Ronan Keating & Mark Lamprell Goddess


Ronan Keating & Mark Lamprell Goddess

Goddess

Cast: Laura Michelle Kelly, Ronan Keating, Magda Szubanski, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Dustin Clare, Pia Miranda, Corinne Grant
Director: Mark Lamprell
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Romance

Synopsis: Elspeth Dickens (Laura Michelle Kelly) has agreed to be a stay-at-home mum while husband James (Ronan Keating) follows his dream of saving whales. Then after a few years, it will be Elspeth's turn to return to her singing career.

The agreement takes the young couple and their three year-old twin boys to the southernmost tip of Australia where James can be close to the whales. But with James constantly away, Elspeth struggles with the isolation and constant pressure of caring for two exuberant boys.

Trying to help, James gives Elspeth a webcam so they can speak on the net, but in the Southern Ocean, he's always out of range. Lonely and isolated, Elspeth has an idea. She sets up a webcast site in her kitchen and starts tosing her 'sink songs' to the world. At first, no one is watching but with the help of a local boffin she's logged on to the world's social media - and finds an audience.

One of them is in Sydney - advertising executive Cassandra Wolfe (Magda Szubanski), who is desperately seeking a figurehead for the "Goddess" campaign, a new laptop designed just for women. When Cassandra sees Elspeth's webcast, she knows she's found her. She convinces Elspeth to be the face of Goddess and, with nanny hired, Elspeth is jetting to Sydney to star in the campaign.

Being a watchful mum, she sets up her webcam as a kind of a 'nanny-cam' to make sure her boys are okay with their nanny. But unexpectedly, James returns home. Somewhat annoyed, he assumes the role of Mr Mum - of course unaware that Elspeth is watching his every move on the webcam. But what she doesn't realise is that she has accidentally included the webcam on her website. The whole world is also watching James.

As Elspeth's star rises, their relationship is strained and their marriage becomes a top-rating real life soap drama - leaving Elspeth with the biggest decision of her life.

"If the polar ice is really melting. If icebergs crack and tear apart If glaciers tumble to the ocean. Why can't I melt the ice around your heart? "
Elspeth - thinking she may have lost James forever

Introducing two of the world's most talented performers to the big screen for the first time in starring roles, Goddess is a feel-good musical full of catchy, original songs, vibrant dance routines and a cast of unforgettable characters. Goddess - a wonderful celebration of being a mum and having a life.

"Do they mind their golden rules? And are they booked into a good school?
And shouldn't they be learning speech and drama? It's too late to book them in. Is that an immortal sin? I'm a bad, bad, bad mother."

Elspeth Dickens - after the mother's group meeting.

Goddess Release Date March 7th, 2013


Introduction

"I'm ripping off my collar, I'm gonna howl and holler, I'm gonna have a pillow fight, I'm gonna dance the whole darned night. I love a private party.
Nobody's invited. Cos that's what I decided."

Elspeth Dickens - on her first night in Sydney without the kids!

Based on the 1996 cult hit one-woman show, Sink Songs by Joanna Weinberg, Goddess introduces the West End's brightest star, Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins) to a lead role for the cinematic screen as Elspeth Dickens. Also making his movie debut in Goddess is Irish pop superstar Ronan Keating. They are joined by an Australian star ensemble that includes Magda Szubanski as Cassandra Wolfe, Corinne Grant (also debuting) as Fizz, Pia Miranda as Sophie, musical comedy stars Tamsin Carroll and Lucy Durack; Cloudstreet star Hugo Johnstone-Burt, and Dustin Clare as Rory.

Goddess is directed by Mark Lamprell (My Mother Frank, After the Rain), with original songs by Joanna Weinberg, musical direction by Judy Morris (Happy Feet) and choreographed by Kelley Abbey (Happy Feet) from a screenplay by Mark Lamprell and Joanna Weinberg.

The film is produced by Richard Keddie (Hawke, Little Fish, Curtin) and Andrena Finlay (Razzle Dazzle, Me Myself I). Co-producer is Ella Keddie. The creative production team is director of photography Damian Wyvill (Australia, The Chronicles of Narnia - The Dawn Treader), production designer Annie Beauchamp (Moulin Rouge!, My Mother Frank) and art director Charlie Revais (The Pacific, The Matrix Revolutions).

Goddess is a Roadshow Films release.

From sink to stage, the inspiration

"Think Bridget Jones meets Mamma Mia." - Richard Keddie, Producer

The story of Goddess's journey begins with Sink Songs, a cabaret by Cape Town-born and raised Joanna Weinberg, who wrote the one-woman show based on her own experiences.

In 1996, Joanna Weinberg and her husband moved to Australia from South Africa. "I was an immigrant with two very young children and a husband who had a new job. He was in over his head and he was travelling an enormous amount and I felt incredibly isolated," she says. "I didn't know anybody in Australia at all - I've got no family here - and I just felt desperate, quite honestly."

Both Joanna Weinberg's parents were classical musicians, and she had trained from a very early age. But she went another way. "I was discovered busking on a street corner when I was 17," she says. "I started writing songs when I was 17, and I have been writing songs ever since."

She was somewhat of a pioneer when she turned to social media to alleviate her loneliness. "Goddess is a story that comes from a very true place in me. I loved my two children, but I had come from quite a big career in South Africa where I had the pick of whatever I wanted to do workwise, and I was very fulfilled over there, and I literally came from that to being a full time mum and housewife and I was lonely and unfulfilled.

"I started to reach out via the internet. Obviously now, everybody is on YouTube, but this was before all of that, and I used it very much as a tool to find people. I surfed like mad late at night and I met crazy people ... and made friends in chat rooms. There were no chat rooms for young mums. And there were no chat rooms for people in my situation. And I think I was going a little bit crazy, actually."

"I've always written shows and worked from a very internal place - and I thought, 'I am just going to make a story. I am just going to make a story of what would happen if I sang my created work and was discovered via the internet'."

The result was a one-woman theatre show called Sink Songs, initially comprising just Joanna Weinberg and a piano player with Weinberg playing all the characters: herself, her husband and children, people she'd met over the internet and the fictitious person who discovered her via it. "Even the geeky computer guy!" she laughs.

She played to small venues in Melbourne and Sydney, sometimes to no more than eight people. But, she explains, "Everybody kept telling me: 'This is a movie. This is a movie. Oh my God - you should make this into a movie.' But that was like saying to me 'You should really go to the moon'."

Fortuitously, a friend suggested she do a matinée performance for mums. "So I went to a suburb where I knew there were a lot of mums who might be free at that time of day. It proved quite a historic performance because the initial producer of this piece came to that performance. And it went off! There were all these mums! And they laughed! They all came up to me afterwards, and the universal thing that they said to me was 'If only I could get my husband to see this piece he would understand how I feel.'"

Mum and Producer, Andrena Finlay, came to that performance and optioned it as a film. "I immediately thought this feel-good, authentic and original musical could be embraced as a film by audiences the world over." Andrena Finlay said- and immediately called writer/director Mark Lamprell. br>
From stage to script, genesis of Goddess

"I have always loved musicals. The very first film I ever saw was The Sound of Music. I was three years old and my mother dragged me into town in this stupid mustard bowtie to see it." - Mark Lamprell, Director

The image of a demure Julie Andrews whirling in ecstasy across the Austrian Alps at the start of The Sound of Music is printed indelibly into Mark Lamprell's psyche. "The curtain opened and Julie Andrews came marching across the screen and burst into song and I just went 'Wahoo! That's amazing!' And ever since then I have had this great affection for musicals. My sister was in love with Camelot. I remember her dragging me 15 times to see the bloody thing, and it just sort of became a part of how I think of movies - as musicals."

When I saw Joanna Weinberg doing her one-woman show "There was just something very resonant about the character and the story, and it was just an extraordinary moment for me, seeing it," says Mark Lamprell. "I sat in the audience and honestly, my spine was completely tingling and I thought: 'This is a movie! This is going to be a big movie and I can really do something sort of extraordinary with it.'"

Seven years later his spine-tingling moment has turned into cinema magic. But there was a long road with many twists in between.

Working tirelessly for seven years, Andrena Finlay and Mark Lamprell set about a series of small investor performances with Joanna Weinberg singing the songs, and Mark Lamprell telling the story, and it helped them raise critical investment to develop and trigger the ultimate financing of the film.

Mark Lamprell continues "Joanna Weinberg had a lot of wonderful songs, but they were of a one-woman show cabaret genre and we had to shift them from that into the movie musical genre."

Accordingly, Mark Lamprell brought in his friend Judy Morris, who had co-directed the hit Happy Feet, as musical director. Judy Morris, who immediately thought Joanna Weinberg's songs were "quite wonderful" instilled the help of producer Phil Ramone and his arranger Henry Hey as well as Australian music producer Audius, to massage the material into a strong movie fit.

For Judy Morris, it was a labour of love. "People love musicals because there's nothing that touches people in the way that music does," she explains. "It can take you there in three beats. It can take you somewhere: to happiness or sadness, or the blues, or a broken heart, or anything you're going through. The fastest path to any of that is music."

Joanna Weinberg concurs, adding that Goddess goes into territory few current movie musicals have. "I am so incredibly excited to have had the opportunity to put original music on film. It's very rare that that happens - because we live in the age of the juke box musical," she says. "I am passionate about writing original music, and one of the hardest things to do as a composer is to get that music out to a wider audience. And so I am so excited that there is going to be this catchy, infectious original music going out there to people."

From script to screen, a Goddess rises

"Rather than a gritty tale of domestic struggle, we're telling a funny and delightful tale that rings true. And I think people will love it - I really do." - Richard Keddie, Producer.

After seven years of hard work, Andrena Finlay, for personal reasons, handed over the film to Producer Richard Keddie to take over. Richard Keddie brought in his daughter Ella to co-produce, forming a unique team at the helm.

"Mark (Lamprell) and I have very sympathetic natures and I think there is a Hollywood quality about his stories. And to bring Ella's very savvy instincts into the mix was a huge bonus."

It was fortuitous for Richard Keddie's own ambitions. After being involved in a number of more serious works, he was seeking something uplifting and life affirming. Then along came Goddess. "I think it's a great time for Australians to make some good romantic comedies and some happy stories," he says.

There's no denying, however, they were taking on a complex project. It required meticulous attention to detail. "I'm a bit of a fan of reductionism, in that you have a really strong concept and you break it into a million little pieces - and you set about getting every pieces absolutely right. Then wrap the right spirit around it and hope that the magic happens."

"Sometimes she wears inappropriate clothing. Sometimes she's wearing a nose ring. Maybe wearing her make-up. Maybe not. She comes when you least expect her. But nobody can reject her. Here comes the goddess."
Elspeth - being seduced by a busker under the lights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The immediate challenge was "90-plus pages of drama to shoot and 13 musical numbers, so it was kind of like making two movies," says Richard Keddie. "We've got a lot of dancing, a lot of singing, and of course you've got to have it all recorded before you start shooting, so you've kind of got this pre-preproduction world going like crazy for six months before you roll camera and that's on top of the usual process of making a drama. It's been a really fascinating experience for me, and I've loved it."

Indeed, Richard Keddie says the highly experienced and talented creative team ensured the most was made out of the budget. "I've done a lot of high end TV drama and know how to get a lot of bang for your buck. This film's budget was under $10 million - a reasonable budget - but the ambition of the film was much higher than that. What I've found is that you can greatly increase the value of your budget if people really care about the script. If they love the script and you treat them well, they give back in spades - and that's what's happened here."

Finding a Goddess

"She comes when you least expect her. But nobody one can reject her. Here comes the goddess."
- The Goddess (lyrics)

The role of Elspeth Dickens required someone special, an actress who was not just the so-called 'triple threat' (actor, singer, dancer) but also someone who possessed a certain magic.

Enter one Laura Michelle Kelly. But not for a long, long while …

"Laura Michelle Kelly is one of the best singers I have ever worked with. I mean, she has a stunning voice and she works hard at it - she has the most magnificent, brilliant voice." Coming from international superstar Ronan Keating who has worked with the some of the world's greatest, that may seem like high praise indeed. But the fact of it is, millions of theatregoers knew it before he did.

Laura Michelle Kelly played the lead role of Mary in the incredibly popular West End musical Mary Poppins for over 400 performances, garnering many prestigious awards. But her theatre credits beyond that included many other best-loved characters. You might say she was a movie sweetheart waiting to happen. It really was just a matter of time - and the right project.

But it took a good five years for Laura Michelle Kelly to connect with Goddess. "And at that stage we'd been writing a long time, and I'd been looking at every single actress in the known universe - and there were some great actresses, and obviously some famous actresses that would have been terrific and would have immediately got us finance and all of that stuff - but there wasn't our special Elspeth," says Mark Lamprell.

"We had looked in Australia and the UK and the US. Then a batch of tapes came in one day and there was Laura Michelle in the middle of it. I literally stood up stuttering, going, 'There! There! There she is! There she is! I found her! I've got her!'

"She was the full package. She was it. She's got kind of this almost indefinable, quixotic, magical, whimsical quality to her and yet she's true. She's both an everywoman and a princess. Because this film is a kind of a modern fairytale I was really looking for that certain something. And she had it."

"You've got the most powerful non-parochial penetration since Julian Assange leaked all over his Wiki." - Cassandra Wolfe to Elspeth Dickens

Laura Michelle Kelly had just completed work on the film Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp at the time and had been in New York where she had reprised the role of Mary Poppins in the Broadway production of the show. Producer Richard Keddie says what suited Laura Michelle Kelly to Mary also suited her to Elspeth. "Elspeth is a Mary Poppins-like character with a bit of magic about her," he explains. "Laura Michelle Kelly herself is delightful, she is great with kids, all of those kind of qualities. So it was a great call, a great start of the film. But to build a film around a theatrical star was quite ambitious."

Of course, Richard Keddie believes no one else could have played Elspeth, but as he jokes, "The day before the shoot was the most daunting. That's when you go 'Great, I've got Mary Poppins who has never played a lead in a movie before; a rock star who has never acted before; and 22 days of filming with twin three-year-olds! And a goat. Great! What have I done to myself!' But it just seemed, as Magda Szubanski has always said about this project, that it has fairy dust sprinkled over it."

For Laura Michelle Kelly, the script had immediate appeal when she read it in 2009. "It felt like a very classic story of a family going through this journey - mainly Elspeth going through this journey and then finding that family is most important. That really appealed to me," she says.

As someone who grew up on a farm, only leaving when she was 17, Laura Michelle Kelly says, "Elspeth came across as someone I could relate to. As I was reading it I had this memory of being on a farm as a kid experiencing a country life and being seen as this little, odd, extravagant musical character," says Laura Michelle Kelly. "My audience as a kid was little old ladies from down the road. But imagining Elspeth in that same scenario wanting to express herself, and not having people that she connected to, that was something I could relate to: this idea of someone looking and searching for something and not knowing what it really is."

Particularly fun for Laura Michelle Kelly to play were Elspeth's fantasy scenes, choreographed by the acclaimed Kelley Abbey and featuring unique costumes by Shareen Beringer.

"Most creative types have one foot in reality and one foot in imagination, and that's Elspeth," says Laura Michelle Kelly. "So there's some really great scenes in the film of what's playing out in her imagination, in her fantasy world. Those were some fun scenes. It meant that Shareen Beringer - who is an incredible costume designer - could go crazy with the rubber glove dress and things like that.

"I like that about the film - it's very quirky. It's very classic but with an edge, this fantasy quality like Amelie had. This has got a whole style of its own, a fantasy fairytale type quality to it.

"There's also an extravagant campness to some of it too," she adds. "I think it's going to appeal to all people."

Though Laura Michelle Kelly was an experienced dancer, the variety and nature of the Goddess dance sequences proved a challenge, both for the actress and choreographer, Kelley Abbey.

Says Kelley Abbey, "The nature of the Mary Poppins role involves physically being very kind of stitched up and upright and for me it's been a challenge to work on unravelling that and getting Laura Michelle Kelly to a much more raw state, a much more expressive and natural state. But also, she's had to learn quite difficult dance moves. We had a great time doing that together. She was fantastic. She's such a talent."

Finding James Dickens - the casting of Ronan Keating

"Ronan has this hyper-intelligence about him where any situation he walks into he reads and he asks this question: 'How can I make this better?' It's amazing to watch him operate. He's genuinely there to improve things and it makes him a really fine actor, because he really listens. Whatever situation you put him in, he just makes it better. It's extraordinary. I can't speak more highly of him. As an artist and as a human being, actually." - Mark Lamprell

Kelley Abbey laughs when she tells her Ronan Keating story. "Ronan Keating doesn't dance much in the film but I had to do some choreography with him and Laura Michelle Kelly and I was, 'Okay; you can start on 5-6-7-8'. And I then was like, 'Do you want me to talk in bars or eights, because dancers talk in eights'. Then I realised he had this massive boy band history where he has had to do choreography his whole life and he was like, 'I'm all right with the 5-6-7-8, thank you!'"

Kelley Abbey can be forgiven for forgetting he was in the hugely successful '90s boy band Boyzone and has had zero formal acting experience, though. Because the now superstar solo singing artist took to drama like a duck to water. His performance - believable, sympathetic, and very, very leading-man charismatic - has delighted those who believed in him from the beginning. Finding their James was no easy mission. The team scoured Australia and the world for the right romantic lead but with no luck. Keating's name was on a list of possible candidates for a cameo part - the Irish busker who turns Elspeth's head in Sydney. Then Mark Lamprell and Richard Keddie wondered - what if Ronan Keating can really act?

"I called (Roadshow Films Managing Director) Joel Pearlman," says producer Richard Keddie, "and I said 'Joel Pearlman, we want to put a left-of-field idea on the table. We just found out Ronan Keating wants to act, and we think he is the perfect James'. And I have to say, Joel Pearlman is a tough customer - and what I heard was one of the longest pauses ever from Joel - which was impressive - and then he said, 'I think that's inspired'. So Ronan Keating had his first acting job! "So that was seven or eight at night, and I called Mark Lamprell around 11pm and said 'I've just booked you on a plane to Vietnam in the morning' because Ronan Keating was singing at the Miss Earth Competition there. And I've got to say: it was a planes-trains-and-automobiles exercise of push bikes and motor bikes and little boats and scooters (and even a golf buggy) to get Mark Lamprell to a little island off Vietnam where Ronan Keating was singing. We auditioned him there and we just knew - Mark Lamprell and Ella and I just had this instinct that he would be perfect for this character.

"He's got an incredible audience. He's got this incredible charm and charisma and has been performing for 20 years."

Serendipitously, the admiration was mutual. Adds Richard Keddie, "It was wonderful. He just fell in love with the project. He just absolutely loved the script and felt that this was him. It was a great alignment."

Ronan Keating was impressed with the determination of the filmmakers, as much as the project.

"The film was originally pitched to me via an internet line that Mark Lamprell put together for me," says Ronan Keating. "It totally bought me in. Laura Michelle Kelly had already done some song material and that was in there and I just loved it. I said, 'Yeah, I'd love to read for you, but it's a bit busy at the moment; I'm flying to Vietnam'. And Mark Lamprell said, 'Well I'll fly to Vietnam and I'll meet you'. And I thought, 'Wow he's really serious! He wants me to really read for him'. So Mark Lamprell flew to Vietnam and we spent two to three hours just workshopping some of the scenes - and he gave me the role! I was pretty honoured."

"He just blew me away in his audition," says Mark Lamprell. "I had screen tested a whole lot of James and I knew the kind of beats I was looking for. There were moments in the script where I really needed him to hit, and he just hit them all.

"But of course, when you come away from an experience like that going, 'You're great and you can have the part' - and he said he wanted to do the part which was great and I was really thrilled with that - and then when you come home and months pass and then times comes and you think 'Oh God I have just cast a pop star who has never done a film before - what have I done to myself?'

"But he just blew us all away. He was such a fine actor. He is just a total natural."

Laura Michelle Kelly sums it up simply: "Ronan Keating was great to work with. You could imagine anybody wanting to be married to him. Lovely man!"

"I believe in anything you need a champion. You need somebody who believes in you and will take a risk. Mark took a risk putting me in and I really do owe him a lot for that." - Ronan Keating

Ronan Keating's decades of experience performing in music videos stood him in good stead to embark on a movie career. But even he says he didn't really know what he was in for till the cameras rolled. "Over the years I have done a bit of acting in the music videos. I've played out different roles - different characters, so I had a little bit of experience in that," he says. "And trying not to act is basically what I have learned over the years; the least amount of acting the better. So a small amount of me was ready, but until the camera was rolling and Mark Lamprell shouted 'Action!', I didn't realise how it was going to feel. It was a shock to the system."

The end result however, had the production team hailing Ronan Keating as a natural. Humbled by the support, Ronan Keating says it helped that the film was somewhere in the vicinity of his comfort zone with its musicality. "It's a romantic comedy and it's a musical - but it's a different kind of musical," he says. "It's not the kind of musical where Elspeth and I are looking into each other's eyes singing songs - they're more like little music videos inside the film which is really a clever idea and very beautiful.

"It's also very, very funny - there's a lot of humour in it, and I play a typical man but a clumsy one. A little stupid - but he's not stupid! He's a great character and I really warmed to him."

Comedy too, is also within the Irishman's comfort zone but other aspects pushed him way out of it. "I'm a bit of a joker, so the comedy end of it I slipped into quite easily. I like comedy. I like playing the fool. So that part of it I felt easy," he says. "The serious stuff, the real heavy heartfelt stuff was great, but I must say after those scenes I was so shattered. I couldn't keep my eyes open - I was just wrecked. You're doing six, seven, eight, nine, 10 takes and then you're doing so many different angles of that take and you're giving it your all. You mean it. When you're in that moment you want people to believe it. I was shattered. I was just drained. I'd never known anything like that."

The creation of Cassandra Wolfe - Magda Szubanski

I have an itch to be ruthless in my pitch; To be a system-bucking, eyebrow-plucking,Tantrum-chucking, corporate bitch.
- Corporate Bitch (lyrics)

Magda Szubanski describes her character in Goddess as "a bit of an überbitch, which is fun to play".

As the one with the power to transform Elspeth Dickens's life Magda Szubanski says Cassandra's storyline is "the Pygmalion story, where Cassandra is the Henry Higgins character."

While Magda Szubanski says her creation of the character was informed by wardrobe - red hair, dramatic clothes, statement jewellery, she also derived inspiration from real life. "People like Cassandra do exist. I've met them. They particularly exist in the advertising world: these big artsy, arch characters. You go for what you think works, and you trust the director to make sure that it fits into the scheme of other things - but they are a very heightened reality, larger than life."

Magda Szubanski also tapped into the fairytale quality of Goddess. "My character is a bridge in a way because she's the one who will hopefully allow Elspeth to fulfill her dreams and fantasies. So there's a little bit of Wicked Witch about her 'Who's the fairest of them all' ..."

But of course, as with all Magda Szubanski's work, a core of truth was absolutely required. "The Cassandra character is particularly tricky," says Mark Lamprell. She is a larger than life character - but we didn't want her to fall into parody or cliché. So she needed to be vividly alive, and sort of larger than life as well
and a lot of fun. And tonally that's a tightrope to get an actor to try to walk
and Magda completely nailed it.

"We talked a lot about how big we'd be or what sort of accent, how silly, what the look would be, how big the look would be, and it's kind of a big look - but in fact Cassandra as a character deals a great deal of truth. She dishes out some fairly practical wisdom for Elspeth, and she calls a spade a spade and we wanted for her to be resonant and meaningful for an audience."

He has nothing but praise for the star who pulled that off. "She's such a fine artist, Magda Szubanski," he says. "She's one of those people that you just fine tune - you don't direct."

"Ronan Keating helped me find my va-va-va-voom!" - Magda Szubanski.

Magda Szubanski is renowned for throwing herself into characters and challenges. She's not afraid… Which is just as well because Goddess took her right out of her usual range with a big song and dance number, the showstopper of the movie. "It's a mash-up of an Edwardian Varga girl meets a Valkyrie. You know," she laughs, " ... it's pretty powerful."

The scene is a highlight and Magda Szubanski's singing voice surprisingly accomplished. Ronan Keating can take some credit for that. "He worked with Magda Szubanski on her song and really just relaxed her into that and just made her really comfortable," says Mark Lamprell. "And you know, Magda Szubanski has never done this sort of huge showstopper number and she said to me later: 'It was just extraordinary. He made me feel like I could do it'. And she could!"

Ronan Keating is characteristically humble about his input. "It was nice working with people that don't sing, and that I could help them and guide them along the way. There were just a couple of tips that I gave Magda Szubanski to try and help her and you know, let her feel more comfortable and get the best out of her vocal."

Magda Szubanski is less circumspect. "Ronan Keating helped me find my va-va-vavoom! I haven't really done much singing before - I'm a shower singer - so I had to go into the studio to record my number, because you know, it is all my voice. And I was a bit nervous, and there are little tricks and techniques of how to make your voice work for you, and Ronan Keating was fantastic. He was so supportive and so gorgeous - because you know, he's a big deal! And to have someone like that give me support gave me a lot of confidence. He was great."

And as for the dancing aspect? "I have no training at all in singing or dancing - so I am a pretendy dancer," laughs Magda Szubanski. "I commit though! I give it my all! Can't say fairer than that, so I am hoping people won't notice I am flibbety-flubbing my way through. But it was so much fun. I've had a ball doing this. No stunt feet. It's all me!"

Choreographer Kelley Abbey found working with Magda Szubanski a treat. "I just love Magda Szubanski. We've worked together before. She did Grease The Arena for me. We're very good friends. I think she was nervous because she's never done this before, but she did this fabulous number with eight guys being sort of Mafia bodyguards alongside her. And it really showcases her. She sings the track so well in this kind of diva, showgirl, Monroe star turn way. It was really intricate work she was doing with the boys, and really hard. She really had to hit her mark at the right time and she focussed. She worked really hard and she got it and she's done a great job."

Art imitates life imitates art…

Natalie Tran's involvement in Goddess is a perfect piece of symmetry.
Tran is a video blogger and the most subscribed Australian on YouTube.
The Sydney-based daughter of Vietnamese refugees created her first video on September 2006 and since then has garnered nearly a million subscribers and more than 350 million hits.


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