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Interview: Maya Stange

Review by By Clint Morris

Interview with Maya Stange
Actor from Garage Days and XX/XY films.

Young Person's Express-Guide to Becoming a Rock Star: While most people would cut a demo, take some classes, heck… learn to sing or play… Actress Maya Stange decided the quickest way to become a rock star was to star in a movie about the profession.

Thankfully, hot film director Alex Proyas was casting a new movie called Garage Days, and the role of Kate had Stange's name written all over it. The movie, due for release later this year, is quite a departure for the Fremantle-raised starlet, whose previous films include Bill Bennett's In A Savage Land, Head On and Russell Crowe starrer Love in Limbo. Clint Morris caught up with the promising local newcomer, in between re-fitting her strings on the Garage Days quarters.


Stange: hot Aussie property

Alex Proyas is going for something diverse with Garage Days. It's more of a personal project, and a bona fide human story, in contrast to his previous directing efforts, the last of which was the shadowy science fiction movie Dark City.

"It's about a band in Newtown trying to make it happen, trying to score that first gig. It's also a love story. And a lot of other stuff happens along the way," Stange tells.

"I play Kate, a young designer, who's a pretty funky chick, though she's probably the most straight of the group. I mean, she has her life pretty much together (at the beginning of the story) but things aren't going too well with them and she realises she actually has a thing for the lead singer, Freddy (Kick Gurry).

"It sends everything into a spin when she and Freddy have to work out whether to act on their feelings and risk f*cking up things with the band," she adds.

Stange, also a familiar face on Australian TV, jumped at the chance to star in Garage Days, mainly because she knew what the director was trying to say with the film.

"The really fun thing about Alex is that he is open to input, so I guess there was a feeling that we were doing it together.

"There is a great balance with Alex between clarity - he knows exactly what he wants - and openness - he is willing to check out anything we suggested and give it a go. For me, this is the key thing in a director," explains Stange. "Plus, I just think he's a genius. I mean, there is all this crazy stuff in the movie that is pure Alex, and we can't really take any credit for it. His vision with the camera, his way of expressing directly through images just blow me away. Really I was just happy to be in his movie, to be a part of it."

Garage Days also stars Pia Miranda and Kick Gurry, and luckily for Stange, they do the singing and the playing. "Kick sings, Pia plays the bass guitar. Homebake was the most adrenaline filled, outrageously fun day of filming ever," she says. "We had such a brilliant time, we didn't want it to end. The cast and crew were unreal, and the nature of the project - comedy, rock and roll, and all that - made it a great world to inhabit, the characters are all so vivid, Alex was amazing, I just fell in love with the whole thing basically." Says a besotted Stange.

How do you say - jamming?

"We had a month of rehearsals which made a huge difference. It meant that by the time we were shooting we had laid all the foundations, we were so solid as a group, and the characters had really come into their own, the
rest was really just about enjoying the ride."

Stange still remains down to earth despite her sudden surge on the Aussie power list and she's ever so thankful to those who have helped out along the way. "I worked with Russell Crowe when I was sixteen, and he definitely had an impact on me and the way I thought about acting as a career. And you know, he's not a bad actor! That was my first job. Actually the person who has probably taught me the most as an actor is Richard Roxburgh, who I was in Closer with at the Sydney theatre company. He also directed me in Twelfth night at Belvoir St. theatre last year. He is my mentor, and just a hero to me." Next up for Stange is a Hollywood production called XX/XY.

XX/XY is about three people in New York who meet at a party and attempt to have a threesome that doesn't go so well. It's about the relationships that arise out of that night, and all the issues of trust and love and basically how screwed up and confused we are in relationships, how we can be so brutal each other.

"My character and Mark Ruffalo's character get into this relationship but there is not a lot of trust or communication between them because of the way the whole thing started. It's a pretty cool movie, I think the director, Austin Chick, has done a great job. I think it comes out in the states around September this year, and hopefully it will come out in Australia after that," says Stange, who is also full of praise for co-star Mark Ruffalo (You Can Count On Me).

"He blew me away. That was a really intense experience because of the nature of the project, and because I think mark is one of the best actors around at the moment - he is seriously good. And it was such a pleasure working with him also, because of who he is as a person. I would love to do it again."

From rock star to raunchy romancer, Maya Stange is on an express ticket to stardom.

Garage Days Opens Late 2002
XX/XY opens Late 2002

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