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Palm Beach: behind the scenes

Director Rachel Ward delves into the making of her latest feature Palm Beach.

Ward says it was during a fateful Christmas in Wales that the idea for Palm Beach was born.

Her husband, actor Bryan Brown, came up with idea while on the trip with friends, when he saw so many of them struggling to adjust with this transitory stage of life after 50.

From there Ward and Joanna Murray-Smith began writing the story, about a picturesque weekend where long-time friendships and rivalries are tested, and a secret threatens to tear them apart.

“Getting a screenplay right is relentless and an incredible amount of hard work,” Ward says of piecing it all together.

But it meant when it came to the shoot, she tried to let the script and the actors take centre stage.

“I like a very invisible camera. I’m very much about the characters and listening to them and without getting too much in the way of the storytelling,” she says.

Palm Beach marks Ward’s return to feature film directing since the acclaimed 2009 drama Beautiful Kate and she acknowledges how the landscape has changed since then.

“What is incumbent upon films is that we give a cinematic experience and I think that’s the difference between streaming, TV, films [and] drama series,” she says.

“To get people in the cinema you have to give a cinematic experience.” And she says the ‘knock-out’ location of Palm Beach plays a part in that.

Palm Beach releases in Australian cinemas on 8 August through Universal Pictures.