Miranda Tapsell has revealed the struggles she faces as an Indigenous actress in the spotlight, ahead of the release of her new romantic comedy, Top End Wedding.
The 31-year-old made the candid admission in an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle where she also opened up about the importance of multicultural representation on the big screen.
“I’ve paid a lot of money to see films that have completely sidelined women like me,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“I can tell a story through my perspective, that’s all I can do — by being honest about the way I’ve seen the world, and it hasn’t been the same as Meg Ryan’s, or Reese Witherspoon’s or Julia Roberts’.”
After struggling to find this perspective in Australia’s largely whitewashed media landscape, Miranda decided to back her own project and, alongside co-writer Josh Tyler, spent more than five years bringing the story to life.
“I wanted to see a film where young Aboriginal women could eat pizza and wear face masks and eat ice-cream and just enjoy themselves self-reflecting on the kind of women they want to be and the kind of dreams and desires they have,” she says.
“Even though I can’t control people’s minds, I know what beautiful people are in my community and I wanted to defy all that.
“I think there’s still a very negative image of Aboriginal people, I feel like my community doesn’t always get put in the best light and I guess I just wanted for people to see the people that raised me and grew me up and shaped me.”
With this in mind, the film places the Northern Territory’s inimitable landscape at the plot’s forefront, alongside a cast of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous actors.
Miranda plays the film’s lead, Lauren, a hotshot Adelaide-based lawyer who heads home to Darwin to be married following her British fiancé Ned’s sudden proposal.
Upon returning north, the pair quickly realise Lauren’s mother has gone missing and so begins their hasty jaunt across the territory in order to find her.
For the movie’s leading man, Gwilym Lee, who recently starred in Oscar-winning blockbuster, We Will Rock You fame, the film’s Australia-centric themes resonated with his own upbringing in the UK.
“As a Welsh man growing up in England, it was really important for my family to remind me of where I come from and to sing those songs and to remind me of that culture,” he says.
“That’s why I related to this film when I first read this script - and why other people will relate to it as well.”
Miranda agrees, adding it is ultimately Top End Wedding’s Australian flavour which will help it resonate with audiences around the globe.
“Our story is about Tiwi and the Northern Territory but everyone’s got their version,” she says.
Top End Wedding is in Australia cinemas from May 2.
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