The Australian Outback is a notoriously dangerous, harsh and unforgiving place, filled with some of the world’s deadliest creatures, and open spaces so vast it could take days to stumble across even the smallest signs of civilisation.
We Aussies know this and even take great pride in talking up the dangers to our foreign visitors (not to mention throwing the made-up carnivorous marsupial tree-dwellers into the conversation *wink*). Despite our best efforts to forewarn tourists of the dangers, inevitably there are always those who get lost and find themselves at the mercy of our country’s more unforgiving terrain.
It was in examining a number of these stories, where foreign tourists have been lost in the outback, fighting for their survival after a series of small but crucial decisions, that writer-director Mike Green found his inspiration for his debut feature film Outback.
Written in four weeks, filmed in the span of 10 days and funded entirely on a credit card, Green’s plan for putting his film together was as ambitious as it gets, but he was well-prepared for the lightning turnaround.
“Given the film was written, prepped and shot so quickly, it was imperative to do what could be done to get the best out of the small and nimble cast and crew,” Green tells Supanova.
“I’m a 1st AD by day with a deep understanding of how to film things quickly, efficiently and how to create an environment to capture authentic performances.”
Originally hailing from the hospitality industry, where he owned and operated many venues, Green’s jump across to the film industry is one that he feels his former career helped prepare him for, where “what I was actually doing was honing my world-building skills much like a director does for a film”.
After several years working in various roles behind the scenes in film and television, it was working alongside White House Down and The Amazing Spider-Man screenwriter James Vanderbilt on his 2015 political drama Truth with Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford that gave Green a real taste for the industry, and he would love to work with James again in the future.
“I’m currently running a few projects past him as he’s just started up his own production company,” Green reveals.
If ever given the opportunity, one of his dream projects would be “to helm a Bourne film”.
As for his work on Outback, whilst his film’s two lead characters, American tourists Wade (played by Taylor Wiese) and Lisa (played by Lauren Lofberg) have a lot to contend with after abandoning their car and heading off on foot, Green himself was pretty comfortable working with the dangers presented on screen.
“I have filmed with insects, snakes, crocodiles, animals, in all sorts of weather conditions and environments and wasn’t afraid to work with scorpions, snakes or in the surf with jellyfish,” he says.
When asked, however, he said he is admittedly “terrified of sharks. I grew up in Adelaide and as a kid we had numerous shark fatalities at local beaches.”
What’s next for Green? He is currently “attached to direct a horror/thriller set in the 1860s that deals with faith and obedience”.
“I’m very excited by it,” he tells. “I’ve also written a horror riffing on my baby’s experience with colic. We have a supernatural entity haunting a new mother and it’s designed as a studio release type movie.”
Outback is headed to DVD and Blu-Ray on September 2, courtesy of Madman Entertainment.