Miranda Tapsell: “I have no time for negative women”

The Northern Territory-born actress tell's WHO exclusively about her love life, family and bringing her film to life.
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Growing up in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, Miranda Tapsell concedes that, as a teen, she didn’t appreciate the beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site that served as her backyard. “I wanted to live like the girls in Clueless and Legally Blonde. It wasn’t a novelty for me to go bushwalking and camping,” the actress tells WHO. “I took the beauty of my hometown for granted.”

Decades on, the 31-year-old showcases her hometown – and thrusts it squarely in the international spotlight – in Top End Wedding, a romantic-comedy she wrote, co-produced and stars in.

“It speaks more accurately for the Territory than I feel like Crocodile Dundee ever did,” the Larrakia actress told the audience at the film’s premiere in Palmerston last month.

And yet the film, five years in the making, is more than her love letter to the natural wonders of the Tiwi Islands, Katherine, Kakadu and Darwin, explained the Melbourne-based star who rose to fame in 2012’s The Sapphires. It’s also, she said, “a universal story of just how important it
is to know your family and your roots”.

It’s a theme that’s relevant to “people of all different kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities”, says Tapsell “I wanted to make sure that wasn’t lost on people who weren’t Aboriginal.”

Directed by The Sapphires director Wayne Blair, the movie tells of lawyer Lauren (Tapsell) and her fiancé Ned (Bohemian Rhapsody star Gwilym Lee), who are on a mission to track down the missing mother-of-the-bride in time for their dream nuptials.

 “Weddings need families, and so, I think everyone was able to sort of relate … I think there’s so many people who want that sense of belonging to somewhere or someone.”


Co-starring Tapsell’s friends Shari Sebbens and Elaine Crombie, the film also honours the idea of the sisterhood.

“It was really important for me to see women who back each other, especially if one of them is still finding their way. I don’t have time for stories where women are dragging each other down,” says Tapsell. “Female friendships are important to get you through all the things that are thrown at you in life.”

For Tapsell, life of late has brought shifts aplenty – thankfully, of the positive kind. “It’s been an exciting year,” Tapsell told WHO in December, just weeks before she wed “my rock”, TV writer James Colley, in a cliff-side ceremony in Wollongong, south of Sydney.

“He planned our whole wedding … I’m really proud of him,” Tapsell told WHO of her husband, who along with her parents, was by her side on January 30, when Top End Wedding had its world premiere at the iconic Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Parallel weddings aside, Tapsell said it was “just a coincidence,” that reel life mirrors real life. “I wrote Top End Wedding before I met James,” she told news.com.au.

“I didn’t think in a million years when I was writing it that I was going to get my own.”

Though not without its pitfalls, screenwriting was a challenge the actress relished.

“I’ve fallen in love with writing and I’ve really enjoyed the creative process on the other side of the camera,” she says. “Sometimes the process was intimidating … but I am proud of the outcome.”

You can read the rest of the article in this week’s WHO magazine! 

(Credit: WHO)

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