Cinema Australia Original Content:
Suburban Wildlife is a coming-of-age drama set in the outer suburbs of Sydney.
It’s an ambitious feature film debut for director and co-writer Imogen McCluskey which follows the dreams, desires and surreal yearnings of four young people – Nina, Louise, Alice and Kane – played out against the hot tarmac, basketball courts and swimming pools of suburban Australia.
“I grew up not seeing a coming-of-age film told in an Australian voice,” says McCluskey.
“We could look to Britain or America or anywhere else in the world, but were left lacking a film that reflected our experience of reaching adulthood in this hilarious, beautiful and bizarre country.”
Here, we introduce you to the film’s four main actors who let us in on the characters they play, tell us what it was like working on Suburban Wildlife and what they’ll be doing going forward.
We’ve also got some great behind the scenes videos from the film which you can check out below.
Meet the Cast of Imogen McCluskey’s coming-of-age drama Suburban Wildlife.
Maddy McWilliam – Nina
Suburban Wildlife was very much a milestone for me as a performer; the content and production of the film really pushed me to take my acting to the next level, not only through characterisation but also as a leading lady. I had so much fun playing with the juicy dynamic of unrequited love. Something, I’m sure, for all of us is super relatable content. My main focus throughout Suburbn Wildlife was the overarching narrative for Nina: her inability to accept herself. Suburban Wildlife finds Nina recently graduated at the frontier of a new chapter of her life. This chapter will confront Nina with her greatest fears: She’s gay and she’s totally in love with her best friend.
These two internal truths are so closely intertwined that Nina has spent her life repressing herself, her sexuality, her dreams, afraid to accept the reality of who she is. If either one of those were true it would automatically implicate the other.
This is the crux of Nina’s internal conflict.
At the end of the day being a queer person in love with a straight person is a journey every queer person has been through. It felt so empowering and cathartic being able to share that story on screen. Having the opportunity to play such a complex character as Nina is something I will be grateful to Imogen McCluskey, our fearless leader, for the rest of my career.
Since Suburban Wildlife I have gone on to do some amazing projects; you can find me featuring on ABC’s The Checkout (2018) Pretty Good Films’ Without a Tracey and EU award winning short film Gem. I continue to work across all mediums of performance and look forward to featuring in Crack X Festival 2018 through the generous help of TANTRUM’s trajectory residency.
Hannah Lehmann – Louise
Working on Suburban Wildlife was such a joy. It was incredible to walk onto such a supportive, safe and collaborative set. The young cast and crew are all so talented and dedicated, and it makes me really excited to be young and up-and-coming within the Australian film industry. I play Louise, the generally soft spoken and responsible leader of the group. When we meet my character, she is at the cusp of a new and exciting life in London, but feels burdened by her lifelong group of friends – and the guilt of this accumulates in ways that no-one really understands. This was the first time l’d played a character whose main relationship with another character in the story was non-romantic. I love this film because it interrogates female friendships from all angles – not only the good and bad, but the jealousy, confusion and love too. I can’t wait for this film to be released! Currently l work on my own projects, including The Out There, an Instagram series commissioned by Adolescent Content in the USA. I’ll be heading back to LA next month to see out a couple of projects l’ve been working on for a few months, as a writer and director. Fun times ahead!
Priscilla Doueihy – Alice
Alice is a passionate, emotional, tough young woman. She’s got a big heart and just wants to love and be loved but growing up with absent parents, she’s learnt to internalise her feelings and guard herself from the thing she longs the most. Shooting this film was a very rewarding experience. The very thing Alice lacked in her life, I gained by playing her. We really became family. We were all in the same boat starting out together, and I remember one day on set looking around and it hit me that around me are the next group of creatives that will soon be accepting awards on stages and continue to create projects that represent the voices of our Australian generation.
Alex King – Kane
Kane was such an interesting character to play because his struggles are so relatable. He’s feeling lost and unsure about what he wants to do with his life. The plans he makes never seem to work out and he’s afraid that he’s going to be left behind by his friends, who he perceives to have a clearer path than him. Shooting Suburban Wildlife was an absolute dream. We were so lucky to have Imogen leading us through the experience. She had a strong vision of what she wanted the film to be but was also an amazing collaborator, allowing us to bring our characters to life in our own way. I’m really excited for everyone to see the film because I think it will resonate with a lot of people. I’ll be appearing soon in a few exciting projects from members of the Suburban Wildlife team, including short film Surprise Party and web series Without A Tracey.
Suburban Wildlife is due for release this year. You can can keep us to date with the film at www.suburbanwildlifefilm.com