The Waiting City (2009)

Only love is real
In between hope and despair is a place of joy

Isabel plays Scarlet


Director: Claire McCarthy
Writer: Claire McCarthy
Co-starring: Radha Mitchell (as Fiona Simmons), Joel Edgerton (as Ben Simmons)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Filming: Started filming November 11th 2008. Filmed entirely in Calcutta.
Budget: $3m
Box Office:
Runtime: 100mins / 108mins


The Waiting City tells the story of an outwardly happy Australian couple who journey to Calcutta to collect their adopted baby, but on arrival find that the arrangements have yet to be finalised. Soon, the intoxicating mystic power of the Indian city pulls them in separate and unexpected directions, and the vulnerability of their marriage begins to reveal itself. The Waiting City is an intimate, complex love story of transformation, set against the exhilarating epic backdrop of Calcutta. Isabel Lucas plays Scarlet, a girl whose easy acclimatization to the rhythms of Kolkata seems to match Ben’s own.


International Release Dates

Australia – July 15th 2010

DVD (Australia) – November 18th 2010
DVD (US) – May 31st 2011



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Photos: Gallery at Isabel Lucas Online
Photos: Candids of Isabel in India
Videos: Trailer #1 | Behind The Scenes featurette | Clips from 2 of Isabel’s scenes



• Whilst filming this movie Isabel became involved with an orphanage that takes care of children with leprosy, and she now sponsors it.
• Premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2009.
• Isabel plays a musician in this film.
• Screened at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in April 2010.
• Was the first Australian film to be entirely shot on location in India.
• Writer/Director Claire McCarthey said Isabel’s character Scarlet was there to be “another point of tension” in the relationship between Fiona and Ben.
• Isabel describes her character as a “musician, gypsy, traveller, free spirit”, saying she’s just travelling through India and has been there for about 3 months already.
• Learnt guitar for her role as musician Scarlet.
The Waiting City received 8 nominations from the Film Critics Circle of Australia in 2011, including one for Best Picture.
• Screened at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in 2010.
• The film is set during the Durga Puja, when Calcutta celebrates the Hindu goddess Durga.
• The song Scarlet sings in the film with Ben is called “Beauty Of Life”.


Quotes From Isabel, Cast & Crew

» Claire McCarthy, director – “Isabel is pure magic. A beautiful young actress and a rising star. She brings different shades to the film. I have always had my mind on Isabel and there was no doubt that I wanted to cast her. She is going to be very big very soon. I have to sign her up for my next project (laughs)!”

» Jamie Hilton, producer – “We’ve got such an incredible team on this project. Not only do we have three of Australia’s most exciting on-screen talents in the lead roles, but many in our crew are internationally acclaimed. We’re confident that this film will be an Australian story, but an International film. It’s not often that audiences get to see an English-language love story in a beautiful place like India and it is very exciting to be the first Australian feature film to be entirely shot here.”

» Isabel Lucas“I think it’s a very interesting subject. It’s a beautiful and meaningful story about real people and real situations written by Claire McCarthy. That apart, the fact that the film would be shot in India was incentive enough for me to take it up.”

» Isabel Lucas“For me the country represents all that is adventurous, magical, passionate and for a story like this to be set here is simply amazing. The moment I read the script I said “yes”.”

» Isabel Lucas“My character Scarlet is very important to the story of the film. In many ways the character is a catalyst for Joel’s (Edgerton) character to understand what his relationship with his wife means to him. Scarlet is a gypsy-like character, she is a free spirit who lives life on her own terms. It is a small role but one which has shades in it.”

» Isabel Lucas“If my resume is my experience of different cultures, then I see The Waiting City lending profound colour to that tapestry.”

» Isabel Lucas“Working with Claire has been a wonderful experience. She creates a great atmosphere on the sets. She is encouraging. Her work approach is extremely flexible and patient. I hope the association lasts for many more movies. Radha is a versatile actress. She brings a lot of experience to the sets and is also an extremely warm and helpful co-actor. Joel is also someone like Radha, extremely talented and spontaneous.” – on her director and co-stars

» Claire McCarthy, director – “Isabel is just, I think, a magic, beautiful young actress, I think she’s absolutely ethereal and I think it was very important for the story to have this fresh, young, woman that would be a foil for Fiona in some ways, an off-set or a mirror to her. But also in some ways, challenge and provoke the marriage further, and she wasn’t ever going to play to role two-dimensionally which was very important to me, that she could bring humour to her, and lightness and humanity as well.”

» Radha Mitchell“It was a pretty amazing cast. And everyone was kind of great. So it was kind of great to hang out with somebody who had that experience, and Isabel is a phenomenal actress and really beautiful and I am so looking forward to seeing more of her work.”


Quotes From Character

Scarlet: “Ben was just telling me you’re a lawyer?”
Ben: “Yeah, she’s working really, really hard at the moment.”
Scarlet: “Must be really interesting. Do you love it?”
Fiona: “Yeah I love it. It’s hard work but it’s very rewarding. It’s great.”
Ben: “And you’re good at it.”
Fiona: “Thank you.”

Fiona: “Um, well, I’m gonna go back up. I’ll see you, see you later.”
Scarlet: “Hey, um, do you mind if I take a shower here?”
Fiona: [Laughs] “Here?”
Scarlet: “Yeah, um, our tour manager kind of enjoys us washing out of a bucket.”
Fiona: “Sure.”

Scarlet: “Ben was just telling me about the baby, I just think it’s such a wonderful thing. I’m really happy for you guys.”
Fiona: “Oh, thanks.”



The Hollywood Reporter: “It comes as no surprise to learn that McCarthy has worked in orphanages and the slums of India so hers is both an insider and an outsider’s viewpoint. This attitude informs every frame of this fascinating drama, a welcome addition to the new Australian cinema.”

The Sydney Morning Herald: “Lucas’s character is barely there, which contributes to a sense that the foundations of the film are underdeveloped. The film does the big thing very well – the portrait of a mature relationship in trouble – but stumbles trying to do more.” “There is a hole where the dramatic function of Isabel Lucas’ character Scarlett should have been and the conflict in Ben and Fiona’s relationship is mishandled – partly in the screenplay, partly in the direction.”



Isabel did not do any promotion for The Waiting City, except for an interview with the Telegraph India whilst she was filming in 2008.


Related Links

News & Updates for The Waiting City at Isabel Lucas Online

Official Australian Site
Official Site – from the sales company
Official Twitter
Official Facebook
Toronto International Film Festival site – Film Information
Toronto International Film Festival Q&A clips – excerpts of Claire McCarthey talking during the Q&A
Interview with Claire McCarthy – The Telegraph India: ‘Calcutta is a protagonist’ – Purchase DVD – Purchase DVD


Last Updated: March 26th 2011