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Podcast – Shannon Murphy: Babyteeth and Killing Eve

Director Shannon Murphy on her feature debut Babyteeth, the skills she took from TV to features, and working on Killing Eve.

Director Shannon Murphy and actor Essie Davis talk to one another on the set of Babyteeth

Shannon Murphy and Essie Davis on the set of Babyteeth

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After years working on television series including Offspring, Love Child, Sisters, Rake and On the Ropes, Shannon Murphy had been contemplating making the move into feature film.

“I had, but I wasn’t in a hurry because I was really loving directing television and I just knew that at some point the right script would come my way,” Murphy says on the latest episode of the Screen Australia podcast.

That script was Rita Kalnejais’ Babyteeth, which became Murphy’s feature directorial debut, made its world premiere in competition at Venice International Film Festival in 2019, and is now releasing in Australian cinemas through Universal Pictures on 23 July (watch the trailer here or below).

Murphy talks about how her background directing theatre influenced making Babyteeth (which Kalnejais adapted from her play of the same name); balancing the comedy and drama of the film; and why, despite so much shooting experience in television, those first few weeks of the shoot were still so challenging.

Babyteeth follows seriously ill teenager Milla (played by Eliza Scanlen) who, much to the horror of her parents (played by Essie Davis and Ben Mendelsohn) falls madly in love with smalltime drug dealer Moses (played by Toby Wallace, who was awarded the prestigious Marcello Mastroianni award at Venice for his performance). As the one-liner says “Babyteeth is a heartbreaking comedy about how good it is not to be dead yet and how far we will go for love.”

Following the film’s screening at Venice Film Festival, Murphy then travelled to Europe to shoot two episodes of the third season of Killing Eve (read about how Babyteeth helped her land the opportunity here), and also speaks to that experience and the differences between directing television locally and abroad.

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Babyteeth releases in Australian cinemas on 23 July. Check your local cinema for session times.

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