Move afoot for busy ac­tor

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

E hails from Sydney, but Un­der­belly ac­tor Fi­rass Di­rani might have to set up shop in Mel­bourne, where he’s been work­ing on TV se­ries House Hus­band, ac­tion flick Killer Elite and his lat­est film, Last Dance.

‘‘It’s all about Mel­bourne at the mo­ment, maybe (I’ll) move there,’’ he says.

Most of the drama in Aussie film Last Dance plays out in a subur­ban home, where Di­rani’s char­ac­ter, Sadiq, a Pales­tinian ter­ror­ist, es­capes af­ter a botched sui­cide bomb­ing at­tempt. Sadiq holds el­derly Holo­caust sur­vivor Ulah Lipp­man (Ju­lia Blake) hostage in the home.

‘‘To see these two char­ac­ters with such dif­fer­ent backgrounds . . . (find) com­mon ground is cap­ti­vat­ing,’’ Di­rani says.

Di­rec­tor and co-writer David Pul­brook, an AFI award-win­ning ed­i­tor, first had the idea for the plot a quar­ter of a cen­tury ago. He be­gan writ­ing the script with Ter­ence Ham­mond seven years ago and the end re­sult is Last Dance, his first fea­ture film.

Di­rani says mak­ing the low-bud­get drama was an in­ti­mate, per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence – some­thing co-star Blake says doesn’t hap­pen of­ten on big-bud­get films.

‘‘I know when I did Wolver­ine, we had three dif­fer­ent di­rec­tors and that lit­tle role was spread over about four months,’’ Blake says of X-Men Ori­gins: Wolver­ine.

‘‘I thought to my­self with Wolver­ine, this will never come to­gether as a film . . . But it all, the art of film all came to­gether very seam­lessly. Amaz­ing.

‘‘But it’s hard to feel that deep per­sonal con­nec­tion you do on a small bud­get film.’’

For Blake, the age dif­fer­ence in Last Dance made the story fas­ci­nat­ing, be­cause it raises the ques­tion of what the res­o­lu­tion could pos­si­bly be.

‘‘If you have a younger woman, there’s cer­tain res­o­lu­tions that im­me­di­ately spring to mind and if you have two younger men it would be dif­fi­cult to be­lieve that they’d reach a res­o­lu­tion to­gether in that space of time,’’ she says.

‘‘But with this, it be­comes pos­si­ble, I think.’’

Play­ing a Holo­caust sur­vivor, Blake, aged in her 70s, needed to look like some­one in her 80s. Her other big chal­lenge was find­ing the ac­cent of her Jewish char­ac­ter and fill­ing out the back­story of her life.

Di­rani says he spent a lot of time per­fect­ing his ac­cent.

‘‘He’s a Pales­tinian back­ground, I’ve a Le­banese back­ground, but it’s still a for­eign char­ac­ter,’’ he says.

‘‘I had to learn all the prayers and the lan­guage and the di­alect. I worked hard on that but that was a real chal­lenge for me.’’

opens to­day.

Fi­rass Di­rani and Ju­lia Blake in a scene from ac­claimed new in­de­pen­dent Aussie drama

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