Move afoot for busy actor
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.’’
Firass Dirani and Julia Blake in a scene from acclaimed new independent Aussie drama