Photo: courtesy of IMDB

Felicity Price is an Australian actress with a long list of television, film and theatre roles. She recently co-wrote and played the lead role of Alice in Wish You Were Here, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2012. The screenplay is her first collaboration with husband, Kieran Darcy-Smith, and was filmed shortly after the birth of her second child. Felicity discusses the process of making their first Australian feature film under such potentially stressful circumstances.

Interview by Eliza Muldoon

What were some of the most stressful parts of making the film, Wish You Were Herepre-production, filming or post-production?

When I look back on it all through my rose-coloured glasses – once we were financed and in production – I don’t remember it as stressful. It is such a big deal to get a feature film up and running in Australia, and I was just so happy to be making our film and to be telling this story. The writing process (about four years prior to this) was fantastic, but the sheer effort of spending a number of years writing a project and earning no money from all that effort was at times stressful.

I do know that while we were shooting I lost a heap of weight and got very used to having about two hours sleep a night – it was taxing. When we started shooting the film, our baby was five and a half months old and our son was a two. We had a live-in nanny, but because my husband was directing the film the most difficult thing was that both of us were away from the kids so much. Both of us were on set everyday and after we wrapped Kieran was going off to view rushes and prepare for the next day’s shoot – so for him it was a 22 hour a day job. I was still breastfeeding as much as I could AND we took the kids with us to Cambodia when we shot there – so the shoot was pretty chaotic!

In what ways did having your family together help the process?

Because film is such an all-consuming job I think it was wonderful that Kieran and I got to experience making our first feature together. This was the first feature he directed and I loved being on set to experience that with him. This project was our baby and we were bringing it to life. The whole experience -including the writing – has been wonderfully enriching for our relationship.

Often people will ask, “Wow, how could you do that as a couple, weren’t you fighting all the time? But it was exactly the opposite. We loved having this project that we were all-consumed in together. We’d love to do it again. And with the kids – they will always be part of the experience. They have grown up with us making this film, they came with us to Cambodia and we’ve all moved over to LA now – the film has made their lives more adventurous.

Were there any times where you felt like giving up? When you thought that you faced insurmountable obstacles?

I never felt like giving up, but there were tears. With our fourth or fifth draft we were accepted into the Screen NSW Aurora script development program. That was a real turning point for the film’s development and after that program we got financed pretty quickly. But previous to that, we were knocked back from a couple of similar script development programs and funding rounds, and at times like that it all felt very hard. But we always picked ourselves up and got back into it – usually with more vigor!

What strategies do you use to keep life in balance?

I’d like to say – yoga, meditation, good cardio exercise, regular day spas, massage – but who has time for any of this with toddlers?? In reality, I eat pretty well, try to drink lots of water, try to get good sleep, try to get in a good long walk a couple of times a week, try to have a stretch every once in a while and occasionally get in a dinner out with hubby and friends. But sometimes I don’t do any of these and I am a frazzled mess!

Finally, what is more stressful being busy or not being busy?

Hmmm… Such a good question. For me personally, I struggle with not being busy. That’s when my mind goes into overdrive. When I am busy, I am focused and all those other petty little worries fly out the window.

To find out more on Wish You Were Here: