The Hilarious, Low-Budget Aussie Film with 83% on Rotten Tomatoes
It's not often a film comes along that leaves you simultaneously chuckling out loud and cringing with recognition at its portrayal of a quarter-life crisis – but that's just what That's Not Me does. From the protagonist's perfectly drawn dalliance with a douchebag hipster in Melbourne, to appearances by local talent including Isabel Lucas, there's a lot to enjoy about this flick. Ahead of the film's release on DVD and iTunes on 13 December, we interviewed co-writer and star Alice Foulcher about how she and her husband, director Gregory Erdstein, got this thing written; and what Aussie actor life is *really* like. By Grace Jennings-Edquist
Foulcher plays actor twin sisters Polly (pictured) and Amy in the film – sometimes appearing as both in the same scene.
The film deals with that strange, kind of uncomfortable 20-something quarter life crisis stage. Do you think that's something we're seeing more of in our generation (and if so, why do you think that is?)
Apparently we are a generation who have been afforded the most opportunities, but consequently we are also one of the most disappointed generations. Our hopes and expectations don't often align with the limitations of reality.
But I don't think of that as a bad thing. The quarter-life crisis is an opportunity for a bit of self-reflection, and for you to consider what really matters in life. Spoiler alert: it's not fame or adulation. What really matters is people – friends, family and the way we interact with people. That got deep really quickly and I probably sound like a total wanker now.
How much did you draw on your own experience as an Aussie actor in the (hilarious) portrayals of the main character, Polly and her experiences with the industry – the challenges and pitfalls of auditions, competing with a relatively small talent pool in Australia, pressure to move to LA, etc?
Not a whole lot, to be honest! I've acted in a few short films we've made in recent years, but aside from that I did my drama degree back in 2004-2006, and then took a long break from acting. A lot the inspiration for Polly's acting stories came from friend's experiences. But other aspects were very much based on my own experiences – having worked in cinemas and been on many an awkward date.
Tell us about the actual co-writing process, and about working as a husband and wife team. Is the writing process a 9-5 kind of proposition? Do you have to enforce pretty strict rules about 'work talk' vs 'partner time'?
We aren't good with delineating! It's been a very all-consuming experience. Particularly during the height of production; we'd wake up talking about the film and go to sleep talking about the film. But I guess we don't do things by halves, so we only know how to completely throw ourselves into something. It's a good and a bad thing, but ultimately rewarding.
The writing process was surprisingly seamless. We spent eight months in a residency in Paris writing the first draft (and working on other short projects), and then we came home and worked with a script editor/marriage counsellor (kidding).
We don't sit side by side when we write. Someone has the first go, then we pass it over to the other for them to have a crack at it. We don't sit at the desk from nine to five either. We go for walks, go to galleries, and get inspiration from other sources. We work best in the morning, so we try to dedicate the mornings to the desk where possible. I fade creatively after lunch.
Anything you can tell us about what you have planned next - either for promoting this film or plans for another project?
We've begun working on the next project, and have carved out January and February to work solidly on our treatment and story notes for it. We can't wait to get stuck into it!
Who's your favourite female character in an Aussie film, of all time (apart from your own films, of course)?
Can't go past Muriel. It's a perfect film, perfect character (in all her glorious flaws) and perfect performance from Toni Colette. I want to see more Muriels on Australian screens.
That's Not Me will be released in Australia for home entertainment (iTunes, DVDs etc) from 13 December (it'll also be released in the US, Canada and UK in mid-February.) See more on Twitter (the film's here and Alice's here) and on Facebook here.