:: Spotlight :: Prey - Interviews / Sydney Red Carpet premiere / News from Cannes
By: Carmine Pascuzzi; pictures by Bill Ranken
When six friends decided to leave the City and head for the surf, how were they to know that they were being drawn into a world of ancient curses and inescapable nightmares. Trapped in a valley of primordial evil, these friends try to come to terms with past wrong doings but no matter how hard they try to escape, they always end up staring death in the face. Welcome to a place where the supernatural world hunts the real world. Welcome to PREY…Dreamtime is over!
The film stars Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Jesse Johnson, Christian Clark, Natalie Walker, Ben Kermode, Nicholas Bell, Joe Hachem and Kristin Sargent. It opens in Sydney on May 5, Melbourne on May 7 and Las Vegas on June 23.
Check out the film's website which includes loads of interesting things including the trailer. Check here
Note: It will only run for two weeks in Melbourne and Sydney.
HERE IS A CHANCE TO WIN A TRIP TO LAS VEGAS FOR THE STAR-STUDDED US PREMIERE OF 'PREY'
The Australian Film Institute (AFI) is giving the chance to win a PREY “Dreamtime's Over Nightmare Holiday” for two to The Palms Hotel and Casino's Brenden Cinemas for the star-studded North American premiere of Prey in Las Vegas on June 23.
Walk the red carpet with the Prey stars, special Hollywood guests & World Poker Champion Joe Hachem. You must be 21 years of age and have a valid passport and US travel visa.
Simply email your name, address, and phone numbers to [email protected]
**Interview with NATALIE WALKER and BEN KERMODE**
Two of the stars of this unique film are Natalie Walker and Ben Kermode. Natalie plays “Ling” and Ben plays “Matt”. In the film they are neither married nor lovers, but off-screen they are. The Melbourne couple live most of the time in Los Angeles, yet were very pleased to be cast in “Prey”, a local production. Just prior to the Australian release, I caught up with Natalie and Ben.
Q. Tell us about your careers to date?
(Natalie) - I started doing television in Australia then headed to the United States, I had met Ben, and did an independent feature and a few short films, before landing Prey.
(Ben) - I had a few guest roles in televsion before deciding on a short break. Nat had this recurring TV role and I knew that I'd go back into it. We then thought about, and decided, to move to Los Angeles for a short time to see what might be unearthed there. We ended up staying for about two and a half years. There are many people giving L.A. a shot. Most of our friends are American, but you often see Australians there.
Q. What is it about working and living in Los Angeles as young ambitious actors?
(Ben) - There's obviously more work and more competition there, but the thing about Los Angeles is that it's a real learning ground. You could say we got a degree in screen acting, being there for a while. There are so many good teachers. You can't help but learn about the industry and the artform.
Q. Tell us about the first feature you did, just before Prey?
(Ben) - It was called “David & Fatima” and it starred Tony Curtis and Martin Landau. It wona few awards overseas but only got a DVD release in Australia.
Q. Nat, you were in a special sort of film titled “The Secret”…
(Natalie) - I played Ruby, the jewellery girl, and it was a concept of the law of attraction - a documentary where you'd visualise what you're after.
(Ben) - It was started by an Australian lady - filmed in Melbourne with local actors. It was a cult hit amongst the acting community.
(Natalie) - Bobby (Galinsky - Prey co-producer) had seen it and it was probably a good way to be noticed.
Q. What is it about Prey that attracted you to the roles?
(Ben) - What was not to like about Prey? When we first heard about it, it seemed a terrific opportunity - to have a leading role, and to make it in our home town. They are juicy characters and we got to really act - very different to what we're like in real life. We were very interested. They cast in Australia and we were cornered to play Americans.
Q. Did the producers know you were a married couple?
(Natalie) - They didn't know that Ben and I were married. We kept that under wraps. I suppose we didn't want anything to interfere in us getting the roles. Even the crew didn't know when we were shooting. We pretty much did our job and our characters hardly conversed.
(Ben) - It's a freak occurrence us being in the same movie and makiing our Australian theatrical debut.
(Natalie) - Unlike others, we didn't meet on set!
Q. What was it like working with the small cast and crew?
(Natalie) - Everyone was great. The crew was terrific. We were shooting in winter time and it got close to the point of hypothermia. I certainly felt that way. But we all had fun together and looked after each other. It was a good energy.
(Ben) - All of us are early into our film career although Natalie Bassingthwaighte is very well known here. It was very much a team effort in getting the job done. For Bobby (Galinsky) and Elizabeth (Howatt-Jackman) it's a big break in their producing careers. They've spent much time on this project.
Q. Why should audiences go and see Prey?
(Natalie) - It's a supernatural horror film and it has that unknown factor. There are six actors - all different, all trying to survive. There are lots of cool effects.
(Ben) - Elizabeth and Bobby are good at being specific in what they are going for. This is a fun movie for a young audience. The six characters all have a different dynamic and the audience will relate to one or some of them.
Q. Would you compare it to any film of the past?
(Ben) - You wouldn‘t really compare this to another movie. 'Scream’ was about one particular “baddie”. Here you have a bad guy but you have some supernatural powers, black magic and witchcraft, which makes this unique. Black magic in the Australian outback is something that hasn't been explored.
Q. Do you have any thoughts on the state of the Australian film scene, and our recent inability to draw audiences to Australian films?
(Ben) - You need to be specific in what you do. The more specific the more widely appealing, I believe. I like stories where things happen and characters go through changes. It doesn't happen here much.
(Natalie) - We don't do much advertising of movies here. You always hear about American movies that are being released in Australia. There is not enough concentration on the advertising side.
Q. Do you have other interests/hobbies?
(Ben) - We're both pretty much into the arts. I like playing music. We both made a short film recently that will get a run during this year. We're also developing a feature film. We enjoy the writing side of things.
(Natalie) - I also do photography and get my hands in creative things. The writing, as Ben said, has been great fun and offers a chance to spread yourself more, apart from acting, which I still love.
Prey opens in Sydney on May 5, Melbourne on May 7 and Las Vegas on June 23.
Note: The film will have a limited run in selected cinemas around Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland with a two-week season only - until May 20.
PALACE GEORGE CINEMA, ST KILDA, VIC
**Pictures from the Sydney premiere**
**News from Cannes**
Less than a week after a near-full 10.00am market screening at the CANNES Film Market, surprise Aussie ‘candy horror’ treat PREY has taken down rights for Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia and is honing in on a coterie of Asian territories. ITN Distribution (USA), in association with Damage Releasing, have been writing steady business as Top Cat Film's first production successfully tiptoes through the minefields at a predictably slow and irregular market.
“People just like it, plain and simple” says producer Bobby Galinsky who is at the market with Top Cat partner Elizabeth Howatt-Jackman. “ We've always felt it's had great potential as a fun campy scary teen romp and the success of the two premiere events in Australia really cemented that for us before departing for Cannes. The fact that the foreign market feels it has value across the board is great and hopefully it'll find audiences in these territories and do well..”
PREY opens in the United States on June 23. The DVD release in Australia is slated for June 30 release.