Interview: Kestie Morassi (Blame)

Interview: Kestie Morassi (Blame). By Simon Miraudo.

Blame is the brand new Aussie thriller from writer/director Michael Henry, seemingly inspired by the tightly-wound whodunit thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie. Kestie Morassi (Wolf Creek, Satisfaction) stars as Cate, a grieving young woman who teams up with the friends of her late sister to take revenge on the man they blame for her death. Unfortunately, revenge is never that black and white, and as the wannabe-murderers struggle to finish the job, the ‘blame’ is shifted from person to person. We spoke to AFI-nominated Morassi about the WA shoot, working in the Australian film industry, and whether she’d be willing to return to Wolf Creek 2, even if it is as a ghost.

SM: Tell me how you got involved with Blame?

KM: I was asked to read … we basically did a few workshops with it, about four years ago. So I just got together with a group of actors and we read the script, which was still in working, in front of an audience. Then the writer/director [Henry] went back and reworked it, and about four years later it all came together, and I was just offered the part. I never really auditioned for it.

SM: Was the original script far different to what we have now?

KM: It was different, yeah. It was very different actually.

SM: Was there ever a possibility that it would be done as a stage production? It’s definitely something that could have been done on a stage.

KM: Yeah that’s true. It could have been for sure. It’s all set in the one location, and it’s very much about character. It would have made a great stage play actually.

SM: But it was always intended to be a film?

KM: Yeah, I believe so.

SM: Your character, over the course of the film, evolves from an attempted murderer into having the biggest moral backbone of the entire group by the end. It’s kind of the reverse of what happens to characters in revenge movies. I’m interested in what drew you to the character of Kate.

KM: I just think anything with a strong emotional arc attracts me, you know? I’m interested in playing real sort of emotion, and it’s a highly emotional role, and that was strongly a selling point for me. Also, it’s a character that’s fuelled by grief and guilt, and so it’s just an interesting story and the sort of story that hasn’t been told with Australian film anyway. It was just sort of a strong female character, which is always good to play. Yeah, I guess that’s it.

SM: (Laughs) That’s fine; that’s plenty of reasons.

KM: (Laughs) Yeah.

SM: The film definitely has echoes of Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie, and it also reminded me of an American film called Hard Candy.

KM: Oh, Hard Candy, yeah.

SM: Have you seen that one?

KM: Yeah, I have actually.

SM: Did Michael provide for you a reading list of films during that period, between seeing the script and finally shooting it?

KM: No, he didn’t. He didn’t. A lot of directors do do that, but no Michael Henry didn’t do that at all. He just sort of tried to explain his sort of style, and delve very deeply into each of the characters arc and the pre-story. I think it’s got a really sort of unique style. It’s  … oh, it’s probably not good to say (laughs) but I feel like its somewhere between television and film and stage. It’s sort of like, the formulas really unique, and a little bit dark. What do you think?

SM: I can definitely see that, especially the stage comparison. Yeah, it’s obviously a tightly contained film, so it almost does fit into that TV aspect. Tell me a bit about the shoot; what was the shooting schedule?

KM: The shoot, oh my God, I think it was three weeks. Oh my God, that’s terrible [that she’s had trouble recalling], isn’t it?

SM: It was a while ago, so that’s ok.

KM: The rehearsals were a week, and then we shot for three weeks. And it was so full on, it was so grueling. We were shooting in Roleystone, which is about an hour out of Perth, so the commute was an hour each way. We were working 14 hours a day; it was like the hottest February on record in Perth, so we were shooting in the sun, and of course its set after a funeral, so we’re all wearing funeral clothes in 43 degree heat, sometimes wearing balaclavas. It was mental (laughs).

SM: It’s method.

KM: It was really difficult, but it was great. We were making a film.

SM: As someone who lives in Perth, I feel your pain.

KM: (Laughs) Right.

SM: You said you had a week of rehearsal time; that’s almost a bit luxurious when it comes to feature film shooting. Did you appreciate having that time to work through it with the other actors?

KM: I don’t know. Is it a luxury? I normally have about a week to rehearse. You can always use more time, for sure, in the rehearsal process, and in the shooting, for sure. Always, more time is great. It’s always a rushed, ‘get everything done’ [time]. A lot of it felt very rushed on this shoot. There was so much to get through, and so much story. A lot of action shots; running in the forests. A lot of finicky stuff, like the house that we shot in was a little bit of a rabbit warren, so it was just maneuvering through that space which was tricky for everyone. But the rehearsal process was awesome; we didn’t really move anything, we just chatted about the script; fine-tuning the script and fine-tuning the characters. Also in 45 degree heat.

SM: Lovely! Are you the only actor from that original reading that’s still in the film now?

KM: There was also Mark Winter, who played my boyfriend in it; he was always attached. And I think Simon Stone was always attached.

SM: Like you said, the film does mesh between film and TV in a sense. There’s a real renaissance going on with Aussie film and Aussie TV drama, at least in the terms of how much our industry is producing. You work fairly regularly in both. Do you have any preference between the two?

KM: I do prefer film, because you’re able to take your time a bit more with the characters. There’s just something about being on a movie set that’s really exciting. TV is very very very fast; you get one or two takes, which is always a little scary. I definitely prefer film, and I prefer film too because there’s a beginning, a middle and an end. I know where my character is going, whereas with TV, and being part of a series, you don’t always know where your character’s going to end up. Which is great, but I’m not really used to it in a sense. I’ve done more film than television, so I’m more used to film, and that medium.

SM: Is there any kind of genre, or tale you feel isn’t being told, that you’d like to see made into a film?

KM: A tale that hasn’t been told?

SM: Or any genre that you would like to work in, that isn’t produced much in Australia?

KM: I’m not sure. I can only speak for me personally. I would personally love to do more Australian comedy in film; I think Australian humour is hilarious, and when we do it we do it really well. I don’t know. That’s a weird question for me, I’m not sure why (laughs).

SM: I’m glad I could ask a weird question.

KM: I’d love to do a horror film as well. Working on a horror film is so much fun.

SM: Well, you’re definitely no stranger to it. I understand they’re making a Wolf Creek 2, although I’m assuming your character probably won’t pop up in that one…

KM: Yes. I may come back as a ghost.

SM: That’d be alright.

KM: ‘The ghost of Kristy Earl’.

SM: It sounds a bit like ‘Christmas Past’. It could work. So, what else is coming up for you?

KM: I’m actually on hold for a few major Aussie films, but nothing’s really been set in stone yet, so I can’t probably say anything about them. One’s a genre film, and one is a comedy, so I can’t really be more specific than that. I’ll probably know in the next couple of weeks.

Blame is now showing in Australian cinemas.

One Response to “Interview: Kestie Morassi (Blame)”

  1. Thank-You for the interview on Kestie Morassi, have been a fan of hers for a long time. Eney news on her is much appreciated.
    I have a Facebook Fanpage for Kestie at
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kestie-Morassi/258252414343

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: