Comic in full voice for mu­si­cal turn

Magda Szuban­ski sings her heart out in writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

MAGDA Szuban­ski doesn’t need to go on X-Fac­tor – she’s al­ready re­ceived singing tips from Ro­nan Keat­ing.

The Kath and Kim come­di­enne may not share any scenes with her Ir­ish cos­tar, but he gave her some ad­vice when it was time to record songs for their Aussie movie mu­si­cal God­dess.

‘‘Ro­nan was great, he was really just very sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing which of­ten is what you need,’’ she says.

Szuban­ski ad­mits singing is not her nor­mal area of ex­per­tise and while she’s been in mu­si­cals be­fore, such as The 25th An­nual Put­nam County Spell­ing Bee, she would never con­sider her­self a pro­fes­sional singer.

As no-non­sense cor­po­rate woman Cassandra Wolfe in God­dess, Szuban­ski has one big mu­si­cal num­ber – a song she orig­i­nally wasn’t meant to sing, but in­sisted on do­ing.

‘‘It’s really fun to sort of let rip at my age with a whole dif­fer­ent set of skills,’’ she says.

She says Wolfe, with her dra­matic red hair and take-no-pris­on­ers style has ‘‘a bit of a Vivienne Westwood sort of an at­ti­tude’’.

‘‘And there’s cer­tainly a Devil Wears Prada as­pect to it,’’ she says.

‘‘I mean I know women like that. I think we all do. And I re­spect women like that, they’re trailblazers.’’

Di­rec­tor and co-writer Mark Lam­prell ac­tu­ally wrote the part of Wolfe es­pe­cially for Szuban­ski. It was a fact she didn’t ac­tu­ally dis­cover un­til they were do­ing in­ter­views with me­dia, well af­ter film­ing had wrapped.

‘‘I didn’t re­alise ac­tu­ally, un­til do­ing this,’’ Szuban­ski says.

‘‘When Mark said that he’d writ­ten it forme . . . I was really chuffed.’’

Mu­si­cal the­atre star Laura Michelle Kelly, who plays the star­ring role of mother-of-two El­speth Dick­ens and Keat­ing’s on­screen wife, says they all had their fin­gers crossed Szuban­ski would join the cast.

Bri­tish-born Kelly is best known for play­ing Mary Pop­pins on the West End and Broad­way stages and was cast ‘‘two or three years’’ be­fore God­dess was green-lit to be filmed.

‘‘I’d al­ready gained the role (but) then I went on to do Mary Pop­pins on Broad­way and thought ‘is this film ever go­ing to get cre­ated’?’’ she says.

When it got the sig­nal to go ahead, Kelly was in the mid­dle of her con­tract as Mary Pop­pins. Luck­ily, Dis­ney let her take a break to fly out from New York to make the movie. And although the role re­quired singing, danc­ing and work­ing with two small chil­dren, Kelly says it was the com­plete op­po­site to play­ing the fa­mous nanny.

God­dess marks the sec­ond movie Kelly has made.

The first? Oh, just a role along­side Johnny Depp play­ing his wife Lucy, in Tim Bur­ton’s Sweeney Todd: The De­mon Bar­ber of Fleet Street.

‘‘I was able to play a mi­nor part in that and I really loved the whole ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ she says.

‘‘I was hop­ing Tim would ask me to do the next movie, be­cause he al­ways casts peo­ple he’s worked with be­fore, so I’m still hold­ing out for the next one,’’ she says, laugh­ing.

‘‘I just am really happy that I’ve got a chance to do a lead (in this) and I’ve learnt so much more than I have done on other things I’ve done.’’

opens to­day

Michelle Kelly in a scene from

Magda Szuban­ski.

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