PODCAST: Chiara Nicoletti interviews directors Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie, and actress Erana Jones of The Changeover from the 12th Rome Film Fest.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
The Changeover, a naturalist romance written by Margaret Mahy in 1984, has always been a classic of New Zealand’s literature for young adults. Thirty-three years later, Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie have finally adapted it for the big screen. Their work was screened as part of the Alice della Citta’ strand of the 12th Rome Film Fest, where we met the directors along with the lead actress of the film, Erana James. They describe the genesis of the film, which dates back to when Harcourt was a fresh-faced drama school student and read Mahy’s book on National Radio – one of her first ever jobs. Later, at one of her acting classes, she met James and found that she resembled the image of the book’s heroine, Laura Chant, that she had in mind when she read the book. Years later, Harcourt married McKenzie and got him on board for the project. James had just turned 16; the perfect age to play the lead character. When Timothy Spall finally accepted to intepret the role of the villain, the project got financed and The Changeover became real.
THE CHANGEOVER. In post-earthquake Christchurch, teenager Laura Chant (Erana James) cares for her younger brother Jacko (Benji Purchase) while their mum Kate (Melanie Lynskey) is at work. After school one day Laura loses Jacko, only to find him playing in a pop-up shop filled with strange toys. The creepy old shop-owner, Carmody Braque (Timothy Spall) gives Jacko a stamp on his hand and sends them on their way.But Jacko suddenly begins to get sick and Laura realises there’s more to Braque, and the stamp, than she had first realised. Fearing that something supernatural is at work and desperate to save her little brother, Laura seeks help from Sorensen Carlisle (Nicholas Galitzine), a prefect at her school to whom she is mysteriously drawn.Laura discovers that Sorenson is from a family of witches. Sorensen’s mum (Lucy Lawless) reveals the only way Laura can save Jacko is to ‘change over’ and become a witch to defeat the evil ancient spirit, Braque.
For more information, go to http://www.thechangeovermovie.com/