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Claudia Karvan talks teaming up with Noni Hazlehurst for dramedy ‘June Again’

A mud-splattered Claudia Karvan attempts to move her mother’s bogged car in 'June Again'.

Claudia Karvan talks teaming up with Noni Hazlehurst for dramedy ‘June Again’

For actress Claudia Karvan, the ‘zing’ of teaming up with screen legend Noni Hazlehurst and rising director JJ Winlove was too tantalising to resist.

Claudia Karvan talks teaming up with Noni Hazlehurst for dramedy ‘June Again’

Claudia Karvan’s new movie, the bittersweet dramedy June Again examines the fallout when a woman in her sixties with dementia unexpectedly experiences a fleeting bout of lucidity
– during which she inserts herself into her grown-up children’s lives and attempts to ‘fix’ them.

Karvan plays daughter, Ginny; Stephen Curry plays her brother, Devon, while Noni Hazlehurst is their mother, June. Karvan was already friends with Curry – “one of the most gorgeous guys around” – with whom she’d acted alongside in TV’s 2013 series, The Time of our Lives, but she’d never worked with Hazlehurst.

Was she nervous to meet the legend of Australian screen? “I was a little intimidated,” she admits. “I’ve been in the industry for decades now, and I have always admired her. But she was great, there is no filter with Noni. What you see is what you get. She’s generous and supportive and available and she’s got that enchanting smile. It just lights up the room.”

As June, Hazlehurst plays a once-domineering matriarch and head of the family’s bespoke wallpaper firm. When she temporarily regains her senses and her former personality, she is horrified to see the mess her children have made of their lives and of her business in her ‘absence’ and immediately sets about righting things, as well as chasing her own dreams.

“As mothers, there is that instinct to want to manage your child’s life; we think we know best for them and we have to learn to resist that temptation. My own mum was reasonably successful at that,” quips Karvan, who famously grew up in Kings Cross in the shadow of Arthur’s, the hip nightclub her mother and stepfather ran.

“With my own teens [Audrey, 19, and Albee, 14], I’m pretty laidback. I try to enjoy their company and support whatever they show interest in. Audrey has just started university but not in a creative field; she’s never had a predilection for that. Albee is quite comfortable on stage but more public speaking, he’s not much into acting.”

Claudia Karvan with her screen family, Noni Hazlehurst and Stephen Curry.

During the lockdown year of 2020, Karvan kept herself busy, filming the hit Stan series Bump with another first-time writer, Kelsey Munro, recording an audio book, The Mother Fault, and – in the first part of the year – competing with aplomb on Dancing with the Stars.

Now that June Again is hitting cinema screens, she is filming a new movie – her 32nd – in Albany, WA, and teaching herself Spanish in her free time. “I’ve always loved learning languages – [she has previously studied French, German and Indonesian] – and I’d love to revisit South America when it’s possible again”.

After almost 40 years in the business, Karvan has lost none of her enthusiasm. The June Again shooting locations included an old wallpaper factory in inner-city Annandale. “That’s something I love about acting – on every job you see another part of the world or a new part of Sydney. We even got trained in how to make wallpaper!” she exclaims.

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