GOLF LED TO MOVIE PROJECT
It was on a golf course seven years ago that Rosalie Ham and Sue Maslin decided to collaborate on The Dressmaker.
The Universal Pictures film, which opened October 29, was officially in the pipeline more than a decade ago when Maslin, a film producer, read Ham’s novel and realised the author was an old school friend.
“I saw the cover, realised I’d gone to school with Rosalie 30 years earlier, and picked it up, read it and fell in love with it,” Maslin says.
Ham and Maslin grew up in Jerilderie and their enduring passion for small communities shines through in the project.
The Dressmaker tells of Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet), who returns to the community to look after her ailing mother, Molly (Judy Davis).
Molly had sent Tilly away at the age of 10 because of false accusations of murder.
Tilly became an expert dressmaker in Paris and transforms the locals with her couture creations – exacting revenge on her accusers.
For Ham, the novel’s themes are evident in many rural communities.
“I started writing it thinking about vanity, competition, oneupmanship and ambition – all those sorts of things are found in a small community,” she says.
When Ham and Maslin reconnected it was some time before they would take on the project together.
“I read the book and instantly wanted to get in touch with Rosalie, but she had already optioned it to another producer,” Maslin says.
“That didn’t matter. We had a beer together and decided to play a round of golf.”
Five years later, the pair returned to the greenside.
“We were coming in on the 18th and Rosalie said to me she wasn’t sure if she was going to renew the option,” Maslin says.
“She asked me if I was interested and we moved very quickly from that.”
Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker.