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Her first lead role in a movie and her fourth album are coming out within days of each other (April/May 2009), symbolic for Natalie Imbruglia, who intends to pursue a career in both more vigorously now, she tells Andrew L. Urban.

It may come as a surprise that Natalie Imbruglia has failed several auditions for roles in movies before being asked to play the central character of Elise in James Bogle’s adaptation of Georgia Blain’s novel, Closed for Winter. “It depends what they are looking for,” she says matter of factly, not at all discouraged. “I’ve been wanting to investigate film for a long time, but my music career has been very demanding.”

It’s her second feature film, following a role as a secret agent in the Rowan Atkinson parody, Johnny English in 2003. if nothing else, her first two films show tremendous diversity, going from spoof to psychological drama. But it’s not enough, two films in five years. “I wasn’t willing to lose my music career for the movies,” she says, “but after the May 2009 release of my new album I’ll be able to focus more on acting.”


In Closed for Winter, Natalie plays Elise who attempts to piece together the mystery of her sister’s disappearance at the beach 20 year earlier when they were both children. She comes face to face with dark family secrets and as the past is revealed to her, she finds the courage to live on. The film also stars Daniel Frederiksen, Deborah Kennedy, Danielle Catanzarati, Tiahn Green, Tony Martin, Sophie Ross, Adam Morgan and Kaliopi Eleni.

“The mood of the film has stayed with me,” she says, “and I go to that emotional place as soon as I hear the music [composed by Daniel Denholm].” Elise is far removed from Natalie’s own personality, which she found challenging in a good way, “as it was also challenging to do things I hadn’t dome before.”

Her shooting experience was heightened by the generosity of her fellow cast. “I really bonded with Tony Martin; he taught me a lot about sharing on the set. He even came in on his days off to go through scenes, and even as far as getting into character. Everyone was respectful … a couple of people did admit later that they were a bit apprehensive about me. Sort of ‘here comes the pop singer, oh oh…’ kind of thing.”

"gut instincts"

Well aware of the responsibilities of having the lead role, Natalie relied on her gut instincts about it. “With virtually no experience that’s all I have to go on. But I knew when I read the script that emotionally I could go there.”

For all her musical success, Natalie actually started her career as an actress, at just 17: she was offered a two week trial (as Beth Brennan) on Neighbours – and stayed for two years.

Three years later, in 1997, Natalie recorded her debut album, Left of The Middle, in Los Angeles, which sold more than seven million copies around the world. In November 2001, Natalie released her second album, White Lilies Island, written between England and the US, and recorded in London. The following year she became the face of L’Oreal Cosmetics, but soon returned to the music scene with a new album, Counting Down the Days, released in May 2005, which resulted in a concurrent #1 album and a #1 single with Ivor Novello Award nominated, Shiver which went on to be the most played record of 2005 in the UK.

Her fourth album, out in May 2009, Come to Life, includes a song by her one-time partner, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who has described it as Coldplay’s best ever.

Published April 23, 2009

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Natalie Imbruglia


Directed by James Bogle
Screenplay by James Bogle
(novel by Georgia Blain)
Produced by Ben Grant
Cinematography by Kim Batterham
Editor: Denise Haratzis
Music: Daniel Denholm
Production Design: Rita Zanchetta
Australian release: April 23, 2009

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