BO­JANA NO­VAKOVIC

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - BURN­ING MAN Now show­ing State Cinema

A burn­ing am­bi­tion to suc­ceed.

IT’S no se­cret Jonathan Teplitzky’s new cin­e­matic mas­ter­piece Burn­ing Man is based on his life ex­pe­ri­ences. Some­one just for­got to tell the film’s lead­ing lady, Bo­jana No­vakovic, about it.

‘‘ I didn’t re­alise it be­fore I went in to the first re­hearsal,’’ No­vakovic ( pic­tured) says from her ho­tel suite in Syd­ney, where she has been busy ‘‘ play­ing lots of dress- ups’’ at fash­ion shoots.

‘‘ I think that was a good thing. The script was so bril­liant, I had so many ideas. Jonathan was re­ally open to me do­ing my own thing.’’

Ad­mit­tedly, what we have here is a dif­fer­ent sto­ry­line to Teplitzky’s tragic plight. We fol­low Tom, a young, cocky Bri­tish chef whose life is out of con­trol. Played by Matthew Goode, star of

Watch­men and Match Point but per­haps best known as Colin Firth’s lover in Tom Ford’s A Sin­gle Man, this Tom has a fast and fu­ri­ous sex life.

The open­ing se­quence, for ex­am­ple, shows Tom’s but­tocks in full frame and not much else, be­fore he goes on to woo women all over town, in­clud­ing Rachel Grif­fiths. Breasts and but­tocks are in­te­gral to the tragic yet darkly hu­mor­ous tale of a man seek­ing so­lace through sex, writes Marie- Chris­tine Sour­ris

Just an­other ma­cho male liv­ing reck­lessly af­ter di­vorce, or so we think. Then there is a car crash, flash­backs, food fly­ing ev­ery­where and dis­jointed mem­o­ries.

It is vis­ual chaos, but ter­ri­bly so­phis­ti­cated vis­ual chaos. Slowly, Teplitzky un­rav­els what it all means and it isn’t long be­fore we re­alise we’ve been set up for one heck of a plot twist.

En­ter No­vakovic as the mys­te­ri­ous Sarah, the love of Tom’s life.

‘‘ When I walked out of A Sin­gle Man, Matthew was the per­son I re­mem­bered most,’’ No­vakovic says. ‘‘ I re­mem­ber see­ing so much love in his eyes, which is of course what that char­ac­ter war­ranted.

‘‘ When they said Matthew Goode [ was in this film], it just made sense to me.

‘‘ But Matthew is also very, very cheeky and quite naughty, I know that now.

‘‘ That also made per­fect sense to me, be­cause he had to play such an a--- hole.’’

No­vakovic says the film’s dark humour helps au­di­ences con­nect with the char­ac­ters ‘‘ be­cause it helps takes some of the heav­i­ness away and makes it very real’’.

Then there were her own sex scenes, which also served to lighten the mood.

Was No­vakovic un­com­fort­able with the am­ple nu­dity?

‘‘ On the day it’s al­ways dif­fi­cult, but the de­ci­sion wasn’t dif­fi­cult,’’ she says.

‘‘ For this film, I was com­fort­able with it be­cause the story war­ranted it. I re­ally be­lieve in those scenes. Breasts in this film are in­cred­i­bly nec­es­sary to see. I didn’t even think about it re­ally.’’

Af­ter cut­ting her teeth in Aussie films and guest TV stints, the NIDA grad­u­ate found fame sev­eral years ago in hit Foxtel se­ries Sat­is­fac­tion. Since then, her dance card has been filled with Hol­ly­wood jobs.

Af­ter The Edge of Dark­ness came the M. Night Shya­malan thriller Devil, fol­lowed by the Bondi- shot Burn­ing Man, be­fore Gen­er­a­tionum with the ‘‘ amaz­ing’’ Keanu Reeves. Then it was time for a com­edy with an­other Aussie,

True Blood ’ s Ryan Kwan­ten, in Not Suit­able for Chil­dren.

‘‘ That was so much fun,’’ she says, laugh­ing. ‘‘ He’s so gen­er­ous and hu­mor­ous and has great ideas – a per­fect gen­tle­man. He made me laugh a lot.’’

De­spite con­stant re­ports she’s moved to LA, No­vakovic in­sists her feet are firmly rooted Down Un­der.

Prob­a­bly be­cause there is the small mat­ter of the Ride On in­die the­atre com­pany, for which she reg­u­larly pro­duces works such as The Story of Mary Ma­clane by Her­self, the show No­vakovic wrote with mu­si­cian Tim Rogers and opens at Mel­bourne’s Malt­house The­atre on Novem­ber 25.

‘‘ I don’t re­ally base my­self any­where,’’ she says. ‘‘ I base my­self wher­ever I’m work­ing.

‘‘ I’m in Mel­bourne for the next three months do­ing the shows. But be­cause I spend a lot of time in LA au­di­tion­ing, I do write a lot of stuff while I’m there . . . and then I bring it back here.’’

Her life sounds fran­tic, but No­vakovic sums it up with: ‘‘ I love what I do. It’s great.’’

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