SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Caroline McKenzie: My name is Caroline McKenzie and I’ve been working as a professional actor for over 40 years.
I have performed on stage in Perth and Sydney for major theatre companies, including Black Swan State Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Griffith TC, Perth Theatre Company and many more. My last role was playing Nell in a production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame.
In film and television, I have acted in short films, feature films and television series and telemovies. Most recently was in a feature film for children, called Paper Planes. I played a lead role in a television movie called The Great Mint Swindle and for three years I was in a children’s TV series that had international airing, called Ship To Shore.
I teach acting at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), in the Musical Theatre and Dance Departments. WAAPA is the drama school where Hugh Jackman did his training.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?
Caroline McKenzie: I was interested from a young age. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to audition for a Youth program called Young World which was a part of The Australian Broadcasting Commission, when I was 16. They chose about twenty young people from around the state and we were involved in performing Musicals and plays. I had my first professional job in Acting from this opportunity, being cast in a National radio drama/series.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Harvey’s dream Dollar Baby film?
Caroline McKenzie: Alex had been given a recommendation. I don’t actually know who suggested me.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Caroline McKenzie: I think it is the underlying subtext of the piece. There is something unnerving about it and it keeps the audience in suspence. As a viewer, you are not quite certain what is happening. Is it a dream?
My role is mostly reaction, with few lines. Harvey has most of the lines when he is recalling his dream. It was fun having to try to convey my inner feelings and concern through stillness and subtext.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Caroline McKenzie: No I didn’t have to audition. Alex asked me if I would take on the role.
SKSM: You worked with Alexander von Hofmann on this film, how was that?
Caroline McKenzie: Alex was very calm, thorough and clear in what he wanted to achieve, and he was able to convey that to the actors and the crew. It was an easy process and I felt he gave us excellent direction, whilst allowing us our own creative input and journey. A very positive experience.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Caroline McKenzie: Not that I can recall but an unfortunate event occured for our make up artist. The poor girl had her entire make up and hair kit stolen from her car. This meant that on the second day of filming, there was no make up or hair curlers etc. So the lady who owned and lived in the house we were filming in, had to provide her hot rollers etc. We were sitting outside as the interior was being used for filming and the people who lived there needed their space, and it started to rain. We’re all trying to scurry under cover and I’ve got borrowed curlers in my hair and bits of make up borrowed from everyone and I’m thinking “Who says acting is a glamerous job?” We all just got on with it and it all turned out fine.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Caroline McKenzie: I see James Hagan (who plays Harvey) occasionally and I’ve come across a couple of the crew who’ve worked on other projects I’ve been involved in.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Caroline McKenzie: I’m about to start back teaching at WAAPA. They’ve been on their long summer break.
I’m currently on hold for a role in an upcoming TV series but that is not a definite.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Caroline McKenzie: Yes I like his writing. I’ve read a few of his excellent books and have seen a number of the film adaptations.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Caroline McKenzie: That I am a crazy football fan (Australian Rules, a game that is only played in Australia). None of my friends can believe that I can get as vocal and passionate about it as I do!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Caroline McKenzie: Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed. It is wonderful to connect with people from across the miles.