Natalie Press and Emily Blunt are stars of the future, as their performances in the BAFTA-winning film My Summer Of Love showed.
In the hands of director Pawel Pawlikowski, the women make an unlikely summer romance between posh Tamsin (Blunt) and poor Mona (Press) entirely believable.
In My Summer Of Love, Tamsin rides a white horse and Mona a motor-scooter that lacks an engine.
While Mona suffers life in a dodgy ex-pub with her passive aggressive born-again Christian brother, Tamsin lives in a huge house full of beautiful things. Neither has much love going on in their lives until they meet each other.
While the Sydney Film Festival publicists have managed to use every term other than lesbian to describe the girls’ intense friendship and romance, there can be no doubt My Summer Of Love is a lesbian film.
But it’s a very hard film to classify, Blunt says. And it’s very hard for us to completely sum it up when people ask what it’s about.
The film is both women’s first feature, and has been extremely well-received by critics.
In addition to winning the BAFTA for last year’s best film (beating Academy Award nominee Vera Drake), the film’s two stars were both nominated for British film awards, sharing the Evening Standard award for Most Promising Newcomer.
By the time the film got to Australian screens (as the much-hyped opening night feature of the Sydney Film Festival), two years had passed since Blunt and Press passed Pawlikowski’s arduous audition process.
By the time the SSO got to them, they were almost hysterical: capable of long, thoughtful answers one moment, and breaking into Home And Away impressions the next.
Press is not the poor Yorkshire girl seen in My Summer Of Love but Blunt is not as posh as she seems either -“ their speech is riddled with teen-speak: I’m on form, man, Press says. This hotel is bling, innit?
Neither seems fazed about their first major appearance including a same-sex affair (complete with nudity and a sex scene).
Blunt says that comes from their confidence in Pawlikowski as a film-maker.
We knew we were working with a genius, she says.
We knew we were working with someone whose new creation was eagerly anticipated. Pawel likes to focus on unlikely heroes, and Mona is such a brilliant heroine. I hope people have been craving a film like this, especially in the UK.
Press: It’s a small story, the story’s quite slight. Which gives the audience an opportunity to relate to it on different levels.
Both have signed on to major projects in the wake of My Summer Of Love‘s success. For now, they’re happy to ride the film’s publicity trail for a bit longer. As long as they don’t have to sit in festival theatres and watch it again.
As Blunt says, We know how great the film is. We don’t have to watch ourselves and go -˜oh god, we were so great’.
My Summer Of Love opens on Wednesday 29 June.