Dame Helen Mirren in a cast is reason to watch any film in which she appears. While fellow thespian Donald Sutherland is one of the few remaining ‘real’ old-school Hollywood actors still gracing the screen.
Together in The Leisure Seeker, they play a runaway couple who go on a journey in their old campervan to relive past memories and gain new ones while getting the most out of life until the end. Tears will flow. Also co-stars Lindsey Moser, you may remember from an unforgettable scene in Magic Mike XXL, who has many more big things in the pipeline.
In The Leisure Seeker, this wonderful talent had two days on set sharing the screen with the two leading legends. ‘Definitely one of the highest points of my career’ she tells me as we settle in to talk, on her birthday. At risk of embarrassment, I serenade ‘Happy Birthday to you’ down the phone line. ‘Thank you Shane, yay, I will not forget that!’
How did you land the role – was it strategic due to the Hollywood royalty of the leads (Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland)?
Lindsey Moser – I was on holiday in Florida anyway when alerted to auditions and said yes straight away. I read for the role of a woman in the campsite with her family who connects with the main characters, but did not get it. The director got in touch after and wanted me for the nursing home clerk that I’ll be ever grateful for.
Not familiar with the director Paolo Virzi, how was his style on set?
LM – Had two days on set, never met anyone until then. It was awesome – he was a pleasure from the second I met him. So sweet, genuinely helpful, humble. He just wanted to make a beautiful film with a big heart.
Was the Palm Beach Care Centre a real rest home?
LM – That’s a set, an abandoned warehouse in Atlanta. Wonderful set decorators dressed it up. Entire crew was from Italy, simply talented, dedicated people i’ve worked with. Every detail paid attention to.
Did you start speaking Italian on set?
LM – (laughs) I actually grew up in an Italian household still not knowing any Italian. My brothers know all the bad words (laughs).
Film is based on a book, had you read it beforehand?
LM – Knew of it but not read as my role was just very specific to the situation. Sometimes my process is, less is more. Unless the book had to do with my role directly, I try not to delve into too much of the story or Lindsey gets involved! I want to take care of the people I’m reading about so I only read script.
You share the screen with two legends of the screen, stories please.
LM – Best two days of my career. Couldn’t ask for better learning, personal experience. We didn’t hang out but had times where I would be across the room setting up scenes. They probably thought, crazy stalker lady staring (laughs). Complete honour to be there, learn from them. They love each other, took care of each other, dote on each other, so connected as great friends. Watching Helen as a woman inspires, she’s nurturing as a person. She took care of me at one point just by being elegant and regal, helping me strive in scenes. Donald is energised and passionate, wonderful to be part of.
Your acting benefitted obviously.
LH – It was day one, first time I had met Helen. She introduced herself to me and Adam Drescher (co-star in scene). Donald was there off to the side. Helen and I did a short read through rehearsal. Straight after, she looked directly saying: ‘You are a rock’. I fell to the ground responded, ‘I can’t work anymore Helen, don’t talk to me like that’ (laughs). It was an incredible compliment taken back by her opinion of my work. I’m not one normally to say how impressed of myself I was but holding it together and performing around them was a proud feat.
Has your career / life changed much since Magic Mike XXL?
LM – Yes, one of the biggest milestones out of that project, I got an LA manager. Since then continued working in Atlanta while building West Coast work relationships. I want my career to be about growing so being part of The Groundlings (Theatre & School) several months now, it’s the time of my life, another milestone.
Are you recognised in the street for selfies as the Mini Mart cashier?
LM – So grateful people remember, love it still and know me from that. There’s a Vegas show now too so it lives on. Coming up in July at a New York theatre, I’m participating in Q&A after a screening, exciting.
Burden has big wraps, with Andrea Riseborough one of my favourites.
LM – It was a great experience working on that. Andrea is incredible, so sweet a lovely person to be around. Burden won an Audience award at Sundance, a timely film in subject that brought us in like a family on set. Spent a lot of time with Austin Hebert, Tom Wilkinson, Tess Harper who sang when Austin had his guitar.
Big Australian contingent including Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman on Boy Erased. Can you now mimic our accent?
LH – (laughs) Well your Australian residents used their American southern accents acting. But did pick up on their big hearts, especially Troye Sivan – gentle, kind, curious. Joel Edgerton, just amazing to watch him switch from directing and acting. Defined and professional, I was in awe.
Leisure Seeker – Rated M – Now showing.
Boy Erased – Due for release late 2018.
Groundlings (internet based sketch-show with lindsey’s class) – Coming soon.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.