Woman on edge

Emma Booth has a simple explanation for why she hasn’t joined the flow of young Australian actors to Los Angeles: she’s been too busy.

”For a long time, Hollywood was something that had to come later,” the 29-year-old former model says.

Booth first came to attention as an actor in 2007’s Clubland, for which she won an AFI award for best supporting actress. Since then, she has gone from role to role, including Rose Pickles in the television adaptation of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, sex worker turned police recruit Kim Hollingsworth in Underbelly: The Golden Mile and Clive Owen’s love interest in The Boys are Back.

Booth recently finished her first major American picture, starring opposite Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez and Nick Nolte in the crime thriller Parker, which is directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray) and due out early next year.

Booth plays the girlfriend of an action hero and was surprised she fit the bill.

”I thought I’d never get the role,” she says. ”When I went to the chemistry audition with Statham, there were these three blonde American Barbie dolls sitting outside waiting and I thought that I was wasting my time, with my nose ring and tattoos,” Booth says.

”But Jason and I got on and Taylor was very happy to do something different, too. I had a lot of fun doing the film.”

Her going-away present is the independent Australian thriller Swerve, a taut piece of neo-noir set in the Australian outback. Booth plays the calculating Jina, the wife of hothead police officer Frank (Jason Clarke), who decides that an Iraq War veteran passing through town, Colin (David Lyons), is her best means of extracting her freedom and a bag of illicit money.

Veteran filmmaker Craig Lahiff, who covered some of the same dusty ground with Russell Crowe in 1997’s Heaven’s Burning, offered the part of Jina to Booth without an audition. She found herself acting as a woman who is always acting, which placed her in an esteemed lineage that includes Barbara Stanwyck in Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity and Linda Fiorentino in John Dahl’s The Last Seduction.

”To me, it was about showing just a little to say a lot,” Booth says. ”She’s also so good at doing this that she doesn’t even know when she’s lying any more.”

”For me, the challenge was staying at this heightened level of emotion for the whole film – Jina’s never not on the very edge of survival.”


GENRE Outback noir thriller.BUZZ Distinctly Australian film with US-bound stars.STARS Emma Booth, Jason Clarke, David Lyons, Vince Colosimo.DIRECTOR Craig Lahiff.RATED MOPENS Out now.

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