Interview with Teresa Palmer of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” – J!-ENT Interviews and Articles

With the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Nov. 30th, J!-ENT will be featuring interviews with cast members, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub.

We begin with actress Teresa Palmer who began her career with the 2005 horror film “Wolf Creek” and would go on to appear in films such as “The Grudge 2”, “December Boys” and “Bedtime Stories”.  In 2010, the young actress would star as Becky Barnes, the love interest for main character Dave (played by Jay Baruchel).  Teresa Palmer was interviewed in regards to her role in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

How would you describe your character in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

Becky Barnes is the love interest of Jay Baruchel’s character, Dave Stutler. Becky is a DJ and she’s a college student at NYU. She starts off the film as a very normal girl. She’s been a bit unlucky in love and then she meets Dave who is a bit of a geek and a nerd – and she is drawn to him. Dave and Becky went to the same school when they were seven years old and he has had a crush on her ever since. They reconnect in New York 15 years later and that’s when Becky gets thrust into this magical world of sorcery. It’s a very interesting ride for her.

Is Becky a damsel in distress?

I guess she’s a little like a damsel in distress at the beginning of the movie. However, it gets a lot cooler for Becky as the story unfolds. She soon kicks butt and she gets to be a Lara Croft-type character. She gets to take control as she tries to save the world.

How intimidating was it to walk onto the set of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for the first time?

I’ve done a lot of independent Australian films and other movies, but this was different because it was my biggest film role. I did my own hair and makeup on my first movie, and I even wrote half of my scenes. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was the polar opposite. It was a wonderful job.

How much of the movie is special effects?

I think we shot about 75% of the film on sound stages. That means they had to recreate a lot of the iconic settings in the movie, like the Chrysler building. That stage was amazing. They built four stories of the building with the big eagle inside and they printed out sheets of the city view, so they put twinkling lights all around the place to represent the lights of the city. It was really beautiful. You forget you’re actually on a stage when you’re filming on a set like that. All of a sudden, they turn on the lights and you’re brought back to reality. You think to yourself, ‘Oh, wow… This isn’t real. It’s wood.’ It was weird, but it was very cool.

How difficult is it to act in a CGI world?

It was certainly different. Someone will walk onto the stage with a special ball and wave it in front of you. They’ll explain that the ball is meant to be some sort of plasma bulb in your hand. Things like that are always a little bizarre. You have to start thinking in a different way, but it’s a great tool to learn.

When did you decide you wanted to be an actress?

I grew up in Adelaide, Australia, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I graduated high school. I think it’s really difficult for an 18-year-old to know what they want to do for the next 50 years. I had no idea, but I worked on the weekends to earn some money and that’s when I met a director who asked if I wanted to be in his movie. He gave me a script and it was about youth suicide, which is an issue that’s on the increase in Australia, but it’s brushed under the carpet. I ended up doing the movie and it became a pretty controversial film. It got the attention of the Cannes Film Festival and it ended up premiering there, which is where my career started. As I said earlier, I did my own hair and makeup on the set of that first film and I wore my own clothes – and now I’m part of a huge blockbuster with Nicolas Cage. It’s been such a whirlwind ride for me. I picked up an agent in Cannes and they brought me straight to America to start work. And here I am.

Who were your acting heroes when you were growing up?

I was a big fan of Audrey Hepburn when I was growing up, but I never thought of acting as a serious career option. There aren’t many opportunities to act in Adelaide and South Australia because there aren’t any big acting agencies there and we don’t have any acting schools. There aren’t many movies shot in Adelaide, so it was never a reality for me. I went to university and I started to teach – and then I was going to change careers to become a midwife because I’m obsessed with babies. But then the movie I worked on got picked up for Cannes and my life changed. It’s really weird how it all happened so quickly.

How much has your life changed since you moved to Hollywood?

My life has mainly changed because I live in Los Angeles now and I’m away from my family and my friends in Australia. However, I’m the same person underneath. My friends come over to Los Angeles from Adelaide and they get blown away by everything here, but it’s just a job to me.

Do you enjoy the Hollywood lifestyle with all its partying and red carpet events?

I’m not really a partygoer. I don’t drink alcohol at all. I don’t like the taste of it. A party for me involves board games in my pajamas on a Sunday night. We play Guesstures, Cranium and Twister – and that’s my idea of fun. I never go to events unless I need to go for work or to support a friend. To be honest, my life revolves around hanging out with my friends and going to the dog park. That’s about it, although I definitely get homesick from time to time.

What do you miss the most from home?

I miss so much about Australia. I definitely miss the lifestyle because it feels much more laid back in Australia. We take work seriously, but your job does not define who you are. In Australia, we do our job but our friends, our family and our social life is equally as important, if not more important, than our work. It’s a refreshing way of life. I miss that and I miss my dogs at home as well.

Do you still wash the dishes when you go home to Australia?

Of course I do! I love being back home because I stay with my mom. We cook together and I wear whatever I want as I walk my dogs down the street. Nobody looks at me twice in Adelaide. They don’t really care about the movie industry, so I get to be normal. I don’t have to worry about any of the other stuff that comes along with being an actor.

What have you discovered in Hollywood that you never experienced at home in Australia?

I’ve discovered exercise since living in Los Angeles. Back in Adelaide, I would eat burgers all the time and I wouldn’t exercise at all – but it’s a big part of the culture in Los Angeles. You go for lunch and then you head to the gym or go on a hike and then you go out for dinner again. I’ve really got into exercise now. In fact, the most Hollywood thing about me is the fact that I have a personal trainer. He’s the guy who works with Jessica Biel because I want to get her bottom.

Are you ambitious, Teresa?

Am I ambitious? Absolutely, but not in a detrimental way. I’m ambitious because I want to create good things and I want to be part of important and inspiring movies. However, I also want to do other things in my life. I want to have a family and I want to live a philanthropic life. I also want to start my own charity, as well as an animal shelter.

What makes you happy?

I’m generally a very happy and bubbly person. Whenever I get unhappy it’s usually because I’m lonely or because of something trivial. If I didn’t get an audition I wanted or if I lost some self esteem because I didn’t get a job then I will certainly be unhappy for a while, but it soon passes.

How do you cheer yourself up at times like that?

I find that writing my journal always helps me feel much better. It’s very therapeutic. I also find that being around my friends and my loved ones makes me very happy. The perfect day for me involves being near the beach in Adelaide with my friends and family. Everyone will be smiling and eating good food. We’ll chat, have fun and talk about fun times. That’s bliss to me. My work is bliss too, but it makes me smile to think of home.