Elliot’s low-down with John Jarratt

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By Elliot Murphy

Stalkher is a story about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, with a lot of swearing and comedy. It is a story about a man called Jack, played by John Jarratt, who’s desire for a woman gets/becomes unhinged when he is knocked out and finds himself tied to a chair by his victim, Emily, played by Kaarin Fairfax, who has her own idea of fun in store for Jack.*With an awesome plot and a twist ending, this is a movie that shows no matter who, or how messed up, you are, there’s always someone out there for you. 5/5 Stars.

I just finished an interview with Australian actor, John Jarratt on his new movie, StalkHER, which he both directed and starred in alongside co-director/actor Kaarin Fairfax. I had a chat with Jarratt after the film screening at the Belgrave Cameo.

What was it that drew you to this particular movie character?

I was going to make a movie called Passing Wind, which was going to cost too much money. So I said to my guys that we need to make a solid two-hander along the lines of misery, war of the roses or street car desire–something like that. And we found this film called stalkHER and it’s set in a house. I play this character that breaks into this house and gets tazored to the ground, then dragged into a chair and comes to. And he’s in this house behest of Emily, played by Kaarin Fairfax brilliantly, and all sorts of things ensure during the night.

What did you have to undertake to get in the right state of mind for stalkHER?

Well I just played him as John Jarratt if he didn’t have counselling in the 80s or 90s, kind of thing. Because he’s got a negative chip on his shoulder, where the world owes him a living kind of a guy, so he’s a lot blacker and darker than I am ­– but that’s what makes the movie so interesting because Emily’s pretty much the same and that’s where the clash arises from.

What would you say is your most enjoyable moment in this movie?

Well the best fun we had was when I was busting for a leak and she refused to untie me, so she had to help me relieve myself, which was a very funny sequence.

What did you think of the music that was used for this movie?

Well I’m a baby boomer; I’m 63 and Kaarin’s 56. So it’s music like Split Endz, Sky Hooks, Nick Cave, and there’s a Paul Kelly song in there – and I sing a song that’s written for the film. So it reflects who we are, you know, the baby boomer generation, with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. And we’ve got the Angels, so there are a lot of great bands on our soundtrack.

What would you say was the most enjoyable thing about making this film?

The hard work–but it is exhilarating hard work. It’s a very verbose film and there are only two of us to keep it interesting and cinematic, and it’s a brilliant script, and to be able to take that script and put it on the screen was exhilarating.

How was it being in a reversal role of the hunter to being hunted?

Well that was just the character and I just understood as an actor what I was supposed to do. It’s just another aspect like in Wolf Creek I’m the guy who’s in charge and in control in the violence. You just play the character don’t you, you just do the job. I understand the emotion of the piece so I don’t really analyse it much more than that.

Is there anything that you wanted more to have been in the film?

No, because it’s a low budget film. But that just means because it’s a two-hander film it doesn’t need millions of dollars, it actually only needed the amount that we had and I call that a right budget. It’s not too heavy and not too light – it was just right. And we had plenty of money to make the film and because of that, 20 days was a good amount of time to put a film like that together because we’re in one place. No location movements, just one place to be everyday and continue with quality and not a lot of quantity. Everything was shot in camera basically.

How difficult was it to direct and star in this movie?

It was not the best one to pick for my directorial debut as I was tied to a chair and I was in every single scene, and it was an extremely verbose film. So Kaarin, who was very experienced, she kind of helped me when I did my bits and she then she helped me. Together we directed it, so there were very experienced people on the set who would every so often walk in and say, “you should do another one”. I wasn’t overwhelmed, I knew what to do, but it was just a difficult piece to be both an actor and director in.

Was it hard not to laugh in some of the serious moments?

No. I was only to laugh when I was told to, because I do manage to get into character very well. The only time I laugh is when we’re doing something funny and we make each other laugh, such as a peeing moment or a line fuck up, but then we do another take usually.

So what’s next for you?

Well, I’ve got this big hairy face for a film called Boar, with a massive pig the size of a rhino and I play a shooter that takes on the boar as a hero character. I’m shooting that as we speak. In October/November/December I’m shooting a six-part Wolf Creek TV show for Stan and that should be out mid-2016.


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