Australian actor John Waters will be in Busselton this week for CinefestOZ, starring in two films featured at the festival including Ben Elton’s Three Summers.
Waters met Elton in Melbourne many years ago when they were both staying at the Como Hotel working on separate jobs.
“We became pally, I saw him another time in London, then he called me last year about this movie Three Summers,” he said.
“I really liked his writing – as a lot of us do – it was a great thing to be asked to be in his film.”
Waters said the film had that Australian quirkiness, the kind that had a huge impact on audiences, from being their own thing.
“Three Summers fits that bill perfectly - it is the way we need to go – as our bread and butter we should continue to make these smaller films.”
Waters described the film as an ensemble piece with separate stories which were somehow interconnected through a WA music festival.
“I was really intrigued by how the little stories entwined, I got to do some singing as well,” he said.
“I also got to work with Deb Mailman, again, who I worked with a lot on Offspring.”
Waters said the story was funny and endearing and had some serious things to say about Australia’s attitude towards race and immigration.
He said the themes emerged as light and comical to become an epic form of storytelling, which Elton developed to sneak something political into the film.
Having been friends with Elton for many years, Waters had no idea what he would be like as a director and found him to be “very gifted.”
Waters said Elton had a great way of maintaining his own vision and if people did anything which strayed away from his overall vision he would tug them into line.
“He would say, ‘That is all cool but what I want to see is this, this and this’, he was very clear, definite, quick and loved the process and his actors,” he said.
“Elton was always full of beautiful praise for everybody including the crew and made himself a popular man on set.
“To me that was so glorious to have all those qualities in one.”
The other film Waters appears in at the festival is 2:22, a psychological thriller, which he described as a Matrix-like alternative universe.
“Essentially it is about a regular guy played by Michiel Huisman, who has become quite well known from the Game of Thrones, he played an air traffic controller,” he said.
“The main character goes through mental glitches where he sees events time-and-time again.”