Q&A with Miranda Tapsell

We sat down for a virtual chat with one of our favourite Australian Actor/filmmaker’s Miranda Tapsell
For the release of The Dry on January 1 we caught up (virtually) with Miranda Tapsell to have a chat about her career thus far, how she got started and the inspiration that helped her chase her dreams. 

What was the role where you started to feel the momentum of your acting career? 

The first film I’d ever been in was playing Cynthia in ‘The Sapphires’. I was only 24 years old and it was my first lead in a film. I was very lucky to have lots of people on set particularly the girls: Deborah Mailmen, Shari Sebbens and Jessica Mauboy helping me through it. It was such an exciting time, like who would say no to a role where you get to sing soul music in the sixties and actually celebrate being Aboriginal on top of that! It was just an incredible film to be a part of and to start with.

Miranda Tapsell and the cast of The Sapphires

Who did you look up to in the industry, did you have anyone that helped to guide you in your early career? 

Well, growing up I was incredibly lucky to have parents that pointed out all these incredible musicians and actors that were in the limelight. So I grew up singing Yothi Yindi ‘Treaty’ at the top of my lungs, I was singing ‘My Island Home’ that Christine Anu covered from the ‘Warumpi band’. I think seeing those people on my screen and on my stereos made me less apologetic to be who I was really was, and that was Aboriginal. In saying that this wonderful actor Aaron Pederson came to my school, and before then, I was like acting is not going to happen for me, I don’t live in Sydney or Melbourne but he came to my school and he’d just done ‘Water Rats’ you know that show back in the 90’s? And I just went, oh my goodness, this feels real now and when I found out he was from Alice Springs like he was from the Northern Territory just like me I thought oh this is actually possible for me. From then on, I just made the decision that I was going to be an actor and despite everyone saying you’ve got to have a backup plan I just followed my heart I guess (laughs).

Miranda Tapsell

There’s been so many changes to the entertainment industry this year with COVID do you there’ll now be a bigger focus on Australian made/produced films and tv series? 

Woah well that’s really hard to say, but that’s what makes me really excited about The Dry coming out so that people don’t forget about the great art that we make in this country. I know that through this time that I’ve watched a lot of stuff from the UK and the U.S. and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think it’s really nice that we haven’t completely forgotten who we are and how we reflect that in our stories. I think that it’s a matter of the general public being more vocal about seeing more of that, because we don’t want our stories to disappear…well I know I don’t! People have been turning to stories during this time for hope, for comfort, for just something to get each other through. I know that I did, I turned to music, to books, films, television so we mustn’t forget how important that is in our lives.

Miranda Tapsell

What kind of advice would you give young up and comers who are trying to get into the entertainment industry at a difficult time? 

That is such a wonderful question! I really am touched by the amount of young people, particularly young girls. But I’ll never forget being in the Blue Mountains and this young boy was like “oh my gosh, I just want you know to how much I admire you, and I just need your advice, how do I chase this?” I was so put on the spot, but I said to him ‘that’s so lovely for you to say.’ I think I just told him my experience and that was I just followed my heart and never stopped going after what I wanted, as long as I was willing to work hard and pick myself up when I made mistakes I think you really can’t go wrong. I was very lucky to come into some success at a very young which doesn’t happen for a lot of actors I’m aware. But once I was given more and more opportunities, I took them and I ran, I never said no.

What is your 2020 film or TV recommendation? 

Oh my goodness, well I definitely encourage people to see The Dry (…see what I did there?) it comes out on January 1, go to the cinema during it’s very first week that’s what a lot of films rely on when they release at the cinema so if you guys can please, please (hands together) be safe and enjoy The Dry.

What to read next

Gone Girl

The Best Crime Movies of All Time

Murder. Death. Deceit. What’s better than a killer crime thriller?
The Big Sick

Movies Based on Beautiful True Stories

Who said the truth can’t be beautiful?
Eric Bana in The Dry

Eric Bana’s Best Movies

It’s a Bana year for Eric.