Teresa Palmer is one of the fastest rising actresses working in Hollywood today; with films like THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE, TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, I AM NUMBER FOUR and WARM BODIES under her belt, the Australian-born Palmer is poised to show off her acting chops for real in the independent feature WISH YOU WERE HERE (opening June 7th), which co-stars fellow Aussie Joel Edgerton. She's also just finished shooting the new Terrence Malick movie; about a million other actors probably wish they could say the same.
I recently spoke with Ms. Palmer about WISH YOU WERE HERE, using her Australian accent for a change, what the most unrealistic rumors about her online are and what the status of WARM BODIES 2 is. It's too bad you can't hear her voice, because that accent is absolutely lovely. Just like the actress herself.
You've done a lot of big Hollywood movies in the past few years, but WISH YOU WERE HERE is a departure from that, a much smaller film. What attracted you to the project?
I actually knew the director, Kieran Darcy-Smith, socially, and I was at a dinner party when he came up to me and said "Hey Tes, I have this script that I've written, would love you to take a look." I read the script, and in the meantime he saw my movie TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, and we then decided to do the film together and it was a really wonderful collaboration. I just thought it was a great script, so gritty and raw and suspenseful.
What genre do you think it fits into? Is it suspense-mystery?
Yeah, mystery, thriller. It's also kind of a beautiful relationship drama too, it delves into the ideas of marriage and monogamy and how hard it can be for a couple who are together for a long time.
I know you shot it in your native Australia, was it nice to use your natural accent?
It was! Really refreshing, I haven't been able to do that in a while. Actually, in I AM NUMBER FOUR, I got to use my accent, but in post-production they made me come in and tweak it so that I sounded half-American and half-Australian.
How were you first discovered?
I guess I was discovered because my picture was on this website for an acting agency, and this director saw my picture and called the agency, and said he was casting a film. So we met for lunch and I was like, "What kind of movie are you making?" He handed me a script and it was called 2:37, and it ended up being my first film. I was 17 and it really changed my life, it even screened at Cannes. Once that happened, the American agents sort of plucked me up and brought me to America.
What has the transition been like, going from obscurity to being in all these Hollywood movies?
A real whirlwind. Things have been moving very quickly. It's a dream, it really is a dream, but now it has just become my life. I'm not in this elated state, it has become the reality of my life. And I just want to use these opportunities the best I can to continue to be a good person and try to implement positive change.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Probably working with Terrence Malick [on KNIGHT OF CUPS]. That was the best experience I've had on a film, it reignited my passion for filmmaking, I just loved every minute of it. Every day, I had no idea what was going to happen, I had no idea what the characters were going to be talking about or where we were going to be shooting. It was completely guerrilla-style filmmaking. I essentially play a heightened version of myself. It was an incredible experience.
Do you ever google yourself, or look to see what people are writing about you?
Honestly, the sensible thing to do is to not google yourself, but sometimes we humans like to torture ourselves. I know that if I've been followed around by a photographer and I've felt uncomfortable about what I was wearing, I'll look it up. My dad gets google alerts, and he'll send me an article and I'll read it and not be that interested, but of course sometimes I'll just scroll down to the comments to read what people are saying. And of course there are people who come and troll and they write very nasty things, but I respect myself enough not to take it to heart.
What's the weirdest or most untrue thing you've read about yourself?
I've read that I've been pregnant a bunch of times, which is news to me.
Yeah, you think you'd know.
I figured I would know! I've also dated everyone in Hollywood apparently. I hope you quote me correctly on that! (Laughs) All these various rumors - my dad will ring me up and say, "I read this on the internet, is it true?!" I always tell Dad, "You have the source directly, don't you think I would tell you?!" He'll stand up for me as well; if someone says I'm fat or a bad actress, my dad will get on the message boards and say, "I'm her dad and I have to tell you she isn't fat and she's not a bad actress!" He's really endearing.
That's an awesome dad!
He's really awesome. He's tried to change my online middle name back to my real middle name. It's Mary in real life, but on the internet it says Edwina. For some reason, somebody just made up that my middle name is Edwina. And my dad has tried relentlessly to change it back to Mary on Wikipedia, but he's failed!
That's such a random thing to make up about you, too.
Edwina, such a random name. I'd get if it were Sarah or Emily or whatever, but Edwina is very creative.
How do you relax when you're not on set?
I hold these soul sessions every week at my house. It's a group of friends at my house, and it's encouraging people to live through their higher selves, and we share stories and meditate. It's just like a big support group. And I have a website called yourzenlife.com which is all about health and living your best life and spirituality. I also write; I'm working on this project with my partner Mark [actor-director Mark Webber] called THE EVER AFTER, which we've both written and are starring in. It also stars Melissa Leo.
Can you tell me what the status of WARM BODIES 2 is?
I'd love for it to happen! Right now I don't think there are any plans, but I'm usually the last to know in these situations. I would love to go back to explore the world of R and Julie again, I fell in love with those characters.
Well thanks so much for your time, I appreciate it. And if I can, I'll set the record straight on your middle name.
(Laughs) Thank you so much, let Wikipedia know for me!
To keep in closer touch with this awesome actress, check out her Twitter page RIGHT HERE.