Ris­ing Aus­tralian stars Tilda Cob­ham-Her­vey and Ea­mon Far­ren tell So­phie Ted­man­son about their new film Girl Asleep and their close friend­ship. Styled by Kate Darvill. Pho­tographed by Dun­can Killick.

VOGUE Australia - - News -

Ris­ing Aus­tralian stars Tilda Cob­ham-Her­vey and Ea­mon Far­ren on their new film Girl Asleep and their close friend­ship.

How did you two meet? Tilda Cob­ham-Her­vey: “We have the same agent. Her name is Tr­ish McAskill.” Ea­mon Far­ren: “She is the leader of our ca­reers and lives! One day she rang me and said: ‘Dar­ling, I have just met your lit­tle sis­ter, she’s from Ade­laide and she has a movie com­ing up.’” TCH: “I be­lieve you were not so keen at the be­gin­ning.” EF: “That is not true!” TCH: “Tr­ish is very much like a mother and best friend. I knew about you al­ready be­cause you worked with the Wind­mill Theatre Com­pany and I have watched every one of those shows since I was a child. As soon as I met Tr­ish, I re­mem­ber her telling me: ‘You have this big brother.’” EF: “So we sort of had to get along or we would have been in deep trouble.” TCH: “I think we had din­ner to­gether after that and then did a short film to­gether called Mar­cia & The Shark. We spent quite a few days in each other’s pock­ets and the rest of it has been just run­ning into each other … our worlds col­lided be­cause we have sim­i­lar friends and peo­ple around us.” And then you did an­other short film to­gether, The Suitor? EF: “Yes, Tilly plays an enig­matic and stu­dious young woman in the 1930s or 40s. Her aunt is try­ing to set her up and I play the hap­less young suitor who falls in love with Tilly. It kind of felt weird be­cause we are [like] brother and sis­ter.” So what was the first time you worked to­gether and what was it like? TCH: “The first time we started work­ing to­gether was on the first short film. But I was also in­volved in the ini­tial de­vel­op­ment of the play Girl Asleep. We played around with a whole lot of ideas and it was ex­cel­lent fun to be part of. Then I wasn’t able to do the play be­cause of 52 Tues­days [her de­but fea­ture], but I watched it two or three times in Ade­laide and Ea­mon made me laugh so much I was cry­ing.” Was it hard trans­lat­ing Girl Asleep to film? EF: “It was al­ways go­ing to be a mas­sive chal­lenge from the

be­gin­ning. Wind­mill are such a brave, in­ge­nious com­pany and they make such cool work. It has their brand, it has their feel. I think if any­one could do it, they could. What makes the film great is that Matthew Whit­tet [scriptwriter] and Jonathon Oxlade [pro­duc­tion de­sign] made it so orig­i­nal, which I think is re­ally hard to do.” TCH: “What was so ex­cit­ing was that they didn’t steer away from any­thing. It was so bold. It feels like the love child of Napoleon Dynamite, and Wes An­der­son and Michel Gondry kind of worlds, which I have al­ways loved. In the film they do a lot of the­atri­cal tricks and in the play they do a lot of filmic tricks. It was a nice way to chal­lenge that.” EF: “It’s great to a see a film that it is not the ex­act frame of its the­atri­cal ori­gin.” TCH: “Ev­ery­one had to trust the crazy. We were in a stu­dio the whole time and there is one scene where I am rid­ing a fake horse and there was a wind ma­chine and pro­jec­tor. When you are do­ing those kinds of things, I think a lot of peo­ple have to put blind trust in the fact that in the end it would make sense.” It has had such a huge re­sponse, in­ter­na­tion­ally as well. TCH: “What is also so in­cred­i­ble be­cause it’s a kids’ movie and that’s how it is mar­keted. But re­ally it is a movie for ev­ery­one. I have a 12-yearold brother and a lot of the films mar­keted for that age group aren’t in the same realm as this one. They’re not as bold nor as breath­tak­ing. They don’t have the same odd sense of hu­mour and this film doesn’t dumb down for chil­dren. They re­ally in­spire kids and chal­lenge them.” EF: “That’s also true be­cause it ex­plores the awk­ward­ness and the kind of cheek­i­ness of ev­ery­thing. The danc­ing and singing feels like ado­les­cence. The film em­braces all that weird stuff.” What is it like to work for a small theatre com­pany like Wind­mill – is it like a big fam­ily? TCH: “I have worked in Ade­laide a lot and I grew up in Ade­laide and I am about to do an­other film there. I think it is a tes­ta­ment to how a small com­mu­nity makes work. I think the arts com­mu­nity is small but ex­tremely sup­port­ive and is ex­tremely


tight-knit and ev­ery­one helps each other out a lot. There is a real sense of fam­ily be­tween com­pa­nies and projects there. I think that is why I love work­ing there so much. Ev­ery­one was re­ally do­ing it be­cause they were so pas­sion­ate, un­like big projects where that isn’t the case.” EF: “I to­tally agree. Wind­mill are very loyal to their artists and it’s a com­pany of many in­cred­i­ble peo­ple. They’re peo­ple who back what they’re do­ing and I think that makes you feel like this is what it’s about. This one feel­ing … this is why I do this. I think that is what makes them spe­cial.” TCH: “I think it is a strange job from out­side. I would al­ways want to be work­ing with peo­ple I love who share the same artis­tic sen­si­bil­i­ties. That is the ex­cit­ing part of the job. I think what hap­pens at Wind­mill doesn’t hap­pen in other film or theatre com­pa­nies. They kind of al­ways work with the same peo­ple and you get this trust and you build a real com­mu­nity around sto­ry­telling. You can push your bound­aries much more and be hap­pier about that.” You both have a lot go­ing on. Tilly, you’ve been in The Ket­ter­ing In­ci­dent and Bar­racuda; and Ea­mon, you’re work­ing with David Lynch on the new Twin Peaks. EF: “I am ex­cited to see what it turns out like. It was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. I am also go­ing over to Broad­way for four months to per­form The Present [re­vis­ing the sell-out Sydney Theatre Com­pany show star­ring Cate Blanchett], and that is go­ing to be so fun. It is a re­ally cool mo­ment for Aus­tralian theatre.” How do you feel about do­ing Broad­way? EF: “It’s sur­real. I don’t know what to ex­pect. I’m sure it’s go­ing to be ex­cit­ing and it’s go­ing to be great – we get to live in New York for four months. The op­por­tu­nity is re­ally amaz­ing but the cast doesn’t re­ally know what to ex­pect. I think it is a dream for ev­ery­one. Do­ing this part on Broad­way is a dream come true.” Do you feel like it has been a re­ally big year for you both in pro­fes­sional terms? EF: “This play came out of nowhere for me. Some­times, it’s a great year and some­times it’s not. But I have been re­ally busy lately and that is grat­i­fy­ing. I had the plea­sure of work­ing with some amaz­ing peo­ple in the past year. It has been a wicked year and a half. I am grate­ful but also ex­cited about what I can do next. But hav­ing said that, you don’t know what is com­ing next. ” TCH: “I find it ex­hil­a­rat­ing and ter­ri­fy­ing all at once. I do go slightly mad not know­ing what is go­ing to hap­pen next. I think what I have re­ally learnt in the past year is to keep my brain ac­tive. I am try­ing to find other ways to keep my brain en­er­gised and find other ways to be­come more cre­ative. I’ve been very lucky in the past few years as well. I also know that it could end at any mo­ment, so I’ve been study­ing, too.” Tell us more about your stud­ies. TCH: “I am study­ing in Ade­laide. It is a study grant that they give out in four dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories where you pro­pose what kind of study you want to un­der­take. I loved school and I was bit of a nerd and I found it quite hard not go­ing to univer­sity, so I am at the point now where I like the idea of go­ing to univer­sity. I have been lucky to have work come my way at the mo­ment. I don’t nec­es­sar­ily want to go to a strict drama school but want to do lit­tle parts of learn­ing all around the place. I pro­posed my own ver­sion of univer­sity that in­volves study­ing with Euro­peans and do­ing a few more prac­ti­cal classes.” Sounds like Tilly univer­sity! EF: “She is so ut­terly bor­ing [said sar­cas­ti­cally]. Welcome to our brother/ sis­ter re­la­tion­ship!” How did you both get into act­ing? TCH: “I started do­ing cir­cus when I was nine. My par­ents are in the arts in­dus­try; my mum was a dancer and my dad works in light­ing and set. So I did grow up

around theatre and then I went into the cir­cus. But I was al­ways more in­ter­ested in the sto­ry­telling than the tricks so I was quite un­co­or­di­nated. Also, when I was 13 I did a show in Sydney with Kate Cham­pion’s dance theatre com­pany and my mum was play­ing my mum in it. I then did a short film [Aus­tralian comin­gof-age drama 52 Tues­days], which was ac­cepted into a Ber­lin film fes­ti­val. It was a to­tal sur­prise be­cause I didn’t think about do­ing this job for­ever but it just sort of hap­pened. I would have al­ways been in the arts in some way. I have made lit­tle shows in my bed­room and I will al­ways try to keep do­ing that sort of stuff.” EF: “I think it’s re­ally cool. I grew up on the Gold Coast with a mum who is a teacher. I went to drama school where I met this amaz­ing drama teacher, who I’ll never for­get. She had moved back from Eng­land and started run­ning this school for drama kids. The best thing she did was not kick me out of class be­cause I was a shit­head. When I went to high school, I did some com­mu­nity theatre and al­ways loved it. My first job was work­ing on a film at Movie World in the Gold Coast. I went to do a year of in­ter­na­tional busi­ness and eco­nomics at univer­sity in the Gold Coast. I knew I was go­ing to be an ac­tor and it was my eco­nomics pro­fes­sor who, at the end of first year, sug­gested I au­di­tion for act­ing school. All my friends in the Gold Coast told me I was wast­ing my time and theirs be­cause they prob­a­bly did all my as­sign­ments. I even­tu­ally quit eco­nomics. There are cer­tain things like this in­dus­try that make you want to rest­lessly run to­wards it.” TCH: “Yes, some­times there is not a lot of con­trol over the di­rec­tion your life takes.” We have so many Hol­ly­wood films be­ing made in Australia now it seems the bound­aries have gone. Do you find that helps as ac­tors – that you don’t have to just be suc­cess­ful in LA any­more and that you’re part of a more global act­ing com­mu­nity? EF: “I hope that good work will al­ways be around and there will al­ways be a plat­form to show­case that. Girl Asleep is good work and has found its plat­form in fes­ti­vals.” Do you think peo­ple are think­ing more out­side the box, think­ing more cre­atively? EF: “I think film­mak­ing needs more peo­ple work­ing out­side the box.” TCH: “I think the whole world gets smaller be­cause of tech­nol­ogy. It is also about adapt­ing the tech­nol­ogy to what you want to say. The more you travel, the more you learn.” EF: “My mother never un­der­stood the in­dus­try. [In teach­ing terms …] it is like a staffroom, but you have a new staffroom every three months. But you still keep in touch and can work with those peo­ple again.” Is it a good era in which to be young ac­tors? TCH: “I do. I think the me­dia [be­ing in the pub­lic eye] is a bless­ing and a curse. The In­sta­gram side is full on and I feel a lit­tle trapped. Be­ing a young ac­tor is be­com­ing more cel­e­brated as well, es­pe­cially film and TV. You have so many plat­forms to watch TV on. If you put money into film and TV, it can be recog­nised glob­ally.” Do ei­ther of you want to di­rect, write or pro­duce in fu­ture? TCH: “No, I would hate it. I would not be able to deal with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of telling some­one what to do and say.” EF: “I don’t want to ei­ther. I just want to keep act­ing. The most ex­cit­ing and scary part of this job is to keep on act­ing no mat­ter how old you are. It is one of the best jobs in the world and you just want to keep do­ing it as long as they have you.” Do you keep in touch with peo­ple you have worked with? TCH: “We build a fam­ily with these peo­ple. You don’t see them for a long time but it can seem like the short­est time when you meet them again.” EF: “We have to make an in­tense con­nec­tion with these peo­ple, which is so dy­namic.” Girl Asleep is show­ing in cin­e­mas now; the play will be re­vised at Sydney’s Belvoir in De­cem­ber.

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Chanel sweater, $2,100, pants, $5,050, and hat, $1,490, from the Chanel bou­tiques. Hair: Koh Make-up: Char­lie Kielty

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