Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Puberty Blues:: An Interview With Glendyn Ivin

The highlight of my week is Wednesday - and it comes down to one simple reason.

Puberty Blues.

Matt and I schedule our whole night down to this viewing. By 8:25pm we're curled up on the couch and ready to be immersed in this other world.

I'm going to admit that I've fallen even more in love with the characters with this fresh interpretation of the book. I loved Debbie and Sue in the original film, but this time around, I feel like I've had a chance to get to know them better. And their parents.

Puberty Blues stirs up so many old emotions - and is true to that teenage experience of searching for where you fit in in the world (even if that means me screaming to Debbie "NO don't do it!"). It's a hard truth, but this series does it so well - it's gritty, it's real, but there's beauty to it too.

For me, delight also derives from the detail. The sets are incredible, those homes - the meticulous theming - the peacock chairs, macrame to the max, coloured glass; the costuming; the language, it all just reeks of our seventies childhoods. I can imagine walking into those homes, coloured with their daily lives and scouring for signs of Debbie and Sue.

I've been super lucky to score an interview with the exceptionally talented Glendyn Ivin. Glendyn has a wealth of experience directing Australian film (Last Ride, Beaconsfield, Cherry Bomb). Here he shares some insight into what it was like working on Puberty Blues.

We all grew up knowing and loving Puberty Blues. Was it daunting making a new version of such a classic Australian film?

It was a little daunting, but any project feels daunting at first. I had total confidence in the the producers and the writers. I knew if we could maintain the brutal truth thats oozes from every page of the book we would be right. The Network was very supportive of what we were setting out to do. Everyone knew this wasn't going to be a sanitised, watered down version of Puberty Blues.

I was concerned that fans of the original film might be disappointed. But realised those fans saw the film when they were teenagers and would have been a huge influence on their lives. Seeing the story re-imagined and expanded might never seem right no matter how good it was. Kind of like reminiscing over a how good Pollywaffles were back in the day. Or wishing Wagon Wheels were as big as they used to be. But in reality, when you actually first fell in love with wagon wheels your hand was way smaller... have I got off track?

Regardless, fans of the book and the original film have mostly embraced the series. Mainly because even though it's different it shares the same honesty, spirit and essence of the original story.


What were some highlights from filming?

I love shooting so much it's all a highlight. But I guess I do love shooting the more intimate scenes between characters. Mainly because it's a chance to really explore very honest, awkward moments in relationships. Whether they are between the kids exploring sex for the first time or with the parents exploring the more complex emotional issues that appear later in life. Most of those scenes are filmed with only a few people in the room. They always feel very special to be part of.


The costumes are incredble, the casting sublime, what were some of the challenges involved with making Puberty Blues?

The key to the show was really in finding 'Debbie and Sue' once we had them everything from the rest of the cast to the houses and wardrobe formed around them. We did a lot research into clothes and details of the period. We set the date to be 1977. But the key I think is building up a world where everything you see if not from 1977, but from the last 10-20 years preceding it. If you look around your house it's rare that everything you have around you is from 2012. But rather a collection of objects from the past and present.


This series seems to delve more into the adult world than the original. As a father, does this change/effect how you tell the story?

Being a father of a daughter definitely made me shoot some of the scenes differently. Not so much in their content, but more from a point of view. I became very protective of the girls. Even though it was all 'acting' I would end up resenting the boys in their lives. Not the boy actors, but their characters. While shooting and while editing, I would look at Bruce Board and Danny Dixon and just think you horrible, horrible boys, stay away from MY girls.

My daughter is only five, but from doing this show I have had more than a sniff of what it's going to be like when boys coming knocking on the door, or heaven forbid, knocking on her window in the middle of the night...!

What's next for Glendyn Ivin?

I've just launched 'Flaming Youth' a book of photographs I took while directing Puberty Blues. I'm directing Tv commercials and reading and developing scripts. And... who knows another series of Puberty Blues perhaps ; )    
Flaming Youth - Photographs from Puberty Blues 2012 by Glendyn Ivin - available here For more of Glendyn's work - visit Hoaxville
And you can follow Glendyn on Instagram @glendyn_ivin Tweet him here  

All images are courtesy and copyright of Glendyn Ivin.  

Puberty Blues is on Channel 10 on Wednesdays at 8:30pm. Or you can watch full episodes over here.


Candice said...

I have totally been living under a rock, I didn't even know about this new spin on Puberty Blues! The shame. From the exquisite images it is clear I'm missing out on something magical.

Great interview Lexi! Thanks, as always, for keeping me up to date with the radness that happens.

shine little light* said...

We are Loving it to the max also! Such good acting and directing! Our friend Annie Maynard is a guest actor in it too - so that adds to the thrill! Great interview! xsx

Kelly HTandT said...

I'm not familiar with the original, it was before my time. But I am LOVING the TV series. The language is hilarious, the theming reminds me of my parents old photos. Aussie TV at its best.

Kimberley M said...

How good is that show? I love all the surreptitiously placed retro shit - the ice dispenser in the fridge, the forceful wooden spoon slapping, the vying for back seat heavy on the bus. I am so in love with this show. Did you work out whether there'll be another series??? Kx