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Second Hand Wedding a small film but it’s about the sort of epic themes that make up everyday lives, about family engagements and conflicts, its star Geraldine Brophy tells Andrew L. Urban.

She regularly scours the local garage sales in gleeful anticipation of not only finding a bargains but beating her rival scroungers to it. Jill, with the jovially apt surname of Rose, the second hand queen of the Kapiti coast (near Wellington in New Zealand), is played by one of New Zealand’s most popular actresses, Geraldine Brophy, an accomplished writer and director in her own right.

Jill’s daughter Cheryl (played by Holly Shanahan) has just got secretly engaged; secretly because she is dreading the thought of mum decorating her wedding reception with second hand ‘bargains’ from the local garage sales.

"a new phenomenon"

Brophy, currently rehearsing for the role of Nurse in Romeo & Juliet at Auckland’s Theatre Company, is familiar with second hand shops: “I’ve been to lots of second hand shops,” she says at the end of her rehearsal day, “but garage sales were a new phenomenon to me!” She promptly organised one for herself. “Sure enough, they turned up, as early as 5am some of them . . .but I won’t be having another one,” she says with a warm laugh, “I felt hurt when they rejected even my rubbish.”

The key for Brophy in the Jill character is that she’s a mother. “I’m 48 and at that age everyone is someone’s mother. I know what it’s like … even when you are trying to do your best with your kids, you can get it wrong. But she’s not just a mother, she’s a rounded woman. And I liked the fact that the script made you laugh, made you cry…”

For Brophy, with hours of TV shows to her credit (like her co-star Holly Shanahan), making the movie was fun. “We had a good time – there wasn’t much money so it quickly became about the work, as it always does of course. Everyone was on the project to help tell the story.”

"the small film that can"

Second Hand Wedding has been described as ‘the small film that can’ and it certainly isn’t what you would call epic cinema. But Brophy has another take on it: “We’re used to epic movies that are about wars, murder, adventure and so on; but in the ordinary lives of everyday people, it’s the family engagements, the quarrels and the making up that are the epic adventures.”

The film is the directing debut of Paul Murphy, son of famed New Zealand filmmaker Geoff Murphy. “I’ve worked with lots of directors,” says Brophy, “and the key thing for me is if the director can speak to actors in actors’ language. I don’t mean actors should be wrapped in cotton wool and coddled … but to get the best out of them a director needs to speak in actors’ language. Paul is a natural at that and he got the best out of me…as well as creating confidence on set. I thoroughly loved working with him.”

The likeable Tina Regtien plays Jill’s garage sale junkie partner Muffy and their friend the bubbly Sugarpuff, is played with zeal by Tina Cook. “The Kapiti location,” adds Brophy, “also has a lot to do with the film’s tone, the place is very relaxed. Mostly retirees and alternate lifestylers live there.”

"gentle comedy and down to earth story"

With its gentle comedy and down to earth story, Second Hand Wedding is a sex, drugs and violence-free zone. “I didn’t think about that,” says Brophy, “until people kept commenting to me that there wasn’t even any swearing in the film …”
Published first in the Sun-Herald

Published July 29, 2010

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Geraldine Brophy as Jill Rose


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