Director Rachel Ward and actor Bryan Brown are a powerhouse couple in Australian cinema, and their recent production includes some of their own good friends and family.
Palm Beach showcases the natural beauty and the style of Sydney’s northshore as the setting for a comedy/drama at a reunion.
The cast includes Sam Neill, Richard E. Grant, Greta Scacchi, Jacqueline McKenzie and Heather Mitchell, as well as Ward and Brown’s daughter, Matilda Brown.
Rachel Ward explains the movie is about family and friendship.
“It’s about a group of friends who’ve known each other for a very long time. In fact, they were in a band together when they were in their 20s and they’ve remained very close friends, and they come together for a milestone birthday. And a secret is unravelled.”
It’s deliberately targeted at older Australians, who are often overlooked in cinema.
“You kind of start to feel a little bit invisible. One of the things that we very much wanted to do with this film was to capture that demographic, and to make an aspirational film.”
“Which–in a way–was celebrating we in Australia are actually vastly middle-class and many of us have a great lifestyle. And we are actually surprisingly sophisticated.”
Beautiful décor, good food and fine wine all feature in the story, so it’s fitting the couple enjoyed a Spirit of Queensland Lobby High Tea at Stamford Plaza Brisbane while promoting the film.
It uses local produce, and includes a sweet treat called “Essence of Queensland” that was created by a Stamford pastry chef for the Queen, and served to her during her trip to Brisbane in 2011.
It’s been a while since the couple visited Brisbane for pleasure, but they’re both impressed by what they’ve seen.
“The river’s used so much now,” Bryan told us. “Going through South Bank with the trees along the middle of the road and you look out and there’s all sorts of restaurants that are open…I’m sort of knocked out.“