Herriman, who also plays murderous cult leader Manson in the upcoming Netflix series Mindhunter, will see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for the first time at the film’s US premiere on July 22.
He said he appears “only very briefly” in the film, which also stars fellow Australian Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, but conceded the fact he’s been invited to the Hollywood premiere suggests his performance did not end up on the cutting-room floor.
“Manson makes a brief appearance in the trailer so it would be very cruel to have me to turn up to the movie and not be in it,” he joked. “Hold on a second – I was in the trailer. What happened?”
His role in Judy & Punch is far more substantial. Opposite Mia Wasikowska’s Judy, he plays the puppet master Mr Punch in this feminist revenge tale set in 17th century Britain (but filmed at Montsalvat, the medieval-style early 20th century artists’ colony in suburban Melbourne).
By turns comic, absurd, violent and fantastical, the debut feature from actor Mirrah Foulkes defies easy categorisation. “I would call it a dark fairy tale because I feel that’s about as close as you can get,” said Herriman. “It’s not like too many other films.”
The actor said he rated his experience shooting colonial-era revenge thriller The Nightingale on location during a Tasmanian winter as “one of my highlights of the past 10 years”.
“It was an incredibly special film to work on and it’s an incredibly powerful film to watch,” he said, adding that its “dark themes and feminist revenge” aspects were elements it had in common with Judy & Punch.
Now in its 68th year, MIFF will open on August 1 with a screening of the powerful Adam Goodes/Stan Grant documentary The Australian Dream at the Melbourne Plenary, which will also host the opening-night party and a series of screenings over the opening weekend.
Besides the Astor and the Plenary, other venues for this year’s festival include the Capitol, the Forum, Hoyts Melbourne Central, the Kino, Cinema Nova, the Planetarium, IMAX at Melbourne Museum, and a new dedicated home for virtual reality at Arts House in North Melbourne.
The festival will screen 259 feature films, 123 shorts and 16 VR experiences over 18 days. Seven Australian features will be among the 31 films having their world premieres at the festival.
“With titles from 78 countries, MIFF 2019 gives you the world on film,” said artistic director Al Cossar of his first festival in charge. “And as one of the world’s largest showcases of Australian filmmaking, it’s a chance for audiences to celebrate our own stories, too.”
MIFF runs August 1-18. The Age is a festival media partner. Details: miff.com.au
Karl is a senior entertainment writer at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.