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PORTER, SUZIE: Feeling Sexy

SEXY BUT SERIOUSLY SUZIE
Shortly after Feeling Sexy opens in Australia, its star, Suzie Porter, begins filming her next film, Better Than Sex: but she will happily work in films without 'sex' in the title, she tells ANDREW L. URBAN, as long as she is taken seriously.

Well, there has been little doubt in the Australian film industry that Suzie Porter is a seriously talented actress; she started at University and was snapped up by NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) which has less than two dozen places a year, and has starred in a diverse set of films ranging from Welcome to Woop Woop and Amy to Two Hands, Bootmen and Feeling Sexy to the upcoming Better Than Sex (in which she co-stars with award winning David Wenham).

"An erotic thriller"

And our interview takes place shortly after she has finished shooting Monkey's Mask with writer director Sam Lang (The Well) in which she plays lesbian private eye, Jill Fitzpatrick, "the most 'different' character I've done," she confesses. Jill is a loner, an ex-cop and the shoot took nearly nine weeks. Porter is sworn to secrecy, but we do know it's an erotic thriller, the script is written in verse, and that Porter had a full frontal nude scene, which she found "quite confronting."

It is a big contrast to her character Vicky in Feeling Sexy, a young mum who fantasises about an extramarital affair with a hunk to escape her drab duties - but finds a fresh well of feelings for her hubby.

"It's important to feel comfortable."

"After Angie in Woop Woop," says Porter, "running about in that tiny outfit, I thought nobody would take me seriously. I like to be seen as a good actress, and to have the respect of my peers. You do have to work at your self image all the time, and it's important to feel comfortable."

Porter need fear not; in Woop Woop, she portrayed the isolated nymphomaniac-cum-husband-bagger with an energy and enthusiasm that fuelled the character's credibility. In Amy, she revealed a different persona, as the amusingly frothy young city hairdresser sister to Ben Mendelsohn's lead character. And in Feeling Sexy, Porter brings to life the young mum burdened by the limitations. "I had a different mind-set when I was making that film," she explains. "I just loved doing it, though. I've never been married so I wasn't trying to understand the situation…I romanticised it…love, marriage, kids…"

Porter, now 28, does indeed want kids of her own one day, and has discussed the matter of marriage and children with "the man of my life" but they have agreed to give it more time. He's a professional make up artists and hairdresser, "which always comes in handy." Perhaps he is OK at the irtoning board, too, since Porter doesn't ever intend to iron anything. "Never have, never will . . . don't even own an iron. I buy clothes that don't need ironing - or wear them crumpled," she says seriously.

"I've become more philosophical"

In the three years since making Woop Woop, she says, she's learnt a great deal about how to read scripts. "I've learnt how to evaluate a script much better and I've become more philosophical about the business - and about life in general."

Effervescent and engaging on screen - and equally in real life - Porter says she really respects the craft of acting, and unlike some women in the profession, isn't afraid to "look ugly or play a horrible person on screen."

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