Did you play any games other than Hide and Seek? We did, because we were filming in two beautiful mansions – and on those locations you are sort of forced to all hang out in one room to- gether. Sometimes on sets people like to go off and do their own thing – go to their trailer and read a book – but we all connected so much that everyone stayed in this room and hung out and played games.. I introduced people to backgammon. I’m a big backgammon player – I love it and I’ve got a couple of good sets.

This isn’t your first experience starring in a psychological thriller or horror film. What’s the attraction? I like doing them and my role in The Babysitter opened a lot of doors for me. Filmmakers in the genre gravitated towards me, because I think they thought I could do it well.

Why do people enjoy being terrified at the movies? I think it’s partly because you are seeing these amazing stories that originated in someone’s imagination. It’s not escapism exactly, because you’re almost a part of the filmmaker’s experience when you are watching the film. You’re transported into another world. I like scary movies with comedy, when you have the adrenaline rush and the jump scares, and then you have that relief as well [Weaving starts breathing heavily, acting as an engrossed audience member] … ‘Aagh, what’s going to happen? Don’t go behind that door! Why are you running upstairs?... Go the other way!’


Which horror films and thrillers do you particularly like? Personally, the horror movies I really enjoy are from the 80s, like the Freddy Krueger [A Nightmare On Eem Street] films. My fiancé, [writer/producer] Jimmy Warden, loves the genre and sat me down and we watched all the 80s classics together. I like the ones with weird monsters that look a bit like puppets but I’m sure were terrifying at the time they came out. Films like Carrie and IT are too scary for me. I like the horror comedy genre films like The Cabin In The Woods, where the tension is broken by laughs. It’s the same with dramas; I like the relief provided by comedy. I worked on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and, in that film, you’re about to cry and then you find yourself laughing. That’s because Martin McDonagh [the writer and director of the film] is the most amazing screenwriter and filmmaker and he can weave that fine line between drama and comedy.

How did you initially get interested in drama? We moved around a lot throughout my childhood because of my parents’ work. At that time my dad (who now teaches film) was a business consultant. As a child, I was very shy and such an introvert, and it was hard for me because we were moving around all the time. My parents put me into a drama class when I was about five years old to bring me out of my shell. There was something so freeing for me right away about being on stage. For my first role I played the Grinch, which was funny. Everyone was quite shocked at the performance asking: ‘Who is this tiny little shy child suddenly transforming into this over-the-top character?’ Drama became really important to me.

Your uncle is the acclaimed actor Hugo Weaving, who has starred in so many indelible films. How inspirational has he been? As a child, I was too young to watch a lot of his films, but I saw him in The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Matrix

and in lots of plays. And now I love his work of course. He’s just the most beautiful, amazing uncle and a fantastic actor. He’s been helpful… but to me, he’s Uncle Hugs, Uncle Hugo. We were both in a film called Mystery Road, but we didn’t have a scene together. Uncle Hugo’s son, my cousin Harry Greenwood, is also an actor. The whole family are artists and performers. My mum works in art therapy and teaches museum studies, and her mother was an artist, so it must be in the genes. But we don’t discuss acting a lot, when you’re with family, you’re just happy to be around them; you don’t want to talk about work.


It sounds like your parents were encouraging when you decided to act professionally? How did it happen? They have been so supportive. I am the luckiest person I know. Honestly, it was a fluke. I remember loving drama at school. I think my dad thought: ‘Oh all right, we’ll play with the idea.’ I said: ‘I’d like an agent,’ so they arranged a meeting, thinking nothing would probably happen. But I got an agent when I was 13 and then straight away I got an audition for a show called Out Of The Blue and then the role in Home And Away.


Was your starring role as the aristocratic Irma Leopold in the mini-series, Picnic At Hanging Rock one of the defining moments in your career? It’s also scary in parts. It was definitely defining for me. It was something I’d always wanted to do. I think it’s chilling and kind of creepy more than scary – I would say it’s unnerving and disturbing. Larysa Kondracki [director] was so great to work with; she was loving and welcoming. It felt really collaborative. And it’s such a big part of Australian culture. In the story, a group of schoolgirls disappear mysteriously – and I thought it really happened until my sister said: ‘Google it – it’s not true!’ You grow up and learn about it in Australia; you have to read the 1967 book by Joan Lindsay.

You mentioned Three Billboards – that must have been exciting for you? Oh my goodness, that was an amazing experience and it was nerve-racking. I had a small role, but you know what they say: ‘There’s no small role, there are only small actors!

After that, you’ll be starring in ill & Ted Face The Music, a sequel to the cult classics, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, starring Keanu Reeves as Ted and Alex Winter as Bill? Yes, it’s so exciting. Keanu and Alex are both back and it’s going to be absolutely amazing. I play Alex’s daughter, who his character, Bill, names Thea, after Ted. Bridget Lundy-Paine plays Ted’s daughter, who’s named after Bill – so she’s called Billy!

Do you have a five- or ten-year plan? I don’t even dare to do that. But I do have goals. I know that there’s a big difference between being famous and being successful. I want to be successful; fame is so fickle – and, in terms of roles, I want to do things that challenge and scare me. What I learned from Home And Away was that playing the same role [Indi Walker] for three years, you get to know the character and then you’re itching to do something new, something different, and you learn from every experience – and that’s what I want to do, keep learning.



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