Deborah Mailman is helping Blinky Bill make a comeback.
Blinky Bill is Austrlia’s favourite koala and I think it’s safe to say that Deborah Mailman is one of Australia’s favourite actresses.
So it’s only right that they’ve teamed up to take on the big screen. Every child of the ‘80s and ‘90s knows Blinky Bill, the little koala with the red overalls and a sense of adventure. Now, an Australian cast has teamed up to tackle the story and introduce
Blinky and his friends to a whole new generation.
In this new offering, Blinky discovers a mysterious marker that hints that his Dad might still be alive, so he embarks on a journey that takes him beyond the boundary of Green Patch and into the wild and dangerous outback. He quickly makes friends with Nutsy, a zoo koala, and Jacko, a nervous frill-necked lizard.
Pursued relentlessly by a vengeful feral cat who has a personal score to settle with Blinky, the trio must learn to work together if they ever want to survive the rugged Australian landscape and find Blinky’s father.
Mailman, whose work includes The Sapphires,Offspring and The Secret Life of Us, says she was on-board with the project the second she heard the magic words ‘Blinky Bill’. “I was invited to play the role of Blinky’s Mum and I just thought, what a great opportunity to do what I’ve never done before,” she says.
“I’ve never voiced an animated character before. It’s also just a beautiful story and a beautiful script.
“I remember watching the series when I was young; it was always a character that was on the periphery when I was growing up. Something I’ve really loved about this project is that it’s reintroduced me to the character and the story.”
Blinky Bill boasts a great Australian cast with Ryan Kwanten as the voice of Blinky Bill, Rufus Sewell as the treacherous feral cat Sir Claude, Robin McLeavy as Blinky’s best friend Nutsy and Toni Collette as two charming yet gossipy emus called Sheryl and Beryl.
“Essentially we went into a recording studio with the director and producer and we worked from the 2D story panel with the sketches,” Mailman explains. “We would literally go through a scene and pull it apart and think about who Blinky’s Mum was and what her qualities are and then act it all out in front of the microphone.
“I think what’s really important about this movie is that it’s an Australian film and kids will have the opportunity to see Australian characters and landscapes on the big screen.”
When you remake a classic, there’s always a risk you will alienate the original fan base, and Mailman admits she’s all too aware that adults are particularly precious about their favourite childhood shows.
“I hope adults really enjoy it too,” she says. “I think for anybody who has grown up with the books or the earlier TV series they’ll have some preconceptions. But I think this new story will really win them over.
“It’s still staying true to all the past versions of Blinky Bill. This is just another part of the story.”
Blinky Bill is in cinemas now.