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PORTER, SUSIE : WELCOME TO WOOP WOOP

HEAT AND DUST AND FLIES AND SEX
Since her graduation from drama school nearly three years ago, actress Susie Porter has appeared in half a dozen films. But nothing will prepare movie audiences for the outrageous character she plays in the most politically incorrect Australian film of the year, Welcome to Woop Woop. She spoke to PAUL FISCHER.

For her first big movie role, Susie Porter gets to be incredibly audacious, a fact she realised when she first read script close to three years ago. "When I first read it, I found it funny and its sense of humour appealed to me. It was also interesting that structurally, on paper, it seemed very conventional, in terms of how the film's hero deals with being in this incredibly alien environment. Of course, I realised to what extent that structure was turned on its head once I actually saw the film."

"It's still hard to be shooting stuff when you've got sun in your eyes and flies going up your nose, ears and eyes."

Understandably, she also found Angie "a funny and outrageous character to play." For this first lead role, Porter was first required to deal with working in 50 degree heat in central Australia. "The kind of heat there, which I didn't mind, was a dry heat, not humid. In our summers it's the humidity that drains all your energy, but THIS heat was dry and was easier to deal with. Having said that, it's still hard to be shooting stuff when you've got sun in your eyes and flies going up your nose, ears and eyes. And of course, being 'woopites', we're all supposed to be so used to the flies that we never brush them away. But then again, as actors, we got to hang round in this big bus called the Honky Tonk Lady, which was airconditioned."

Not only did Porter have to deal with heat and flies, but sex; one of her opening scenes is a comically bizarre sex scene. Yet, like the heat, she took it all in her stride. "Actually I didn't mind doing the sex scenes and I felt OK about them, because they're not structured, shot and written in a way that are really erotic for erotic purposes. It was comic - we weren't taking ourselves seriously. So in a sense I wasn't there, naked, so men could masturbate over the whole thing", Porter adds laughingly. "I was there because it's part of the character and the story."

"It's a film that feminists will hate."

And as for the character, she found elements of Angie easy to relate to. "I sort of found that if this girl WAS to be brought up in a place like Woop Woop and has never had any social, moral conditioning at all, that's the reason she behaves the way she does. But I did like the fact that she could take control of her life and as a woman, and be an actual, sexual being." Yet it's a film that feminists will hate. "It IS very politically incorrect, and I still haven't worked out how I feel about that. It's such a huge issue, the whole issue of feminism and the way that women are portrayed, but we weren't taking ourselves seriously, and at the end of the day, it's JUST a film."

Porter will next be seen in the Nadia Tass comedy/drama Amy, "which obviously was a different experience altogether from Woop Woop." But again, she plays a comic character and comes close to stealing the film. "I love doing comedy, it's so loose and fun." Porter describes her own sense of humour "as pretty crude with those I'm comfortable with. Anyone else finds sexual humour emanating from a woman, somewhat disconcerting."

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