Thanks to Jessica Carrera, we had the chance to interview LA based Australian actress Alison McGirr who is one of the co-leads in the upcoming feature film LADIES IN BLACK directed by Bruce Beresford.

SR. How did you get involved in the Ladies in Black film? How was the casting process?

I auditioned via self tape last year when I was in LA. I didn’t hear anything for about a month and then I got a call from Bruce saying he’d really liked my tape. We spoke about the character and the film a little and then it was about another month before I heard id booked the job. It was relatively simple, in terms of I really only did one audition, but the wait after talking to Bruce was excruciating, the do I have it? Don’t I? When will they tell me? Will they tell me? Maybe he calls everyone? Does he call everyone?

SR. How is working with a director like Bruce Beresford? What have you learned from him?

It was soooo wonderful to work with him. He’s a gentleman and a genius, with a wicked sense of humor. I absolutely adored sitting with him between shots, he has some incredible stories and he tells them very well! He’s knows exactly what he wants, he works quickly, which was a little daunting at first, but it made me learn to trust my instincts and all the work I had done. It’s an honor to have someone of his calibre believe in you, so if he’s trusting in me and what I’m doing, why shouldn’t I be!! 

SR. The Aussie cast of Ladies in Black is fantastic. Rachael Taylor, Ryan Coor, and one of our personal favourite young talents Angourie Rice. How is the vibe on set among the Aussies? And with all the Australian stars taking over Hollywood, who would you say is the next rising star to make a breakthrough there?

The vibe was electric. Everyone was having fun and so happy to be working on such a great project with the most amazing cast and crew. There was such great energy in the air, Bruce and Sue have been working on this project for such a long time and I really think their passion for it and excitement to have it in production was infectious. The department store was my favourite, having pretty much all of the cast in one place was awesome, there was definitely a lot of fun and laughs being had!! She’s already a bit of a superstar but, honestly, I think Angourie is our next big big thing! At only 16, she’s already so super talented, she’s smart and down to earth, and hilarious and just a gorgeous gorgeous human, she’s going to keep rising and rising, I can’t wait to see her journey. 

“…It’s also a really exciting time for female led projects…”

SR. What movie genre would you like to explore after finishing with Ladies in Black?

I would love to do an action movie, something with stunts and guns and badass females, think Gina Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight, ugh The Platinum bob and the knife skills, I wanted to be her so bad when I watched if first! I’d also really like to try my hand at comedy, it terrifies me but why would I do something that didn’t?! Really though, I just want to explore it all! 

SR. You have had some small acting roles in shows like Penny Dreadful. What can you share with us about being part of such popular shows? Did you get to meet or have a chat with the main cast while filming?

Ahh Penny Dreadful, what a dream that was. I mean with a team like Sam Mendes and John Logan, how could it be anything else?! I remember sitting at the first table read with all these incredible actors wondering if it was a dream, and then Sam came up and introduced himself to me, that’s when I exploded. To be recognized, even for such a small role by the people who have inspired you is a pretty awesome feeling. It was the first big US production I’d been a part of, the scale of it had me walking around with my jaw on the ground. Not to mention the fact I was in love with Josh Hartnett as a teenager, what girl wasn’t, and here I was about to do my first sex scene on my first big American job with the man I had posters of on my wall 15 years prior. I had a terrible time! Ha! Seriously though, Everyone on set, cast and crew were all super lovely and made it a really enjoyable experience. 

SR. Following up on our previous question, what would you say is the forecast for the Aussie film industry?

I think the Aussie industry is incredible, it’s been steadfastly building up and up the last twenty years and I don’t see it stopping. We have some really talented artists coming out of this country and gaining crazy success around the world, and the best part is the immense sense of pride there is about home. You only need to look at how many are coming back regularly to do homegrown projects and the number of international artists coming over to realize the calibre of Australian work.

It’s also a really exciting time for female led projects, Ladies of course focuses around four female leads and all the wonderful women involved in Picnic at Hanging Rock, I really hope we see more and more of these kind of projects that illustrate and honour the Australian woman’s journey.

SR. What’s next for you?

I head back to LA next week, there’s a few opportunities floating around, ladies in Black has been wonderful and opened a number of doors for me, it’s exciting times. I also have a couple of projects in development that I’m working on getting off the ground. 

About Ladies in Black
From Academy Award® nominated director Bruce Beresford comes the comedy drama Ladies in Black, based on Madeleine St John’s best-selling novel, The Women in Black.

Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, a shy schoolgirl (Lisa) takes a summer job at the prestigious Sydney department store, Goode’s. There she meets the “ladies in black”, who will change her life forever.

Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion floor, and befriended by fellow sales ladies Patty and Fay, Lisa is awakened to a world of possibilities. As Lisa grows from a bookish schoolgirl to a glamorous and positive young woman, she herself becomes a catalyst for a cultural change in everyone’s lives.


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