While Teresa Palmer is a relatively new face in the acting world, she did manage to do something that no one else has done on screen. What’s that? She managed to land the first love scene with Daniel Radcliffe on screen. Yes “Harry Potter” fans… Teresa got Harry first.
But while that was one subject we covered during our roundtable interview, we also talked about her upcoming work in “Kids in America” and how she still hasn’t watched or read any “Harry Potter” movie or book. Crazy, I know.
As always, you can either read the transcript below or download the audio of the interview as an MP3 here.
“December Boys” opens this Friday in limited release and later this month it’ll go wide.
Question: You were in The Grudge 2, right? Were you one of the schoolgirls?
Teresa: I was the bitchy schoolgirl. The mean one. She gets killed.
That was shot after this?
Teresa: Actually it was. I shot this two years ago when I was 19 and then I went ahead and did Grudge 2 after that; my first American movie.
We hear that when you were cast, Daniel hadn’t been cast yet. So what was your reaction when you found that out?
Teresa: This is going to sound really weird but I actually didn’t know who Daniel was because I hadn’t seen the Harry Potter films and I heard ‘Daniel Radcliffe’ and I was like ‘oh, okay’ and then someone was like ‘Harry Potter, helloooo!’ I was like ‘oh my gosh! I haven’t seen it. I didn’t know. But, everyone around me made such a huge deal about it that I couldn’t help but be really nervous when I first met him. I remember I was like shaking. It was sort of bizarre because I’d never seen him in anything. Too much hype about it but it was sort of great for us. We shot in South Australia where I’m from and we had no celebrities in South Australia at all. For him to choose a little Australian independent film after Harry Potter was just so amazing for an Australian, just so exciting and, obviously, for me personally, it was such a huge thing to have him onboard.
So you don’t like fantasy films? What kinds of movies do you like?
Teresa: I do like fantasy films. I’ve been told that you need like two weeks to sit down and watch all the Harry Potter films and read all the books at the same time and I’ve been just so crazy busy the last few years, I haven’t been able to. But my favorite film, which the girls will understand what I’m talking about, is The Notebook. Everyone loves that. We all cry. [One of the journalists in the room shows her his “Notebook” notebook]. Oh my gosh, The Notebook!
Now you’ll have to give it to her.
Teresa: You’ll have to give it to me now. Thank you.
It has all my notes in it.
Teresa: [laughing]. That’s so great. I love it. But, to watch a film like that, it’s so beautiful and you get wrapped up in the story and you want to have a relationship like that and you want to die together and all these silly things. But, in terms of acting, I like acting in dramas. I like pushing myself and constantly being challenged. The first film I did, actually, I played a rape victim who was pregnant with my brother’s baby. Pretty intense especially for the first time I’d ever acted as well. And then December Boys came along after that. So, I’d say drama for sure to act in.
Before you started the film, did you look at any Potter videos because if you saw the first one you’d freak out because Dan is so young.
Teresa: I thought it would be better if I didn’t because I’d probably watch and become obsessed with the films and get wrapped up with the whole thing so I was like ‘just wait until the movie is over. Then you can watch it’ and I haven’t seen it yet but I will. I promise.
We heard that your prior film was intense and this is a very mature movie too so how do you handle all of that material.
Teresa: I think it’s very easy to get typecast out here and I think that’s something that I tried to steer away from as much as possible by doing some darker films and taking on some darker, grittier characters. I really love the fact that I’ve never seen or heard of a character like Lucy before who was this young flower girl who is very overtly sexual and she uses her body to manipulate men. It was so interesting to play with all of those elements.
What do you draw on to play this very sexual character or the victimized character in the last movie?
Teresa: I think, that was the huge challenge of it all because both of those characters are quite far removed from who I am. I’m naturally quite a bubbly, happy person and I’m not a seductress so it was hard to draw from any personal experiences but I did watch a lot of different movies. I watch Lolita for December Boys. I studied Dominique Swain’s performance. I thought she was really brilliant in that movie. It was her first film and different things like that and with the rape movie, I actually sat down and talked to people who had experienced those sorts of things in their life. I just tried to get as much information as I could and just get it in my head and put something our there and the director kind of directed me and helped me out trying to create and mold the character.
Did you see the Kubrick “Lolita”?
Teresa: I didn’t. I’ve only seen the most recent one, the 1997 one.
Did you get to hang out with the guys or Dan between scenes because it looks like it was pretty isolated?
Teresa: Yeah. I, obviously, shot in South Australia, Adelaide which is my hometown. I’ve lived there my entire life so I had my friends there. I got to stay there. Daniel came and shot there and, obviously, didn’t know anyone so we got to hang out a fair bit in between shooting. But, for the most part, I kind of went home and hung out with my friends. I had been traveling and working on this other film in Sydney so it was actually refreshing to come back home and be able to sleep in my bed and work out of my own place.
What was it like to work with Daniel?
Teresa: Daniel is such a delight to work with. He is so brilliant and talented. At the same time, he has all this amazing success and fame and all these things which, you would think, he would be very affected by it all but he really isn’t. He’s very unaffected and unassuming. Just like a regular 18-year-old guy. I think, he really brought that to set and made the younger boys, who obviously, idolized him, just feel so comfortable. They’re all like brothers hanging out. I felt like the sister. It was so fun. It was such a good experience.
Can you talk about shooting the love scene in it with him?
Teresa: Of course.
What was that like?
Teresa: Obviously a scene of that nature is always going to be very awkward and I was of course a little nervous. I had done a sex scene and kissing scenes before whereas Dan had never done that. I remember him saying ‘I’m a little bit nervous’ and we both kind of admitted it to each other. We laughed about it. That was actually the last scene we shot in the film and we finished shooting it at 4AM in the morning on Christmas Eve and everyone was so tired and by that stage you’re so tired that you’re just on auto-pilot and you didn’t even have time to think about what you’re doing. You’re just like, ‘Ahh, let’s just get this out of the way. Let’s just do it.’ I think Rod Hardy did that especially. He knew that was how it was going to be. The last day of the shoot, we just want to get it done, and we really did and it was absolutely fun.
He said he didn’t. He said that it just worked out that way.
Teresa: What!? Oh that’s funny. I thought he totally planned it out.
You didn’t mention the novel “Lolita” as the inspiration for your character.
Teresa: I actually heard she wasn’t in the novel. Has anyone read the novel?
Teresa: I heard that Lucy wasn’t in the novel, that it was something that they played with the idea of bringing a love interest, one of the boys, obviously the oldest one, like years ago when they first had the idea to do the film. I think she was kind of created from that as far as I know, but I could be wrong. But yes, I didn’t end up reading the book. I was just told that she wasn’t in it.
Did you build a back story then because I didn’t quite get her in your head because they say something about she’s going back to her father’s so you wonder if she comes here every year and do this?
Teresa: Yeah. Exactly. I did build a back story. Rod and I worked together and that’s actually one of the reasons why I got the film was because he asked me before the meeting, he said, ‘Look, I want you to think about the character, tell me your thoughts.’ I came with this elaborate back story starting from when she was 3 and like where she went to school and all these funny things. He was like ‘Whoa! That’s incredible,’ because I had so many of the same ideas for the character. My ideas were that she was really brought up in a very dysfunctional family in a very sexually charged environment. If she is staying in this little caravan with her uncle, this tiny little caravan, you don’t really know what happens to her and I think she’s been subjected to a lot of bad influences. I think she’s actually quite a tragic sort of character and I think that her relationship with Maps, she really gets as much out of it as what he does.
What are you playing in Kids in America?
Teresa: I am playing Tori Frederking who is the dream girl of Topher Grace’s character, Matt Franklin, and it’s an 80’s comedy so I did the 60’s with December Boys, now I did the 80’s with Kids in America and it was really fun. It’s like American Graffiti but for the 80’s. It’s sort of got that Superbad type of feeling to it. It’s so hilarious. I worked with comedic geniuses. It was wonderful. It comes out in March
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