Foxtel’s miniseries “Devil’s Playground” premieres tonight in Australia. In 1975, Fred Schepisi wrote and directed a movie called The Devil’s Playground, about his own teenage years when he moved away from a strict Catholic upbringing. It won the AFI award for Best Film in 1976 and Simon Burke won the award for Best Actor. The 2014 “sequel” puts the subject of abuse by the clergy front and centre. Burke revisits the role of Tom Allen, which he first played as a 13 year old. Now as an adult Tom is a psychiatrist and secular confessor to the Catholic clergy.
Among the impressive cast is Toni Collette, who created a unique individual out of her character – a crusading member of parliament who takes on the Catholic Church. “Her character just appeared to us fairly late in the day, and we were just overjoyed when Toni said yes,” he says. “She makes this character with a completely different energy to a lot of the others. She lifts it and brings this deft, light touch – especially the scenes with Don Hany. She’s a member of parliament and he’s a bishop. You watch and go, ‘My god, it’s like Clark Gable and Katharine Hepburn’.” So it’s a comic part? “No,” Burke says, “but in a show that doesn’t have a hell of a lot of laughs, they have a spark between them which is unexpected and they clash a lot, and it’s very enjoyable to watch because they are such great actors.” But here is the question that will be asked by any viewer who was watching NSW parliament in the late ’80s and early ’90s: Is Collette playing Deirdre Grusovin or Franca Arena, both of whom campaigned for an inquiry into child abuse? Burke: “No-one’s playing anyone in particular, but she’s playing the progressive member for Sydney, though it’s before Clover Moore’s time. She’s playing a member of parliament who reaches a moral flashpoint, I guess, and decides to make a stand. Deirdre Grusovin is one of several people that have done such things in their lives, and I guess Franca Arena to a certain extent.
The reviews for “Devil’s Playground” have been very favorable. Here’s an excerpt from the New Daily’s September 7 review, which makes you all the more buzzing for tonight’s premiere: Devil’s Playground is the best show we have given the world for many years. The cast is extraordinary. Hany and Burke are joined by the likes of Toni Collette, Jack Thompson, John Noble and Max Cullen. The writing is exemplary. The production quality world class. This is a show that Australia should love, embrace and be proud of. It is important. It is high quality. It is utterly engaging. In short, Devil’s Playground is just fantastic, on every level.
Catherine Hardwicke’s upcoming “Miss You Already” has yet another chance in the leading role. While Toni Collette has been on board early on, her first announced co-star was Jennifer Aniston. Earlier this year, the role was replaced by Rachel Weisz. Now, Weisz has been replaced by Drew Barrymore, according to Variety. The film will also star Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine and Jacqueline Bisset. Foreign sales at the Toronto Film Festival are being handled by The Salt Company, which shares North American sales with CAA. The film will be distributed in the United Kingdom by Entertainment One. Production will start in the U.K. on Sunday. Catherine Hardwicke directs from a screenplay by British writer and actor Morwenna Banks. Shooting is largely focused in London and later moving to the Yorkshire Moors. Collette and Barrymore portray women who have been best friends forever and Cooper and Considine play their husbands. Bisset portrays the mother of Collette’s character. The relationship hits a rough patch when Barrymore’s character struggles to have a much longed-for baby and Collette’s character finds out she has breast cancer. “‘Miss You Already’ explores the ups and down of an intense friendship,” Hardwicke said. “With our fearless actors, we’re taking this very personal story on a wild ride.”
Four new clips have been added to the video archive. There’s a scene from “Hector and the Search for Happiness”, in which Hector (Simon Pegg) meets the crush of his teenage years, Anges (Toni Collette). There’s an interview compilation with Toni, Pierce Brosnan, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots back from their promotional visit in Germany to promote “A Long Way Down”. And two additional clips from her promotion tour for “Lucky Them” – including an interview on “Morning Joe” and, together with Thomas Haden Church, for the Huffington Post. Enjoy the new clips.
Video Archive – Career Videos – Hector and the Search for Happiness – Film Scene 01
Video Archive – Career Videos – A Long Way Down – Interview 02
Video Archive – Talkshows – Morning Joe (May 27, 2014)
Photo Gallery – Public Appearances – Huffington Post (April 21, 2014)
Here comes a moving video of Toni’s recent trip to Haiti as an ambassador for Concern Worldwide: Toni Collette speaks emotionally about her recent experiences during a recent visit to the slums of Port au Prince in Haiti. As Global Ambassador for Concern Worldwide she has committed to highlighting the plight of some of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged people.
Toni Collette, Concern Worldwide’s global ambassador and award-winning actress, visited their projects in Haiti from July 21st to 23rd 2014. As Global Ambassador for Concern Worldwide she has committed to highlighting the plight of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Concern Worldwide has posted pictures from the trip on their Facebook page. You can watch them as well in the photo gallery by clicking below.
Three new clips have been added to the video archive. Two promotional interviews on the sets of “Hector and the Search for Happiness” and “Tammy”, as well as the marketing featurette for the latter. Many thanks to Claudia for helping me with the “Tammy” interview. Much appreciated. Screencaptures from both interviews have been added to the photo gallery as well.
Video Archive – Career Videos – Hector and the Search for Happiness – Interview 01
Video Archive – Career Videos – Tammy – Interview 01
Video Archive – Career Videos – Tammy – Featurette
Photo Gallery – Film Productions – Hector and the Search for Happiness – Interview Screencaptures
Photo Gallery – Film Productions – Tammy – Interview Screencaptures
“Hector and the Search for Happiness” will be shown as a special presentation at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Hector is a quirky psychiatrist who has become increasingly tired of his humdrum life. Deciding to break out of his deluded routine, he embarks on a global quest in hopes of uncovering the elusive formula for true happiness? and so begins his larger-than-life adventure with riotously funny results. Accompanying these news is a new US trailer for the film.