Vicky Roach, The Daily Telegraph, reports
Even for a passion project, the story behind Sundance-selected thriller Wish You Were Here is unusually intense.
"People ask us: 'Didn't you fight?' says actress Felicity Price, who co-wrote the screenplay for the haunting, low-budget thriller with her husband, actor-turned-director Kieran Darcy-Smith.
"But it was the opposite of that. It was the creation of something."
Not only did they take their work home, the couple lived and breathed their story about a group of friends whose lives implode after one of their party disappears during a holiday in Cambodia.
"We never stopped talking about it," says Price, who plays Joel Edgerton’s wife in the finished project.
Teresa Palmer plays her sister, alongside New Zealand actor Antony Starr.
"In the car on our way to a family barbecue, we'd talk about a problem we couldn't solve," Price says. Darcy-Smith adds: "We'd talk about it while changing nappies. In the shower. While cooking dinner."
By integrating Darcy-Smith's all-important debut as a feature film director, not to mention Price's first lead film role, so successfully into their lives, the couple has put a whole new spin on the idea of a family film.
"We had two kids while we were doing it," says the director.
It's not entirely surprising, then, that when it came to the Cambodian shoot, two-and-a-half-year-old Levi had heard so much about the country, he wasn't going to be left behind.
At just seven months, Sunny was simply too young not to accompany the rest of her family.
"Our whole world shifted together," says Darcy-Smith.
Price admits that things might have been a bit easier if her second child had been just a little bit older.
"But when your film gets financed, you almost don't have a choice. And we wanted it for our lives to happen then."
As it turned out, the children adapted well to their new surrounds.
"They were the only ones who didn't get sick," says Price, who managed not to let the lack of sleep caused by breastfeeding and constant visits to the bathroom hamper her breakthrough performance.
"You learn you have such reserves," she says.
Darcy-Smith admits to having some reservations about directing his wife in his feature film debut.
"I'll be honest. In the beginning - because Felicity was always attached, there was no question she was going to play the role - I was anxious. She is a formidable actress and she has proven herself in incredible theatre shows over many years, and has done great supporting roles in movies and TV, but that's a vastly different thing to carrying a movie."
When he saw the first few days' rushes, Darcy-Smith breathed out.
The screen chemistry between Price and Edgerton, Darcy-Smith's co-founder of Blue Tongue Films, along with Edgerton's brother Nash, was clear.
"She's a helluva woman. It was pretty challenging - she's in almost every scene in the movie - but she was particularly graceful in the way she handled it."
While conditions in Cambodia were difficult - Darcy-Smith fell neck-deep into an open sewer on the first day of shooting - the director never felt he had bitten off more than he could chew.
"I can get quite overwhelmed by silly little things. But my experience of directing a movie, where there is genuine pressure, is that it's a bit like giving Ritalin to a hyperactive kid. It has a paradoxical effect. That pressure focuses me. Everything becomes crystal clear."
Wish You Were Here (MA15+), in cinemas now