Derek Erskine and Cassandra Leopold in 'Tracy'.
It’s been a long journey to the screen for writer-director-actor Derek Erskine’s thriller Tracy – five years in fact.
Erskine shot about an hour of the film in which he and Cassandra Leopold play a married couple who embark on a drug and alcohol-fuelled psychotic rampage, but then moved on to other projects.
Late last year he showed 20 minutes of footage he’d edited to actor-writer-producer Naomi Lisner while they were shooting Bluebird, an espionage action thriller.
Lisner loved what she saw, describing it as Animal Kingdom meets Boogie Nights, and told Erskine, “You need to finish this, it’s too good to just sit there.”
Erskine asked her to write the rest of the script, adding new scenes, characters and locations, and retaining the dark, edgy tone but adding humour.
The cast includes Vanessa Moltzen, Chloe Guymer, Ben Rose and Lisner as Jade, an unhappily married woman who craves attention and fancies Erskine’s character Daz.
Bravely the actress stripped naked for sex scenes. She had no qualms about doing what the role demanded, reasoning, “When I did that I’m not Naomi, I’m Jade.”
Shot by DOP Jerry Creaney, the privately-financed film is in post. Lisner, who produced with Erskine, aims to secure local and international sales after showing the film at Academy-accredited film festivals. Already there is interest from a UK-based distributor.
In Bluebird, Erskine plays Cole, a field agent who discovers a secret agency and is framed to protect its secrecy. After his career is destroyed he tracks down those responsible and unravels the real motives behind the cover-up.
Lisner plays a US agent and the cast includes Angus H. Little, Darryl Lavery and Albert Goikhman. The thriller is set in Berlin, India, New York, Israel and Iran against the backdrop of 9/11.
Meanwhile Lisner has written, directed and stars in Hannah Rosenthal, a short film for the Jewish International Short Film Festival, the saga of a mature- aged, intellectually-challenged woman living with her elderly mother.
She plays the title character with Loraine Fabb as her mother Miriam, Erskine and Harlene Hercules. She said the film deals with traditions, expectations, prejudice, ignorance and love and plans to develop it into a feature.