Posted on June 30th, 2019 by Frederik

It seemed like a recipe for a disaster. An out of work and virtually broke director, who couldn’t keep a job, decided to make a film based (loosely) on the true story of his sister stealing money from their father. There was no real romance, no pat, happy ending and everybody who read the script thought the main fictionalised character not very likeable. Muriel Heslop was dowdy, listened to daggy music, betrayed a friend and married for revenge. The story was “denounced” by Film Australia which refused to fund it. But when it finally premiered in September 1994, 25 years ago this year, Muriel’s Wedding was on its way to becoming a huge, but unlikely, hit. The story of how this small, independent film made it to the screen could be a film in itself. The enduring tale was later turned into a stage musical, which also became a hit, and is being revived in a new production returning to the Sydney stage on July 4 at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. The director, Paul John “P.J.” Hogan and his wife, screenwriter and director Jocelyn Moorehouse, said that before Muriel he was “broke” and since graduating from film school in 1984 had found only “consistent unemployment”. “We wanted to make feature films, but could only get TV jobs. I got less work than Jocelyn did, because she’s a much nicer person,” Hogan tells The Saturday Telegraph. In 1991 Moorehouse directed the critically acclaimed film Proof starring Hugo Weaving, with Hogan as an assistant director. But after that, work was hard to find and in the late 1980s and early ’90s Hogan began to think seriously about whether he should be “thinking of another career”. Then inspiration came from an unlikely source – his family. The complete article can be read in the press library.



Comments are closed.