Jacinda Barrett Matching Jack Interview

Jacinda Barrett Matching Jack Interview

Jacinda Barrett Matching Jack Interview

The Queensland born actress Jacinda Barrett can't quite believe that she's finally starring in an Aussie film. She's been acting since 1997 and you'll no doubt recognize her from films like Ladder 49 opposite Joaquim Phoenix, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason or The Last Kiss with Zach Braff and Rachel Bilson but despite all her success in Los Angeles, where she now lives with her husband actor Gabriel Macht (The Spirit) and her two-year-old daughter Satine, Barrett has never starred in an Australia before. In Matching Jack, directed by Nadia Tass (Malcolm) she plays a woman called Marisa Hagen who discovers in the course of 24-hours that her only child Jack (Tom Russell) is seriously ill and her husband (Richard Roxburgh) has been unfaithful throughout their entire marriage. Marisa, however, eventually realizes that her husband's infidelities are a good thing. Perhaps he fathered another child and perhaps that sibling could be the bone marrow donor Jack desperately needs to survive. Marisa begins frantically tracking down every woman her husband has ever slept with. The film also stars Colin Friels, Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and James Nesbitt (Murphy's Law). Gaynor Flynn spoke to the actress over the phone from Los Angeles.

Interview with Jacinda Barrett

Question: How did you come to land this role?

Jacinda Barrett: I got a call from my agent in Sydney on a Sunday night saying I've got this offer for you on this movie and we've been looking for a while to do a movie in Australia and so this is my first Australian movie. And I read it in one sitting and my husband went to bed and I stayed up and I was sitting in my chair crying. I was just incredibly moved by this story and the fact that it was a true story you know they seemed like such impossible circumstances. And this character for a woman you so rarely get to play such a witty, strong, determined woman who has such an incredible arc. And of course I knew Nadia and David's (Parker) movies and had had them for years so it was an easy decision.

Question: Nadia Tass is one of those directors who loves to mix drama and comedy, was the fact that this film wasn't a straight drama also part of the appeal for you?

Jacinda Barrett: It's a fine line going back and forth between the two because it's a unique situation because even when it is funny its always such difficult circumstances in this movie. And then you want to be true to the people you're representing. We went to the oncology ward in Melbourne for research and saw these kids going through this with their families who just live in these hospitals and saw how tenacious and loving and how determined they are. You wanted to be true to their stories at all times as well.

Question: Do you prefer comedy or drama?

Jacinda Barrett: I've had a lot more experience doing drama so I guess I feel very comfortable in that. But I love doing the comedy. It's so fun to laugh at work and we did laugh on this, I think its two sides of the same coin. You need that release because some days were so intense. There's one scene where I'm lying on the little trundle bed things in the hospital next to Jack's bed and James Nesbitt who plays Connor is talking to me. I went so deep on that one and then I had to stay in that place because they kept shooting. I felt so awful afterwards.

Question: Does being married to an actor help at those times?

Jacinda Barrett: Oh yeah. Gabriel understands what I'm going through and he was there the entire time with me in Melbourne. He was only going to come for the first half and then come back and forth from L.A., but he just ended up staying the whole time and it was so valuable to have him and my daughter Satine to come home to every night.

Question: What was Nadia like to work with?

Jacinda Barrett: Oh great. I've only worked with a few female directors and I've loved it and I would love to work with more. It's a shame there aren't more women directors out there and I've worked with female directors on a lot of the more sensitive material I've worked on. Yeah I find that they bring a warmth and a sense of emotional understanding, especially to the female characters in the movie and obviously this movie is female driven I think having a female director made a big difference. It would have been a different movie if a male had directed it.

Question: What's the most striking thing about Nadia?

Jacinda Barrett: Nadia was an actor herself and loves to work with actors. Loves that process. Loves to get into the nuts and bolts of it and hash it out. I've worked with other directors who love to do that too, but that was very much her way. On this movie, this was the first time I've worked on something where almost the whole family was involved. Their son was doing stills and David Parker, her husband is the DOP and the writer and the producer I think as well. And Nadia is the director and the producer as well so there was so much of her and her family in the movie and that was a very intimate experience. And I've never been in that kind of situation before and it was lovely.

Question: This is your first Australian film and you were looking for something for a while. What exactly were you looking for?

Jacinda Barrett: First of all and I know this is going to sound really silly but I wanted to do something very Aussie to me and very in the world and in the way of life I understood growing up there. I haven't lived in Australia since I was 18 and I have a house in Australia and I come home all the time. There's never been a year I haven't come home so I've always been connected to it. But I'll have moments when I run into an Aussie over here or I'll read a book or I see a movie that will take me back to some indescribable Australian essence that its almost like a smell, a taste, its very visceral and sensual. So I wanted to do a very Australian movie but also something that was a real incredible journey for me as an actor. Something that would allow me to learn and challenge myself. And this is the most emotionally challenging role I've ever done. It really pushed my boundaries and allowed me to grow as an actress.

Question: When did you get the acting bug?

Jacinda Barrett: I was acting when I was still in high school. In Brisbane I did like 14 TV commercials before I left high school and I did theatre and things like that. Then while I was still in high school I was given the opportunity to go overseas to Paris and Japan and Germany as a model. My family naturally were like no way you're staying in high school. But I was so desperate to travel and see the world that I immediately went away and started modeling. But after a couple of years that started to change. I enjoyed the traveling and the lifestyle but I was feeling not challenged creatively so I started doing other things.

Question: Like what?

Jacinda Barrett: I went to school in Germany and learned to speak German and I went and got my pilots license and it was right around that time that I got a part in a movie and I got the bug again. So I quit modeling and went back to school for two years. I went to the British American Drama Academy in Oxford. I didn't have a manager or an agent. Didn't go on a single audition, I just went to school and then after that I got an agent and then I started working in L.A..

Question: Did modeling give you the financial freedom to stop and change careers and take those two years to study?

Jacinda Barrett: It was an incredible gift but it was a huge risk on my part I have to say because when I quit modeling I could have kept working and kept making money but I just didn't feel it was right for me any more. So I used my savings to fund my education and not work. But in acting I found something that challenged me on multiple levels and something I was really engaged in and something I was really happy doing. I mean I knew the odds were so against me. A model turned actress, it's such a cliché. I really didn't know if I had a chance.

Question: Did you feel you had to work harder to prove yourself?

Jacinda Barrett: Yes. You have to work hard no matter what especially in L.A.. There are a thousand girls who are talented and attractive and have the whole package going into every audition that you're going in for so its always a struggle and you always have to work hard. So I don't think one leads to the other by any means. I just had to go in like everyone else and just try and win the audition.

Question: Did you ever think you might not make it as an actress?

Jacinda Barrett: Oh yeah definitely. Most actors I know go through that all the time even after they have a fully established career. They always wonder if they'll ever work again. (Laughs).

But my husband is amazing in never doubting me.

Question: Do you have a plan for your career?

Jacinda Barrett: I think its very hard to have a plan for your career as an actor and say I'm going to do this and this and this because unless you're writing and directing the projects and if you're getting the funding for the projects, then you can say that because you're going to make it happen. But I just know I want to work on really good material that challenges me. And whether that's in film or television or theater it doesn't matter. And material that illuminates the human condition.

Question: Do you plan to set up your own production company? That seems to be what happens with most actors in order to have more control over their careers.

Jacinda Barrett: I don't know about a production company per se. I just directed a short film that I'm excited about. I just did that in Detroit. I'm not acting in it I just directed it and that was a fun brand new experience for me. And I'd like to do more directing but I'll do a couple of shorts first to get my feet wet and to get experience and to fall over a few times.

Question: What's the name of your short film?

Jacinda Barrett: Right now its called Girl in the Hoodie.

Question: Did you cast anyone known?

Jacinda Barrett: I cast my two-year-old daughter, she's the star of it. (Laughs)

You could be setting a bad precedence….a star is born and all that.
(Laughs) I know. I know. But Gabriel was doing a movie out there so we got a bunch of actors from the movie. It was insane. Trying to work with a two-year-old was impossible.

Question: What's the story?

Jacinda Barrett: She's a bit of a badass like Angelina Jolie in her movies and she's absolutely angelic looking but she's a little ragged looking in her green hoodie out on the street and it's a tale of retribution. It's funny.

Question: Do you think she'll stick with acting?

Jacinda Barrett: No she didn't like it that much. (Laughs). I will catch her every now and then on the couch with a magazine upside down and I'll say what are you doing and she'll say 'I'm reading a script mummy. I'm preparing for an audition.' But growing up with two actors it's kind of inevitable but she doesn't know what it is and she's not really interested and she didn't really take to it when we did the movie. She was like okay I'm done lets go play.

Question: What's next?

Jacinda Barrett: We have the Middle men premier which is a big summer release and its about the beginning of the internet porn industry.

Question: What do you play in that one?

Jacinda Barrett: I don't play a porn star in that one (laughs). It stars Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, James Caan and my husband Gabriel. That's our first movie together.

Question: How was that?

Jacinda Barrett: It was great but we didn't work together we were just on location together. We were in Phoenix together but we didn't have any scenes together and I play Luke Wilson's wife and it spans ten years of our marriage. I'm a big haired, long-nailed, God fearing Texas gal who gets a crazy amount of money from their billing services for the internet porn and they don't know how to handle it. I think Variety described it as Boogie Nights meets Goodfellas. It was a lot of fun.

Interview by Gaynor Flynn

Matching Jack
Cast: Jacinda Barrett, James Nesbitt, Yvonne Strahovski, Richard Roxburgh, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tom Russell
Director: Nadia Tass
Genre: Drama
Rated: M

Synopsis: An inspirational drama about the unbreakable bond between parent and child. Marisa (Barrett) is a mother forced to take matters into her own hands to save the life of her son, Jack (Russell) after he is diagnosed with Leukemia. Determined to find a bone marrow donor, Marisa undertakes a tireless and exhaustive search, including delving into the infidelities of her husband David (Roxburgh) in the hope that a donor might exist as a result of one of his many extra marital affairs. Meanwhile, during his treatment, Jack befriends Finn (Smit-McPhee), a young Irish boy in the next bed who has also been diagnosed with the same disease whilst travelling the world with his father, Connor (Nesbitt). In contrast to Marisa's feelings of frustration and anger, Connor is determined to be positive - inspiring his son by creating a beautiful, imaginary world in which he can face his illness. Marisa and Jack slowly form a bond with Connor and Finn, leading them all on a path to self-discovery, honesty and hope.

Release Date: September 30th, 2010
Website: www.matchingjack.com