“On Friday the 17th of October 2014, we rolled cameras on The Dressmaker at Docklands Studios Melbourne. Eight weeks later director Jocelyn Moorhouse called “Cut!” for the very last time on Saturday the 13th of December in Horsham, Victoria.
Bringing The Dressmaker to life was simultaneously everything we have hoped for and—in true filmmaking tradition—nothing like we expected. Our cast and crew battled through the heat of summer, rain, wind, and a swarm of insects to shoot this film. We filmed everywhere from the fabulous art deco Sun Theatre in Yarraville to the granite hilltop wilds of Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Centre, and finally to the Wimmera wheat belt. More than 140 crew, 35 cast, 350 extras, 6 dogs, a pig, an emu and 300 mice were engaged in bringing Rosalie Ham’s much loved novel alive on screen.
Kate Winslet was our ideal ‘Tilly’: beautiful, strong, quick-witted, and even quicker sewing on her period Singer sewing machine. The mother-daughter relationship between our ‘Molly’, Judy Davis, and Tilly is moving and a joy to watch. To see these two great actresses working together on the screen has been electric and often hilarious.
Liam Hemsworth brought loads of natural charm and warmth to ‘Teddy’ and it’s no wonder Tilly falls for this likeable and devastatingly handsome rogue. And Hugo Weaving was perfect as our debonair ‘Sergeant Farrat’. Add to this Sacha Horler as the formidable ‘Una’ who attempts to rival Tilly and Sarah Snook, a revelation as ‘Gertrude’ who bowls everyone over in her exquisite gowns designed by Marion Boyce. We are indebted to our entire cast, of which there are so many, who added such depth and character to the townspeople of Dungatar.
It is very sad to see Roger Ford’s stunning township design pulled down—nail by nail, plank by plank—but it has been beautifully preserved forever on the screen by DOP Don McAlpine and his team. We are now well into post-production and the film has started to take shape in the expert hands of editor Jill Bilcock. Composer David Hirschfelder is writing the original score which will weave together with period songs recorded by artists such as Lanie Lane. The Dressmaker will be released by Universal Pictures on 1 October, 2015.”
By Sue Maslin, Producer – The Dressmaker