Your twin community sites have now merged into one single url.
Enjoy here the best of both worlds: Portal and Social network for the festival community.
Our mission since 1995 connecting films to festivals and documenting the world of festivals worldwide.
There are currently 0 users and 114 guests online.
'The Sapphires' (2012) at Cinefest-OZ. Interview with Tory Kittles.
At this year’s Cinefest-OZ film festival in Busselton, WA, the international singsong hit ‘The Sapphires’ (2012) screened to local audiences. Since its filming in Australia last year, it held its world premier at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and this coming week it will hold its north American premier at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The film is about a native Australian all-female soul band which travels to Vietnam during the Vietnam War to uplift the morale of the soldiers fighting there, during which time these young talented soul-sisters find greater meaning to their own life and have the time of their life in the process.
The film is directed by Wayne Blair and stars: Chris O’Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and Tory Kittles. I recently interviewed American actor Tory Kittles who plays ‘Robby’:
ME: How did you find out about this film ‘The Sapphires’? And was it a fast or slow romance for you and this film?
TORY: My agents sent me a script and said: ‘Give this a read. Randi Hiller, the American casting director, wants you to come in and read for Wayne Blair’, who was only in LA for a few days seeing actors for the part. I'd never heard of Wayne before, but after reading the script I was already hooked. I was in the middle of shooting some episodes for ‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 4 and was looking to do something completely opposite of the heavy character Laroy that I played on the show. After reading it I immediately fell in love with the story of ‘The Sapphires’. I met Wayne shortly after and auditioned and it all felt really good, though I had no idea whether or not he was going cast me, but I wanted the part badly. So I wrote a letter expressing my love for the story and the time period and, I don't know, the letter may have been better than my audition, but either way, I got it. Wayne says he knew he was going cast me the minute I walked out of the room. Wish he would've told me then! Ha!
ME: What was it like to be the only American in an Australian film?
TORY: I never really thought about it while filming. We all fell into a very easy rapport from day one. Wayne set the tone of it all. There was an immediate sense that this is something special. We all embraced that, and each other and O’dowd was a riot from start to finish.
ME: Was the film mostly shot in WA or other parts of Australia and did you love filming in Australia?...And where were the Vietnam scenes shot?
TORY: I love shooting in Sydney. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. We shot all around Sydney and just outside of there in some of the smaller towns in NSW and for the Vietnam scenes we went to Vietnam, which was a treat. We actually stayed at the Rex Hotel where Walter Cronkite would broadcast from during the war. I believe the historical significance of it all added more depth in those scenes. There's nothing like shooting about events in the place where those events took place.
ME: Why do you think people wanted to hear music that had soul in the 60’s? Do you think troubled times means better music because of a need to be human are fundamental? Hard times brings better art for example?
TORY: I don't know if there's been a better period in music. The music of that period was not only expressive of the times but transcended those times and we're still moved by it today. I think that it's one of the reasons ‘The Sapphires’ has taken off the way it has. The music and Jessica's voice, along with great performances, a great script. Also, for me as an American, it gave me a chance to see that time period from a different point of view, an Aboriginal one…Ya know there have been so many struggles throughout history, but during that period, not only was the war and the anti-war protests going on, the civil rights movement was going on as well, and you had a lot of soldiers in Vietnam fighting and being killed in a war that they were uncertain of, while back home, civil rights leaders were fighting for rights there and giving their lives to that cause. It was a mess, but there were a lot of great people, great artist born out of those loses, those pains, those frustrations, I do believe the best art, music that we've seen so far comes from that passionate place of needing to have a voice, needing to be heard, needing to be understood, to connect, yeah sure.
Me: What is different about this role than your roles in the past?
TORY: This role gave me an opportunity to lightening things up a bit, prior to playing Robby I'd played a series of dark characters and I wanted to do something that showed me as, funny, clumsy, charming and optimistic. I'd played a series of characters associated with death, and I love those guys just as much, but I wanted to go 180 and I'm grateful that Wayne gave me that opportunity.
ME: What was it like working with this incredibly talented cast including Chris O’Dowd?
TORY: Amazing. It's beautiful when everyone comes to play and everything becomes new in each moment, and you have a director like Wayne, who knows how to capture it all. They were truly remarkable.
ME: And you're a sex symbol in this film. How does that feel? :-))
TORY: Am I? Ha. I don't know....I just took my shirt off.
ME: You've been traveling the globe with this film beginning with Cannes and now Toronto is next. What has that been like?
TORY: It’s been an incredible ride to be a part of something that's having such an effect on people. Being in the middle of that first audience at Cannes was electrifying, magical, and the fact that it happened with that wonderful group of people, that we were all there together...such a special experience. I'll never forget it. Where it goes from here will only be icing on the cake.
ME: Do you have any funny stories to share during filming?
TORY: After one long night of filming one of the Vietnam sequences we were all together being shuttled back to base camp in a sort of mini bus. Everyone was really tired and quiet, we had no energy, and I mumbled the first line of the song, "I Had The Time of My Life" from the film Dirty Dancing, then O’dowd picked up the next line and then Shari and it kept going until the whole bus was singing. ‘I had the time of my life, no I never felt this way before...yeah’....that happened.
ME: What's next for you? What are you working on now?
TORY: Well since we wrapped ‘The Sapphires’ I've filmed a remake of ‘Steel Magnolias’, which airs on Lifetime Oct 7. I did a Stage production of ‘Guess Who's Coming To Dinner’ with Tony award winner Phylicia Rashad directed by Kenny Leon (Broadway's Tony award winning Fences) and at the moment I'm at the Dallas airport headed back to Shreveport, Louisiana where I've been shooting the new Antoine Fuqua film ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ in which I play a secret service agent, before heading off to the Toronto International Film Festival next week. So I've been busy, and that's always good. Busy's good.
-written by Vanessa McMahon
Tory Kittles in 'The Sapphires'.
The Bulletin Board
Follow us on the web:
Useful links for the indies:
> Affiliates and Partners
Partners - commercial links: