When it came time to cast the role of Margaret in The Insatiable Moon, we were lucky enough to assemble some of the top women actors in the country for auditions. While it made the task of selection all the harder, we kept coming back to Sara Wiseman. She brought a quality of stillness and vulnerability to the role that was palpable. It’s a decision that we’ve never regretted, and Sara delivered a fabulous performance for us. Her character is complex and demanding. She has to convince us as an audience that she, as a well-off married woman, might be attracted to a homeless man, Arthur. It’s a sweeping character arc for her. As a writer as well as an actor, Sara entered into the script with enthusiasm and discernment, frequently raising questions as to motivation and authenticity, finding her way to the essence of the story:
The heart of the piece is that it is based upon Arthur’s true story. Margaret really wants a child but has come to the realisation that her husband doesn’t feel the same way. She has a chance encounter with Arthur… she is drawn to him and he seems to know things about her that no one else does. He changes her perspective on the world. It’s an unusual, unique story, unlike any other; incredibly courageous. It shines a light on those who most people ignore on the streets. I was one of those people who could walk past the forgotten people, but I look at them in another way now.
After years of getting feedback on the script, the most common critique was that the relationship between Margaret and Arthur would not be credible to audiences. We always responded that it would happen on screen – something of a statement of faith. It’s a vital foundation of the storyline, without which the entire film would not stand up. As it happened, we shot the encounter in our first week of filming. And as I watched Sara and Rawiri, I knew straight way they’d nailed it. Each of them had got inside the heads of their characters, and brought real talent and insight to their performances.
Sara is well known in her native New Zealand as both a television star and actor in such feature films as Sione’s Wedding, Jinx Sister and Matariki. She holds a Bachelor of Screen and Performing Arts, and has a wide range of interests including stage, screen, writing and television.
Getting the opportunity to work with actors like Rawiri and Ian Mune was one of the reasons I was excited about getting involved. This was Rawiri and Mike’s child and I wanted to support them. With no massive budget and no executive producer telling what to do you had to take a lot on yourself. I had to take charge of my character and her journey.