SOME of the most amazing works of art were born out of adversity, or in some cases, outright disaster.
David Wenham’s directorial debut Ellipsis, emerged from the ashes of an aborted film project, and the Aussie actor (Lion, The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean) says it might just be the best piece of bad luck he’s ever had.
“Ellipsis is a film I didn’t plan to make,” he told the Voice.
“I was making another film at the time and it fell over.”
Instead of packing up their tools, Wenham and his two leading stars, Emily Barclay (Glitch) and Benedict Samual (The Walking Dead), decided to turn the situation to their advantage, giving themselves 10 days to conceive a new film.
“In three days myself and the two actors put ourselves in a room and we workshopped an idea for a film, for storyline, for characters,” Wenham says.
“And then for seven days we filmed sequentially in real operating environments.
“This gave me the opportunity as a director to experiment with a lot of different things that I’ve always wanted to do myself as an actor.
“Namely work with real people in real environments and also to be free of script, to be able to act completely instinctively without the constraints and restraints of full stops on the page.”
Filmed in Sydney and described by Wenham as being a fully-improvised experiment, Ellipsis documents a chance encounter between two strangers.
When Jasper (Samual) accidentally bumps into Viv (Barclay) on a busy Sydney street, her phone is smashed and she can no longer get in touch with her fiancé overseas.
Jasper offers Viv unlimited use of his phone, and they end up wandering around Kings Cross all night, encountering a myriad of eccentric characters along the way.
The film is essentially a love letter to The Cross and its colourful characters.
“Kings Cross is completely changing and it’s a suburb which is disappearing and may disappear completely within the next few years,” Wenham says.
“Ellipsis will also offer some form of a document as to what the place was like previously.
“Kings Cross is just up the road from where I live, so it’s very close to my heart.”
The experience of an unrestrained shoot left Wenham feeling completely liberated and the most relaxed he’s ever felt on a film set.
Worlds away from the demands he’s used to on big Hollywood productions like The Lord of the Rings and 300.
“Being stress free is something I didn’t expect, but that’s how it was,” Wenham says.
“It didn’t feel as though there were forces moving upon us towards a desired end. We were completely free.”
Wenham will be joined by executive producer Robert Connolly (The Turning, Paper Planes) at screenings of Ellipsis at Luna Leederville and Camelot Outdoor on February 18.
Tickets and details at lunapalace.com.au
by MATTHEW EELES