The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

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.

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