more ’Tomorrow’ films coming out in the next few years. Are you looking forward to continuing your character’s development? What can you say about the next two instalments?

Well I can’t say anything plot-wise that can’t be found in the books, but I’m very excited about the development of Lee. He goes to a very dark place and does bad things. It’ll be stacks of fun to play.

If your hometown got invaded by a military power, what would you do? Hide or fight?

I’d like to say I’d fight and save people and be a hero but you never know what happens until it happens, right? I did pop down to the gun range last week though and I have to say I enjoyed shooting guns a bit too much. I guess shooting paper robbers and zombies isn’t quite the same.

_________________

Live for what you believe in...
Die fighting for it.

"Isn't there a way to do this that preserves our essential laziness?" - Tino, Disney's The Weekenders
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Ashleigh and Chris talk about their experience on set

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