Deborra-Lee Furness is frantically trying to say goodbye to a household of visitors in
her new London home. The veteran actress is now living in London while husband of close to
three years, actor Hugh Jackman, is treading the theatrical boards in Oklahoma.
"Every Australian I know seems to be passing through this city", the actress
says laughingly. It's the first time she might have followed a man halfway around the
world, but she wouldn't have it any other way, despite putting her own acting on hold.
"It's tough, but you've got to stay together. That's the deal we made when we got
married, to do that, so it's hard for both of us to be doing something and be in the same
country." Which is why, she confesses, she wants to expand her horizons. "It
makes you get creative in other areas, so I'm looking to maybe go behind the cameras as a
director." Even though it's become fashionable these days for actors to swing behind
the camera: "You know me, I'm a slave to fashion", she quips. "But it IS
something I've wanted to do for ages, and it seems like now is the appropriate time."
"It TERRIFIED me." on working with
Before leaving for her temporary new life in England, Lee-Furness took some time out to
co-star in the family adventure yarn, The Real Macaw. The film revolves around a
smart-aleck talking parrot trying to prevent his crusty old owner (played by Oscar winner
Jason Robards) from being thrown out of his home, with a little help from his loyal
grandson (Jamie Crofts). "I'd already turned out another movie with a talking animal,
and I wasn't too interested. Then the guys making The Real Macaw offered me this, but I
thought I was all wrong to play 'the woman'."
They persisted, however, and she agreed to do it "as long as she was given a more
female input to the whole thing, in this otherwise male domain. I wanted her to be the
more female person that would effect these three men: grandfather, father and grandson -
and bring them all together."
The film also involved her sharing the screen with the bird, her least favourite part
of the whole process. "It TERRIFIED me. I have a thing about birds, like Tippi Hedren
in The Birds. I find them freaky, despite the fact that I'm an animal lover; but birds
just freak me out."
"I was inspired by his energy" on
She might have been intimidated by the bird, but not by co-star Jason Robards. "I
found him utterly inspiring, because he was like a child at play, and it mattered to him
absolutely. I was inspired by his energy, that at his age, to still want to create
something. It was also great getting all the gossip - from JFK and Marilyn to you name it.
He was name dropping all these cool friends. It was great."
Lee-Furness was coy when asked if playing this latest character brought out her
maternal instincts. "I like playing mums; I've played a few of them." And yes,
she hopes to be a mother sooner than later.
Deborra is due to stay in London till at least October, at which time Oklahoma finishes
its run. After that, she has no specific plans. "That's the life of the gypsy for
you; we have no idea what's going to happen next." But she hopes to apply for the
London International School of Film for next year "and eventually get all my friends
together so we can make the greatest film of the century. Directing is a whole different
ballgame; with acting you just get your call sheet, you shout and they push you around.
This way you've gotta work really hard," she concludes laughingly. But she does hope
one day to co-star with her husband.