Sky’s the limit for Jessica

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

SCaris Bizzaca ELF-CON­FESSED Dis­ney­holic Jessica Marais is still try­ing to fig­ure out how she scored a part in the mouse house’s an­i­mated flick Planes. Who knows, maybe Dis­ney chief John Las­seter is a fan of Packed to the Rafters. Es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing since leav­ing the TV se­ries and mov­ing to Los An­ge­les, Marais has only been seen in one role – and it def­i­nitely wasn’t the kind you would as­so­ciate with Dis­ney.

In US ca­ble show Magic City, Marais played mob­ster’s wife Lily Di­a­mond, some­thing she says was ‘‘par­tic­u­larly adult in its con­tent’’.

‘‘I’m pretty sure Lily Di­a­mond in Magic City is not quite the char­ac­ter that would in­form this kind of a cast­ing choice,’’ she says. ‘‘She’s not a Dis­ney type, per se.’’ So when Marais got the call say­ing they wanted her to voice Aussie air­craft Rochelle in the Cars spin-off, Planes, she jumped at the op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘I grew up watch­ing Dis­ney movies and we go to Dis­ney­land ev­ery time we go back to Amer­ica (so this) is such an hon­our.’’

But there were three other bonuses. Firstly, Marais had the chance to be in some­thing suit­able for her chil­dren.

‘‘I thought it would be a nice change to have some­thing a lit­tle more Scout-friendly, for my daugh­ter to be able to watch,’’ she says of her 16-month-old.

The sec­ond fac­tor was de­spite be­ing a movie about planes, she didn’t have to get on one. Marais in­stead recorded the part from Fox Stu­dios in Syd­ney, which fit­ted into her film­ing com­mit­ments for Nine Net­work’s eight-part se­ries Love Child and up­com­ing ABC1 tele­movie Car­lotta.

And a third rea­son was for Marais, who had never voiced an an­i­mated char­ac­ter be­fore, there was a bit of re­lief when she watched Planes for the first time.

‘‘I think there’s a huge amount of pres­sure taken off when it’s not your face on screen,’’ she says, adding she watched it with part­ner and for­mer Packed to the Rafters co-star James Ste­wart.

‘‘You can en­joy hear­ing your­self, but not have to cri­tique ev­ery­thing about your per­for­mance vis­ually.’’

But for Aussie and New Zealand au­di­ences, the look of Rochelle is ac­tu­ally im­por­tant. She’s de­signed specif­i­cally for our re­gion, there’s even a kan­ga­roo painted on the side.

‘‘They changed not only the voic­ing of her but the look of her as well, so she was a go-get­ter Aus­tralian plane,’’ she says.

Ver­sions of Rochelle have been cre­ated for France, Brazil, Italy, Ger­many, Rus­sia and the US, with dif­fer­ent ac­tresses voic­ing the part. In the US ver­sion, Se­in­feld star Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus does the voice.

Jok­ing that Rochelle maybe should have been named some­thing more Aussie, Marais has a few sug­ges­tions.

‘‘Rozza. Or Shel­ley. There’d be a few nick­names,’’ Marais says.

Planes opens to­day.


Dusty Crophop­per, voiced by Dane Cook

Jessica Marais dur­ing a live record­ing for at Sound Firm stu­dio at Fox Stu­dios in Syd­ney.


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