Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - with Ju­lian Wright

WORK­ING with leg­endary di­rec­tor Woody Allen 12 years ago was a “sem­i­nal” ex­pe­ri­ence in Aus­tralian ac­tress Radha Mitchell’s ca­reer, but she does not re­ally want to talk about that.

Mitchell may not yet be a house­hold name like other Aussie ex­ports Toni Col­lette, Rus­sell Crowe or Ni­cole Kid­man, but she has shared the screen with Bruce Wil­lis (Sur­ro­gates), Vin Diesel (Pitch Black) and Den­zel Wash­ing­ton (Man On Fire).

It was the break­out lead role in Allen’s Melinda and Melinda (2004) that got her name on more peo­ple’s lips, but Mitchell said she had been for­tu­nate enough to work with a slew of tal­ented di­rec­tors.

“If I was to list all the di­rec­tors I worked with, they have all been in­cred­i­ble,” she said.

“A lot of Os­car-nom­i­nated di­rec­tors and par­tic­u­larly a lot of in­ter­est­ing women di­rec­tors, who for some rea­son no one ever brings up in th­ese in­ter­views.”

Pro­mot­ing her lat­est film Look­ing For Grace, di­rected by Sue Brooks, Mitchell turned her at­ten­tion to the women she has worked with through­out her 27year ca­reer, tak­ing a mo­ment for a shout-out to the sis­ter­hood.

“The first movie I acted in was Love and Other Catas­tro­phes di­rected by Emma-Kate Croghan; the se­cond was also by a woman, Lisa Cholo­denko, in High Art, which was a pretty cool movie in terms of that mo­ment in time. I think it de­fined that ’90s in­die cinema in New York,” she said.

She con­tin­ued to name drop other col­lab­o­ra­tors Claire McCarthy (The Wait­ing City),

Mimi Leder (Thick As Thieves) and Ce­sar award-win­ning French di­rec­tor Pas­cale Fer­ran (Bird Peo­ple).

Mitchell said she did not nec­es­sar­ily seek to work with women.

“Not re­ally but re­cently I got a pro­ducer credit for a movie (Ex­pect­ing) I helped to cast with Michelle Mon­a­han and that was a first-time woman di­rec­tor, LA based,” she said. “I guess there was some in­cen­tive to work with her, not par­tic­u­larly be­cause of her gen­der but be­cause of the story she had writ­ten, which I thought was in­ter­est­ing and had a great per­spec­tive.”

The ver­sa­tile ac­tress, who has suc­cess­fully hopped gen­res, said ap­pear­ing in darker films like Silent Hill, Rogue and The Cra­zies was al­most ac­ci­den­tal.

“I think you learn a lot about your­self each time you have a new ex­pe­ri­ence; I some­how found my­self in the world of thriller and hor­ror (and) I don’t know how that hap­pened,” she said.

“I grew up with an in­tense per­spec­tive and I think I en­joy the in­ten­sity.

“It’s vis­ceral. It’s not about the di­a­logue, it’s about th­ese emo­tional states.

“There’s some sort of cathar­sis in that; there’s a lot of adrenaline in it, it’s as ex­cit­ing to act in (hor­ror) as it is to watch.”

Strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween com­edy and drama in Look­ing For Grace, Mitchell plays fran­tic mum Denise, who deals with a mar­riage that is break­ing down while search­ing for her miss­ing teenage daugh­ter.

She ad­mit­ted to steal­ing ges­tures and ex­pres­sions from her own mum for her per­for­mance.

“I ripped off (some things) from my mum, so that was to­tal pla­gia­rism,” she said.

Look­ing For Grace is in cin­e­mas Jan­uary 26.

Ac­tor Radha Mitchell.

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