THE LAST WORD... ‘ I didn’t want Guy Pearce for Priscilla … hand­some’ he is too pretty, he was too

WITH STEPHAN EL­LIOTT, WRITER AND DIREC­TOR OF THEADVENTURESOFPRISCILLA,QUEENOFTHEDESERT

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - THE LAST WORD... - WithColinVick­ery

“I THINK the heart and soul of the film [ The Ad­ven­tures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert] that works is that amid all the glitz, glam­our, show­ing off, bitchy lines and great songs there was a re­ally sim­ple story about a man [Hugo Weav­ing as An­thony Bel­rose/Mitzi Del Bra] try­ing to come out to his son. I had been want­ing to make a movie mu­si­cal but they [stu­dio bosses] said it was a dead genre and that I would need a gim­mick. I was a sit­ting at a bar in Syd­ney’s Ox­ford St one night and I sud­denly found it [drag queens lip-synch­ing].

The hon­est truth is that I didn’t want him [Guy Pearce, who played Adam White­ley/Feli­cia Jol­ly­good­fel­low]. I said, ‘He is too pretty, he was too hand­some’.

For him, I think it was a chance to go out and kill Mike from Neigh­bours. It was his chance to put [that char­ac­ter] to bed. He took to it with a vengeance. When he was in char­ac­ter [Adam/Feli­cia], he could do ev­ery­thing that Mike from Neigh­bours was never al­lowed to do.

Terence Stamp was ter­ri­fied about play­ing Ber­nadette. He re­ally was at a point where some­thing had to change for him. He had reached the end of that road of be­ing ‘the sex­i­est man alive’ for his day. He was get­ting a lit­tle bit long in the tooth. It was a to­tal chal­lenge. It threat­ened ev­ery­thing.

His re­ac­tion was, ‘There is ab­so­lutely no way in the world’ which I ex­pected when I gave him the script. I said, ‘Why wouldn’t you do this’ and he said, ‘Be­cause I’m ter­ri­fied’. I said, ‘Shouldn’t this be ex­actly what you do for a living?’

I think he was coaxed into it by friends. He was gen­uinely very un­com­fort­able for the first two weeks of the shoot. It was the mo­ment of putting him in front of a live crowd in drag – up un­til then we had been in the stu­dio – that he crossed the line. At the end of his first num­ber, ev­ery­one burst into ap­plause. From that mo­ment, I think, he re­alised it was OK – that he was go­ing to sur­vive.” BE­TWEEN A FROCK AND A HARD PLACE THURS­DAY, 8.30PM, ABC

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