A gripping new sci-fi film is about to hit our screens thanks to the genius work of director and screenwriter Shane Abbess. The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One follows the emotional struggles and warfare of a world in peril. With a strong Aussie cast shining through and Hollywood superstar Kellan Lutz in a leading role, there are plenty of reasons to get to the movies this week. I had a chat to Abbess, Lutz and newcomer Teagan Croft ahead of the film’s release this week.
This film is about a global crisis, which is somewhat, what we are experiencing right now, but I don’t want to talk about all that negativity. I always look for the positive in life so I want to know how you guys try and find the positive in a crisis situation?
Tegan: I always think of people who don’t even have close to what we have. These people who are locked up in their country or don’t have food, water, shelter; the necessities. Thinking about that puts it into perspective.
Shane: Mine would be when Andy Whitfield, who was in my first film, passed away from cancer he had “Be Here Now” tattooed on his arm. For me I always wear his band because that whole notion of be here now is what I’ve always struggled with my whole life. How I overcome crisis is that I’m very thankful for wherever I am in that one place, and I keep things very simple. My life is simple and I do my best where I can.
Kellan: All those are great. Same thing, “Be Here Now”, but we also worry about things that really aren’t as critical as they are. We make them bigger monsters than they truly are, and years from now we’ll look back – even the crisis we’re going through right now – our generation will look back 5-10 years from now and see the positive. I think it’s always good to see the positive in any situation and if you can’t, don’t dwell on the negative. Find something to be grateful for. Like Teagan said, we’re better off than a lot of people, so count your blessings.
Shane: I have that poster in my office which is “The thing you’re complaining about today, someone else is praying for”, and you kinda go, oh yeah okay I’m not gonna complain about my rent cause I have a home.
The film is set in the future, and it’s crazy to think we could live on planets other than our own. Did any of you consider the NASA Journey to Mars, or would you if the opportunity came around again?
Teagan: Honestly, a long time ago people would have thought about going to a different country. If we keep overpopulating and wanting to know what’s out there, eventually it’s going to become the new norm; just popping on a space ship.
Shane: If my whole family and kids went with me I’d do it, or they’d have to be old enough to let me go. I think Mars is just a big red rock and I’m not really too pumped about that. Maybe if there’s an Avatar world [laughs].
Kellan: I’d do it just to see Earth from that perspective. I’d never want to live on a dead planet. Mars isn’t beautiful to me. I think the search and discovery to be first in space is just in human’s DNA, but we have a beautiful Earth unlike any other planet and we take it for granted. We have so many wonders of the world, I’d chase them. There aren’t enough seconds in a day, and it’s fascinating how much is still undiscovered here on earth.
One of the things I loved about the film were the landscapes. Shane, you really showed off Australia’s beauty, and I didn’t even know these places existed. Is it important to you to showcase your hometown when you’re making a movie?
Shane: No not at all! I’m probably the least culturally significant film maker in this country. I love Australia, I loved growing up here, I love the people, I love everything about it, but for me sci-fi is well beyond. I believe this is one big rock separated by water so what makes me laugh is that different religions and cultures live on the same rock, and they’ll kill each other; but it’s the same rock, the same land. Sci-fi is good for me because it pushes me beyond that, but at the same point it’s lovely to showcase what is great about Australia, but I don’t set out at the start to showcase Australia. Whatever part of Earth we’re on I will shoot there (if the rebates are good) [laughs].
Some beautiful themes were explored throughout the film, but a couple stood out to me. Leadership being one of them. Who do you guys look up to in terms of being a leader whether it’s in your own life or in the world?
Kellan: Becca, Teagan’s mum! Before she steals it [laughs].
Teagan: Yes, I look up to my mum. She really helps me with everything I do. I couldn’t do half the things I do without her help, without my dad’s help or my sister’s. They’re so influential in my life and I’m grateful for them every day.
Kellan: I think I’ve been such a lone wolf growing up and I had to become my own leader. My mum’s always been there, and always will be; she did what she could – she’s my Wonder Woman. But as far as being a leader, I’ve had to learn that what makes a leader by people who weren’t leaders, and have my own discernment and wisdom from that.
Shane: If the question was inspiration I’d say my family, but as far as leaders go I’m like Kellan. I’ve always proudly flown a pirate flag on my ship. Leaders are more the people around me; they give me wisdom and strength.
Teagan: We also have different perspectives because I’m only 13 and these are two fully grown adults, so we will have very different perspectives.
Shane: I have the mind of a toddler! [laughs]
Another theme explored was second chances. Do you guys believe in second chances in this life?
All: Yeah! Of course.
Shane: Having people like Kellan in my life has shown me that you do need to forgive, as hard as it is. I’m a darker horse in that way, I have trouble with that but I eventually find my way there.
I have a question for each of you now. Starting with you Kellan. You’ve really established yourself, your work and your talent in the industry. Has there been a standout moment for you over the years?
Kellan: This one for sure! I know when we met five years ago we just connected, and you do a lot of meetings and some stuff comes from them but to have the depth we had… when he rang me about this film I read it and I saw the multi layers and facets to my character, and the story as well. I’m used to playing commercial studio movies where there’s not much depth and your robotic or one note. I’ve never been more proud of the journey I took working with Shane, and getting the opportunity to work with such talented Australian actors.
Great segue! Shane, you have such a great ensemble of Aussie actors in the film, but what advice would you give to Aussie screenwriters to keep writing and creating work here in Australia?
Shane: That’s our weakest link; our screenwriters. We don’t have an industry that sustains continuous scriptwriting so you end up becoming a film maker who writes and creates, or you move to Hollywood. They need persistence but also to write about things people want to watch, and also taking the time. I think with technology today a lot of people are tying to skip the necessary steps with making mistakes.
I made 28 short films before Gabriel and most of them are terrible. I wanted to know how to have a visual style, and how do I get myself out of situations on set. Once you really know your craft, and I’m still many years away from the greats are, but screenwriters need to be writing and writing and writing, and doing it with a mind unfortunately of how do I get this bought and financed. You have to have a little bit of business now as opposed to just making a great script. They have to be working hard towards that.
NOTE THAT THE FINAL QUESTION BELOW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Teagan, it was sad but I loved the scene with you and Daniel McPherson who plays your dad. When he died, your character Indie didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to him. If she did get the chance to, what do you think she would have said?
Teagan: I forgive you. She kept a grudge against him pretty much her whole life because he left, and he never said anything. Then we he came back, he was so different to who she thought he was. She never really got to say I forgive you, and he had no closure.
Shane: It’s interesting, I think a lot of people connect to that moment, especially parents. When Dan was riffing on about the softball game, it wasn’t a movie perfect way to how it was done, it was just raw; from his thoughts and memories. They way Teagan was responding to him too, it just taps into everyone’s guilt. As a parent I go, anything I’ve done wrong, this is what I want to say – I tried my best.
The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Volume One is in Australian cinemas this Thursday.