From strumming a guitar to breaking into a spontaneous jig, Isabel Lucas has done a lot in Calcutta shooting for The Waiting City. t2 caught up with the actor who has an impressive line-up of releases in 2009…
What made you agree on a film like The Waiting City?
First of all, 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 (the director of The Waiting City). That apart, the fact that the film would be shot in India was incentive enough for me to take it up. India is a country that I have been wanting to visit since I was very young. 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”.
Being your first time here, how has the Calcutta experience been so far?
My stay here will always be very, very special. I have been fascinated by the culture and art here, how everyone seems to know so much about history, the arts and the different cultures. The people here have been extremely warm and welcoming. I have been here for only two weeks now because I have a relatively small role, but it’s been a really rewarding experience being in Calcutta so far. I went to the Udayan orphanage (in Barrackpore, made famous by Steve Waugh). To see so many people selflessly giving up their time and their lives for a purpose like this is truly humbling.
According to your director, yours is the most interesting role in the film…
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 (played by Radha Mitchell) 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.
What has it been like working with The Waiting City team?
I have enjoyed making the film. 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 has been someone whose work I have admired. 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. The two of them could have been in any movie that they wanted to, but the fact that they wanted to be in The Waiting City shows how firmly they believe in the project.
Everyone else has been very gracious and warm. They have all been filming together for a very long time and there is a lot of bonding and nice energy happening on the sets.
You have an important role in the next Transformers film. Did you have to adapt yourself as an actor for The Waiting City?
I believe that an actor has to change with every character. I have done that consciously with every role. As far as this film is concerned, there hasn’t been any drastic change because after all it’s cinema at the end of the day, but things here have been far more real because that’s what the film is all about.
What do you think The Waiting City will do for your resume?
I am not quite sure that I see the film as something like that. If my resume is my experience of different cultures, then I see The Waiting City lending profound colour to that tapestry. But I am just looking at the film as a good film and something that I am happy and proud to be part of. Claire will definitely come into the reckoning with this film.
What else does the world get to see Isabel in?
There is Daybreakers with Ethan Hawke which has been complete for a while now and should release in 2009. Then there is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which I am pretty excited about and also a mini series The Pacific. That apart, there is an independent project that I really can’t talk about now.