52 Tuesdays is a new Australian drama opening this week. Filmed in an unusual manner, with non professional actors, and a subject matter exploring gender, sexual, and personal identity, it was an exciting challenge for one of its young actors, Tilda Cobham-Hervey.
“It was shot on every Tuesday, only on Tuesdays during the course of the year. And every Tuesday had to be in the film. And we only got the script a week before, so we never knew what was coming. Always a surprise so at the end of that day of shooting you would get the script for the next week.
“None of us were professional actors or trained actors or anything like that before. So I think it was much easier to come at it that way, because we never had to deal with a script before. So it didn’t feel wildly unusual that you would shoot in order and not know what was going to happen to you. I mean it was challenging as well, I was completing Year 12 at the same time. Just committing a year is massive, but it was such an excellent team of people and we had such a ball.”
In fact with a background in circus and a personality differing from the lead character, Cobham-Hervey thought she was an unlikely choice for the role, but she was glad the director felt otherwise.
As for the films exploration of gender identity, it wasn’t a big hurdle for Cobham-Hervey “I grew up in a family where gender didn’t define who they were, and gender was a fluid thing. The first four weddings I went to were all gay weddings (not legal of course… wish they were). So I was pretty comfortable with that stereotype rather than just man or woman. I think I learnt more over the course of the year, that gender wasn’t something that defines people. So in terms of that, I learnt it with the character.”
At its heart 52 Tuesdays explores a range of questions about identity and relationships. “‘Are you living an authentic life?’ That was a question asked half way through, and I think what the crux of the film is about.
“We all discussed (sexual identity – a primary drive in her character arc) a huge amount and it was confronting and it was very important to delve into that side. It wasn’t very similar to my experience growing up. I mean I never had a boyfriend and couldn’t say ‘fuck’ without growing bright red. And they are the first two words of the film. The characters I think (Billie and the two other teenage characters) it’s very much about what it feels like, and making a very honest and open space for that stuff. It’s not getting drunk in the back of a car and having sex. That’s something you see all the time, and people are used to seeing that. This is an unusual version as they are really discovering and delving into what it means. In a sense viewers would be more confronted by that.”
As for what the future holds for her? She is unsure, but she does know it will be in the arts, and she was glad to have this special experience over 52 Tuesdays.