Thank you for an enthralling series – I’m not sure enjoyable is the right word for something like Wolf Creek…
Yes, there’s a fine line between you’re enjoying it and “oh my gosh, this is terrifying!”
How did you get involved with it?
I had worked with [Wolf Creek creator] Greg McLean before on a horror film called The Darkness, and I loved the way he worked. I had watched Wolf Creek when we were doing that to get a sense of his work, because normally horror films really terrify me, and obviously Wolf Creek terrified me because it’s scary and so well done. When the series was being put together, they had written the role of Eve, a 19 year old girl and Greg thought of me for it, because I guess he knew from working with me that I’m pretty resilient and can go into those good at screaming and crying and running. He emailed me and gave me the script. When I read it, instantly it connected to a very primal instinct, and I just needed to do this role because Eve’s is such an epic journey and quite archetypal. It was something that straightaway I was, “Yes I want to do this”, and I’m so glad that I did. It was an amazing experience.
She’s a very heavy character, Eve, and the psychological effect of the stuff that she goes through – having her family killed and having to face this serial killer – and trying to stay sane as Eve through it was really hard. It really pushed me too. We were filming long hours and I didn’t have much time to get out of the character, so I think the hardest thing was just going through that journey and having the energy to maintain this state of fear and anger and rage for two months.
How much were you shooting in order? Eve develops across the series in terms of how she faces Mick and the other obstacles, so could you build her strength as you were filming?
Yes, I was able to build that as we were filming. They did a good job of keeping it mostly in order and that was really helpful. As it went on I got a lot tougher. I was doing a lot of physical training, and being out in the desert – it builds up a resilience and builds up an armour.
Going through the people who come across Eve’s path, she has to get stronger each time she meets one of these crazy semi-villains in the outback, so by the time I got to facing Mick, I had built up a lot of strength.
It almost wanders into Mad Max territory without the sci-fi element at times…
Yes it does. That’s a really good analogy.
When I saw that the series was coming, I assumed, as most people did, that it would be about Mick facing someone trying to beat him, but the series is Eve’s story, and Mick is a catalyst for the middle portion. He’s present but not always there…
He’s always present in every scene because he’s always around Eve. She’s always looking around: “When am I going to see him? What’s he doing? Is he going to kill me?” Even if she’s just driving along the road, he’s there in a way.
Did you do any research into people who have survived serial killer attacks and how they cope, or did you just take it from the script?
I did a little bit of both. It was more that I wanted to go into it more innocently, in a way, instead of playing what someone else had done. We shot the family scenes quite early on in the story and I really let myself feel that loss.
It’s really hard to keep going once something like that has happened. I kind of let myself experience it as fully as I could. It’s definitely the most challenging role that I’ve done because to get the courage to even get up and do anything after such a tragic thing has happened to you is so challenging.
It’s hard enough after a natural death, let alone the trauma of what Eve’s seen…
Exactly. I tried to let myself feel it as much as I could, and that was why it was quite hard because going through that and going on set and having to keep going – that’s what Eve is doing. She doesn’t give herself time to wallow in anything. She has to keep up, keep going.
It’s quite different to having had a loss and had time to grieve and let yourself feel the pain. She is numb and in shock and chooses to go after Mick. It’s not the normal choice that someone would do, but you see a bit with her Olympic training as an athlete that her dad has trained her to get very focused and almost like a machine in her training, so that’s her only coping mechanism.
Totally. And she does have that kind of addictive personality – she was also addicted to painkillers. Mick is the new thing that she just can’t rid of; she can’t do anything except focus on him.
As an actor, what did Wolf Creek teach you that you can bring into your next project?
I got so much from it.
It taught me a lot about the dark side of being human. John Jarratt is such a phenomenal actor, and working with him, he really brings this character like [real-life serial killer] Ivan Milat [on whom Mick Taylor was based] to life. He feels very real and he sometimes accesses that in a way that is genuinely terrifying because he is such a lovely wonderful person but he can do that. Being faced with trying to destroy that, as Eve goes on she becomes more and more like him in order to face him.
It really made me feel like how cruel and how dark humans can be, and for future roles, it’s like this underbelly and the shadow side of humanity that I have more access to now and more familiarity with.
Also that battle that Eve that has to try to stay good even though she’s trying to kill someone. What is that line between being a murderer herself, almost becoming a sociopath herself? That was really interesting.
It was also very empowering to know how strong I can be if I need to be and to be able to bring that to life in future roles, to stand up for myself. Even getting into training and being able to fight more physically – all of that stuff has been really helpful to me.
WOLF CREEK – The Complete First TV Series is Now Available on VoD, DVD, Blu-ray & download to own.