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TV.com: Tomorrow When the War Began Q&A

Phoebe Tonkin and Deniz Akdeniz speak to TV.com about their roles as Fiona Maxwell and Homer Yannos in the film Tomorrow When the War Began.

Tomorrow When the War Began stars Phoebe Tonkin (H20: Just Add Water) and Deniz Akdeniz (When The Bell Rings) discuss the making of the film and how the process compared with their previous television work.

How would you sell the film to cinema-goers who may not be familiar with the book series?
Phoebe Tonkin: It’s just a great story. Between the eight of us we are all very different characters, and I think universally people can relate to these characters.

Deniz Akdeniz: Yeah, they really are great characters, and we put them into the worst situation — which is war. In the end, it is an action-adventure, with great action scenes which they went all-out on.

It’s a coming of age story too, just to see how these teenagers step up to the plate when the shit hits the fan.

Were you very conscious about the pressures of producing a film adaptation of such a well-loved book?
Phoebe: There’s obviously a lot of pressure, but we were so immersed, so we completely forgot. When we were filming, it was about the day to day. You have to put it behind you, because everybody has these preconceived ideas of what these characters will look like, or acted like, or spoke like, so you have to just do the best you can.
We all would sit around and give each other input, and Stuart would give us ideas and guidance.

We know everyone will be going book-movie-book-movie in their heads…

Deniz: It was all a very collaborative process. Stuart [Beattie — the film’s director] was great. I mean, John loved Stuart’s ideas from the get-go. And Stuart, is a great safety net. So [any concerns about the adaptation] went out of the window. As we started filming day to day, it all came together.

How did the cast bond during the making of the film?

Phoebe: I hate to say it, because it’s so clich√©, but we really are the best friends. If anything, we got so close that the producers came and told us to stop giggling and laughing and making jokes because they were getting sick of it. Because we are such good friends.

Deniz: And we hope that shows in the film!

How does the process of film-making compare to your television work?
Deniz: Well, my TV experience is Disney, in As the Bell Rings. Mine was always comedy, and was just mucking around. I had never done any screen work of this nature. Everything was just on a larger scale, so I was a bit taken aback by that.

Phoebe: To be honest, H20: Just Add Water wasn’t hugely different in regards to how we shot each day, and things like that. But, obviously, the scale is different. Doing shows like Home and Away, it’s so quick, you’re doing 12 minutes a day, whereas with this we were doing three or four minutes a day. So you are able to play with the scenes and play with the lines, and not feel like you are really eating up time. They’ve allowed time to play a bit. I would say that’s the biggest difference.

Do you have a preference for TV or movie work?
Phoebe: They are such different experiences. I mean, I loved my time on H20, but this is a whole different journey, meeting different people, getting involved in a different character.

Deniz: You get more “play time” [in a film], and that’s what I come here to do!

Has there been talk of sequels?
Deniz: If everyone loves it as much as we loved making it, 100 percent, we are all signed on — we have so much more cool stuff to do with it. There’s some cool places we can take these characters. I mean, the war has only just started…

Phoebe: And it is called “Tomorrow” When the War Began!

Deniz: Exactly! So what happens tomorrow?!

Published August 27, 2010
by Peter Allott