Adelaide Film Festival: Megan Washington

Adelaide Film Festival ambassador Megan Washington will be making her silver screen debut in the Festival-funded musical-thiller, The Boy Castaways.

The Boy Castaways is a film by first time writer and director Michael Kantor shot entirely in South Australia. The film follows the interactions between four men as they stage a twisted version of Peter Pan for a mysterious production company, with each man interacting closely with Washington’s character, Sarina. When quizzed about the project, Washington speaks with such a rapid intensity that the words pour out of her as quickly as she is thinking them. It’s clear that Washington believes holistically in Kantor’s vision, spinning her own thoughts on the film’s relevance to everyday Australians. “It’s a really beautiful film,” Washington begins. “And I use beautiful as a choice of word –  it feels more like a documentary. The musical element feels very native within the film as the cast are all involved in music.” The cast includes You Am I frontman Tim Rogers, who Washington was rumoured to have been romantically involved with on-and-off over the last couple of years. However, this isn’t what inspired Washington’s interest. “I think it’s a really important film that should be made. It includes themes like the repression of the Australian male. Despite how liberated we are as a country, there is still taboo things that the typical Aussie male isn’t really allowed to think about or express like bisexuality and being a performer. It’s very easy for me when I was living in Surry Hills to think that everyone is an omission, but I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands of other hardworking men in other professions who would have loved to have explored that part of themselves, but just never committed to it socially. I also think it’s important as it deals with success and how as a culture we do have this binge mentality. It can be applied to other areas of life like sex and drugs or even just power and how anything, when given too much reign over your existence, can kill you.” Considering the film profiles such a small range of characters so intensely, Washington explains how it also deals with issues of identity and how it can tie into the idea of performance – that we are all just playing ourselves playing a role. In this way Washington implies that the structures of society that we live by day to day are actually far more complex than we first imagine, which is explored in the film by mixing the theatrical elements with the narrative. This may seem like an abstract concept, but is one that Washington can relate to, as she considers each day of our lives to be an “identity crisis” from the moment we wake up to when we fall asleep again. Given the strong focus on identity, it’s surprising that Washington hadn’t registered that she represents the sole primary female character in the film, but she thinks this stems from usually being the only girl in the boys’ club as a musician. “It didn’t feel particularly strange as the only female at all because I spend most of my life exclusively around men,” Washington laughs. “My band are dudes, my manager’s a dude and my housemates are dudes. It is a primarily a male sort of industry, so I didn’t find that remarkable. I find it funny that you do, because I didn’t even think about it, but yes, I guess upon reflection that is kind of interesting!” The aspect that gelled the most with Washington about Sarina was their shared work ethic. “The bass line of what she’s doing throughout the film is her job, and her job comes before all else,” explains Washington. “She’s not allowed to make any choices for herself because her job comes first. I really resonated with that because I’ve lost relationships and even the promise of relationships because of my job. You can meet someone really fantastic wherever you are but then you have to leave. It’s really difficult to have a personal life doing what I do and it was the same for her. “One thing she never does is say ‘No’. She’s not allowed. That makes for a lot of tension between the characters,” Washington divulges. Working on such an intense project with heavy concepts did have one relief though, the fact she got to spend the entire shoot in Adelaide, including a day spent in Her Majesty’s Theatre with an audience full of people from the public as extras. “It’s a real blessing to work there. That day that we shot with all the extras was hilarious. We shoot out of sequence so the people who were there that day saw us beating up a priest with a cricket bat, Tim Rogers bothering Paul Caspis in a wedding dress and all this sordid fucked up shit. I did feel for them. They were very good sports.

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