Teresa Palmer will play the female lead in a feature adaptation of the SXSW sci-fi/horror short “Welcome to Willits: After Sundown.”
The story will focus on a group of young campers who get lost in the woods near Willits, Calif. — the heart of “the Emerald Triangle” — while looking for hot springs. They find themselves entangled with a man whose mounting paranoia about alien invaders makes him increasingly dangerous.
Palmer’s real-life husband Mark Webber will reprise his role from the short as the paranoid man and Palmer will play his niece. Director Trevor Ryan and his screenwriter brother Tim Ryan will also return.
“Welcome to Willits: After Sundown” is part of the SXSW’s Midnight Short competition.
Palmer starred in “Warm Bodies” and will be seen next in Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups.” She’s repped by WME and Management 360.
What were your first impressions of each other?
Phoebe Tonkin: “I think my first impression of her was when I saw 2:37. I was in such awe of her and her performance. We properly got to know each other on a three hour car drive to Coachella. We bonded over kale chips, boys and red wine and the rest is history. I think my first impression of her was that she was the coolest girl I had ever met. I later learned she was not only the coolest, but also the kindest. She is a ray of light in my life and I am blessed to have her.”
Teresa Palmer: “We first met in Bondi at a screening in 2009. I remember being introduced to her but I had already clocked her as soon as I walked up the stairs to the event. You were the most striking girl I had ever seen and I couldn’t stop staring. Statuesque and THE EYES!! I remember thinking that my boyfriend at the time (who introduced us) most certainly had a crush on her! Your bright shining energy and bounce was absolutely infectious. It wasn’t until 2011 when the stars aligned and I drove her to Coachella that I knew we were bonded for life. The way we were like missing pieces of the puzzle to each other was really magical and so began our journey.”
How did you start working on the film, The Ever After?
PT: “I had known Teresa and Mark were writing this film together. I was so impressed they were being so vulnerable not just with each other but in this script, these characters they were writing were so real and honest. Teresa had said from the get-go she had an idea for a character for me, and I was so grateful to be involved in something like this.”
TP: “Mark and I were in the midst of courting each other over email when we decided to write a film together. I think we were so passionately falling in love that we felt the need to channel that energy creatively. Only a few months after Mark and I met we started to work on the film. We knew that we wanted to capture your magnetism on film so we wrote the role of Mabel for her and then hoped she would say yes!”
Did you draw from any real-life experience?
PT: “I have spent quite a lot of time in New York and around similar characters as the one I played. There’s something dangerous and dark about the world some of those types of characters live in. I think the script really showcases that side of it, and allows the audience to just be an observer.”
TP: “Yes we very much blurred the lines between reality and fiction. So much of what is on screen we drew from experiences in our own life. We touch upon the entertainment and fashion industry, substance abuse issues, mental illness, sexual abuse, all of which either one of us or people very close to us have navigated through. It is an intensely personal film exploring the challenges of marriage and the fundamental breakdown of communication.”
What is your fondest memory from the film set?
PT: “I think the fondest was probably just being in New York, shooting in such an organic and instinctive way. Mark was very open to ideas in terms of dialogue and blocking, and coming from a TV background it was very different to the way I normally work.”
TP: “When Mark proposed to me in the bathroom before we filmed the first scene of the movie! It was entirely spontaneous and crazy. He used the ring my character wore in the film to propose to me because the ring that he designed was taking too long and he got impatient. The crew kept trying to get in the bathroom to light it for the next scene and Mark kept kicking the door shut while on one knee.”
What does friendship mean to you?
PT: “I think as you grow older friendship becomes something stronger than what it meant to you when you were younger. There is something so reassuring about not seeing someone for a long period of time and then being able to slip back into that comfort with each other like no time has passed at all. As actors, that is the nature of the work we do, staying on location for long periods of time and being apart from people who you are close to. It’s also nice to have friends that not only support you, but inspire you, and Teresa fulfils both of those!”
TP: “To me a friendship is beautiful in that unlike family, friends are those we choose to move through life with. My friends are mirrors of me and vice versa, we create a community in which we encourage each other to shine bright, building one another up and wishing the best of life for each other. We are a sisterhood of women who encourage and inspire and connect with one another through the ebbs and flows of life.”
What would you be if you weren’t an actress?
PT: “I would love to be working in journalism and communications, perhaps for a magazine like Vogue!”
TP: “I would run an eco chain of Parent and Me Play cafés around the world. A community where parents and children can come to a supportive place to share, eat, learn and lean on each other in a loving, encouraging and positive way. Stay tuned!”
What are your similarities and what are your differences?
PT: “I think we are both very driven, very passionate. We both have many of the same interests and the same standards for people we have in our life. I think we both ultimately want the same things in life, to live a somewhat basic existence with children and animals and vegetable gardens in Topanga, to be specific. In terms of differences, I think having been her business partner for the last three plus years, I would definitely she is far better at time management than I am!”
TP: “Our similarities are that we both laugh a lot, we crack each other up. We love getting deep and real and communicative, we both love working on self and we are seekers in life. We are caring and compassionate and both love kids, dogs. I think that we are both warm, we meet people openly and lovingly. We are also such silly goofs at heart. Total dorks. Our differences are that she has washboard abs no matter how much pasta she eats! She’s always way cooler than me, in that effortless ‘Phoebe just gets it’ way. With Your Zen Life, Phoebe gets and loves the technical and aesthetic side of the website whereas I love working on the video content. We are the perfect Ying and Yang with our business.”
What advice would you give to people who want to go into business with a friend?
PT: “Get used to communicating a lot over email! There was a time when within the space of seven weeks we were communicating between Italy, Wales, Australia, Atlanta, California and Tahiti. I also think that we both went into business together because it was something we both genuinely enjoyed and were passionate about. There were no other motives besides creating this beautiful platform and open a line of communication for other like-minded people.”
TP: “Have a very clear and open communication with that person. Know them well. Have an exit strategy if one of you loses passion or wants out. Stay open always and plan where you want to take the business long term. Have big ideas and create stepping stones towards achieving those things with each other.”
How do you find Zen in your life?
PT: “I try to drink a lot of water, get eight hours of sleep a night and eat well. But ultimately what is most important is surrounding yourself with positive people and striving for happiness and balance in your life. I think it’s important to stay educated on what is happening around the world to really have perspective on your own life, it’s very easy to take things for granted.”
TP: “Through my family. Especially being with my son Bodhi. Just taking him to playgroup and watching his joy in pushing around a little walker or interacting with other children. Seeing life through his eyes, witnessing the sense of joy, discovery, happiness, his amazement at colours, textures, sounds and how proud he is and astonished that he can use his legs to walk. That puts everything in to perspective, how easily it is to become desensitised and take all of these things for granted. It brings me suddenly present and teaches me to always keep a deep sense of gratitude.”
The Ever AfterPhoebe as ???/Teresa as Ava
The OriginalsPhoebe as Hayley Marshall
Take DownPhoebe as Amy Tilton
Cut BankTeresa as Cassandra
Kill Me Three TimesTeresa as Lucy Webb
Knight of CupsTeresa as ???
Point BreakTeresa as Tyler
Tripple NineTeresa as ???
The ChoiceTeresa as Gabby Holland
2:22Teresa as ???