Coming of age
I think 16 to 17 is a really massive point in informing who you are and how you feel about
things and people change a lot regardless
during that time
THE phrase ‘ growing up on screen’ took on a very literal meaning for actress Tilda Cobham- Hervey in 52 Tuesdays. Shot every Tuesday over a year, it was Adelaide- born Cobham- Hervey’s fi rst acting gig and, like her 16- year- old character Billie, she was at a major point in her life.
“I think 16 to 17 is a really massive point in informing who you are and how you feel about things and people change a lot regardless during that time,” she says.
“I was sort of propelled into it at extreme force because we were talking about things that I never imagined talking about, exploring and always questioning each other.”
In 52 Tuesdays, the feature- fi lm debut for award- winning documentary fi lmmaker Sophie Hyde, Cobham- Hervey plays a teenager who discovers her mother wants to gender transition to a man.
Billie moves in with her father for a year, so her mother, James ( played by Del Herbert), can begin the process. However, they promise to see each other once a week, every Tuesday.
Hyde says the unique structure was there from the beginning, before characters or story.
“That was what the writer Matt ( Cormack) came to us with, was every Tuesday for a year two people meet and we fi lm it on Tuesdays,” she says.
And when they decided on the story, it wasn’t a concrete thing. They were constantly shifting, scripting and changing it as they went.
“There were lots of things to think about. How much can you tell. What are you missing in the week that passes ... also what can be logistically fi lmed, because a lot of the scenes we’re fi lming in a day would be two or three days in a normal shoot,” she says. “Those concerns are always around.” This style of fi lmmaking meant the actors would fi nd out what happened to their character week by week.
Cobham- Hervey says once fi lming on a Tuesday wrapped, they would get their scripts for the following week.
“So often it was that thing of, you were going through the last shot, and it was like, ‘ Yes, I get the script, I get to see what happens’.”