Magazine article Screen International

Wayne Blair

Magazine article Screen International

Wayne Blair

Article excerpt

Australian director Wayne Blair is in Cannes for the world premiere of his feelgood feature debut The Sapphires, which screens out of competition

The film tells the true story of four aboriginal girls who sang for US troops during the Vietnam war. Goalpost Films is handling international sales.

Were you surprised when your film got selected for Cannes?

We got the money in Cannes in 2010, so it's nice to come full circle. And it's amazing to be here with my first film. I must have done some good stuff in the past!

How did the film come about?

It is based on a stage musical, which was a big hit in Melbourne and Sydney. The play was written by Tony Briggs based on his mum's story -- she was one of the four girls. And he has also written the script for the film.

How would you describe the film?

It has a little bit of a Strictly Ballroom feel mixed with The Commitments. There is pathos, but primarily it is joyful and uplifting and full of love. We've seen the Vietnam war in lots of films but we've never seen it through the eyes of four aboriginal girls. That's the hook.

How did you go about casting your leads?

Chris [O'Dowd] was a real find. The character was originally meant to be English, but I saw Chris in Bridesmaids, spoke to his agent and spoke to him on the phone and we decided to massage the script so he was Irish instead. …

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