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:: Spotlight :: Interview with the MacKinnon-Lee sisters - from the movie Alex and Eve

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The MacKinnon-Lee sisters have burst on to the film scene as actresses to watch in the future. Katerine-Ann,19 years old, and Emma-Jane, 17 years old, are in the newly-released Australian film Alex and Eve. The sisters have previously had roles in short films as well as television programmes including Home and Away and Puberty Blues.

Alex and Eve is a romantic comedy based on the hit play of the same title and is a family comedy about dating in modern day multicultural Australia. The film stars Richard Brancatisano as Alex, a Greek Orthodox man who has fallen in love with Eve, a Lebanese Muslim woman played by Andrea Demetriades. The film humorously explores the themes of love, race and religion when these star-crossed lovers are forbidden to marry by their parents.

With much training behind them, from a very young age, the two sisters look set for a bright future on screen and stage. Part of the their stepping stone has been a role for each in this new film Alex and Eve, directed by Peter Andrikidis and based on the stage play hit by Alex Lycos. I had a brief chat to the sisters about this experience.

The first thing that may come to people's minds are the long, hyphenated names. Emma-Jade explained (with a laugh), “It's quite an experience each time we have to write our names - with the double hyphens. It also takes a while to send text messages.”

About their family and background:

"We used to live in Byron Bay. Dad moved to the Northern Beaches of Sydney for work, so we've been there for the last four years. We have been involved in acting through school plays and musicals from a very young age. Particularly in the past few years, it has become a serious passion for both of us. We've had amazing support from our family and relatives but they never pushed us into acting. They have completely different backgrounds. It's been great to have a terrific team behind us. We've been able to do a lot of training - courses and workshops - and gained great knowledge.

How did the Alex and Eve roles come about?

We both got auditions for different roles in the film through one agent. It was a little bit of a shock that we both scored roles. Alex is played by Richard Brancatisano and he is a Maths teacher. We are both students in his class so we get a good deal of screen time. It was terrific working with Richard and Andrea (D) in particular, but we learnt so much from people around us on the set.

Did you see the stage play, and what are your general impressions of the storyline?

We saw the stage play beforehand and thought it was very funny. It's a very topical issue at the moment and Alex (writer) has done an amazing job to communicate the controversial ideas through the film, in a light-hearted manner. It's very heartwarming. The different cultural backgrounds clash in the film and it's done in a likeable, comical way and not too heavy. It brings the two cultures together to show that love can come about no matter what.

How was the overall filming experience?

It was an amazing experience to work on an Australian feature film for the first time. The director and crew made us feel very welcome. We would start around 5.00am and when feeling tired around midday, the crew would help keep us going and give us that energy for the whole day. They were long days but rewarding. We shot it around Western Sydney but also in the city itself with the Harbour Bridge in background shots.

What have you been doing since the filming last year?

We've continued acting classes and studying at university, but generally we've been waiting for this film to be released. Hopefully, as a result, more opportunities will come our way. It's just the beginning of the journey.

Alex and Eve is a romantic comedy, now in cinemas across Australia, about dating in multi-cultural Australia.

You can also view the trailer here