Playing the free-spirited Cin in recent film 'Better than Sex' Susie Porter will astound some, gratify others and inspire the rest. Being highly sought after talent in the Australian film scene, Ms Porter has helped to forge a new class of acting talent, with outstanding performances in films such as Davida Allen's 'Feeling Sexy', 'Two Hands', 'Monkeys Mask' and Nadia Tass's 'Amy' to mention a few. As far as writer/director Jonathan Teplitzky and fellow producers of Better Than Sex were concerned, they had no other candidate in mind other than the radiant freckle-faced Susie for the challenging role of Cin, whose character confronts the taboo issues of female sexuality and having the upper hand in a relationship.
Since graduating from NIDA in the mid-nineties, Susie has been in hot demand, daring to go where few woman have dared to go before in front of the camera lense, with few qualms about strutting round the filmset in her naked glory, or simulating explicit sex scenes. But no - she is not a brazen hussy. In fact far from it. Her profession as an actress is taken on sincerely, as she gravitates towards roles that push the conventional boundaries of portraying femininity in mainstream cinema.
Thanks to women like Susie, the girls can now talk frankly about what we desire from our ideal beau, wolf-whistle at the guys as we walk past the construction site, unashamedly swirl our tampons around in helicopter motion - well, each to their own - but one thing for sure is that Susie's refreshing approach to embracing female sexuality is to be admired.
When Susie first glanced over the script for Better Than Sex, she could share in the vision held by producer Teplitzky and the crew. A certain chord was struck in the intricacies of the character of Cin who attempts to embark on a meaningless one-night stand with the irresistible Josh (David Wenham). "Being strong-willed, independent and sexually assertive" were the traits that stuck with Susie about Cin, giving subtle indications of her women's-lib leanings, but then she explains "Yet there's the flipside of the character of being quite vulnerable, soft and gentle". And these traits would indeed, appear to encompass two prominent characteristics of Susie with her exuberance of being independent, yet sweetly susceptible.
Susie believes Cin holds attitudes to similar a fleet of women "Many women today can most likely identify with Cin, in the fact they are more keen to stand up for what they believe in", she ponders, " Yet they are still very vulnerable. I think there is that vulnerability in women because still in the year 2000, there are double standards for men and women". Thinking back to her childhood milieu she imparts, "When I was growing up, people gave me the impression that women dutifully have sex with their husbands. There was the idea floating round that women don't actually enjoy sex, they're doing it just for the man. I know that's a huge sweeping generalization", she admits "but you go hang on a minute... there are women out there who enjoy sex; who are confident and so forth. I think it was an important part for me in Better Than Sex that those women were portrayed" she states with poise. "It's weird because, when a lot of people are exposed to a woman like Cin, who likes having sex and being assertive, many discount her by saying "Oh she's quite a full on character isn't she?" Susie calmly corrects, "No, she's just a women". Susie admits her "everyday pals mirror this being strong-willed and ambitious, yet are quite sensitive about getting their heart broken".
Susie continues to talk about the role of women in relationships today, "I think we are moving into a time when we need positive female role models such as Cin, enforcing, we can live alone, have sex when we want and we can enjoy it. We are equal to men' she braves, "That's why I liked doing the film 'Feeling Sexy' as well, because it was about a mother who was ambitious. She lost her imagination, and sometimes her children really upset her ~ and we rarely see that in film. Also if a woman goes out and has an affair, she will usually get punished at the end of the film. It's really important for me to choose roles that portray equality as far as sex is concerned. I don't know where these double standards came from, but I think men can certainly get away with a lot more than women do."
Your onscreen rapport with David Wenham (who plays Josh) was absolutely magic; it was easy to believe that you guys could easily be in love. Did you ever find any of the sex scenes with him too risqué or challenging?
"No I never found them too risqué or challenging, David is just so easy to work with, and I love him as an actor and as a person. Sometimes I wished that the scenes would never end, cos he was just gorgeous." She speaks with great fondness, "We had a great rapport between us, and that chemistry was really important, because the film was basically us in a room talking".
When Cin's friend Sam's bowls over to the cosy inner-Sydney love nest, this seems to be a sign of the honeymoon being over. Suddenly the atmosphere changes, and Cin has to deal with a prying and extremely flirtatious friend, who is eager to get her claws all over 'your' Josh'. Was it interesting addressing this issue of the meddling friend?
"Yeah, I think that this scenario does exist - there's that whole facet of women being worse than men in addressing the issue of the sexual tension between friends. Catherine McClemments character is very insecure so she came across as being overtly sexual and flirtatious in order to get a man to fall in love with her", Susie's psychoanalysis continues "Sam is not feeling complete therefore wants some love and affection ~ but she is going about it in the wrong way. Some women do have paranoia with certain females they know, I know some of those girls. It purely comes from insecurity and women feel they have to use sex as a weapon.
So what's coming up in the near future for Susie?
"I'm currently rehearsing a play called 'Sweet Phoebe', by an Australian writer Michael Gow, at The Griffin Theatre Company, and getting back on stage after five years. I have been doing film after film for five years, so sometimes I get worried that I have appeared in too many! She muses, " I've decided to take a little break for a while, probably go overseas to try and get work over there - purely because sometimes over here you don't get many opportunities and if I am in every Australian film it just becomes a bit boring you know" she gratuitously justifies. "Australia will always be my home and I love this country so much. Even after watching the Olympics opening ceremony I was like crying "Oh my god I love Sydney so much!" croons Susie, "But I have to give overseas a shot. You only have one life. I don't want to get old and go I wish I had done this or that".
I don't think that will ever happen Susie. What you have achieved to this date is enough that many would be proud of ten times over!
"Thanks!" and with compliments a-flowing Susie adds "I would just like to say that I think the whole idea of a website for women is fantastic, because it really gets to me ~ with all the issues that women still have to deal with today. We just have to continue to surge ahead".
- Louise Buckingham