This week, Stan released their brand new Aussie Christmas film, Jones Family Christmas (streaming now), starring Heather Mitchell, Ella Scott Lynch, Max McKenna, Neil Melville and Nicholas Denton. The film sees Heather Jones (Heather Mitchell) finally reunite her whole family under one roof for Christmas, however, not much goes right when the Jones family return to their rural home.
Heather's daughter Christina (Ella Scott Lynch) arrives from London with her husband Mishan (Dushan Philips) and son William (Anay Gadre), who are not used to the heat and lack of luxury amenities. Danny (Nicholas Denton) brings his new girlfriend, Flick (Tahlee Fereday), who is actually his sibling Alex's (Max McKenna) recent ex-girlfriend.
Things take a serious turn when bushfires threaten the town (and Christmas!), and the family is forced to evacuate.
While the film was shot during winter this year, Ella tells Yahoo Lifestyle that shooting the bushfire scenes was quite tough.
"The house stuff was easier in a way because you were sort of contained in this one space, and a lot of it is just about the specifics of the relationships," she tells us. "As soon as we broadened out to the shooting of exteriors – yeah, you're dealing with Melbourne winter, which was fairly mild really, in comparison to other ones I've been on, I think we were blessed in that regard because there wasn't sleet and rain very often.
"But it is hilarious that in acting you tend to shoot winters in summer, so you're constantly trying not to look hot or the opposite!"
She continued, "But when we were getting to the fire stuff, that stuff was quite physically demanding because they're having to put a lot of smoke through areas, and you know, we were trying to make it look as realistic as possible.
"And you're bound by time and trying to get some of those shots with smoke and fire and children and animals – it's sort of ticking all the boxes and what could possibly go wrong!"
'Like a real family'
Ella also revealed that during long days of filming 'dramatic and heavy' scenes in the Jones house, the stars passed time behind the scenes by finding hidden gems the art director had placed around the set.
"When we were in the house, and we're doing these long days of trying to sort of keep this festive energy up, one of the things that we were doing in this little house was sort of basically going through all the set design and finding they put all this sort of Christmas ornaments everywhere, and we kept finding like Christmas joke books and things like that," she shared.
"So in between some scenes that were fairly kind of dramatic and heavy, we were trying to sort of keep our energy up by telling like terrible, terrible Christmas jokes, and we didn't realise that Tahlee had a knack for actually trumping the Christmas joke. She knew every answer to a Christmas joke that you could possibly think of. So that was like a weird skill, we were like, 'Why aren't you writing Christmas jokes!'
"Yeah, and that sort of felt like, actually, I guess when people are watching it, that stuff actually felt like a real family. The end of Christmas day, when you've had too much pudding and are lying around and someone's telling terrible, terrible jokes."
Jones Family Christmas is streaming now on Stan.
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