A man with a broken heart tries to relive his failed relationship by hiring a young actress to play his ex-girlfriend. If only she could get the accent right …
Cockatoo is a clever short film with a sincere balance laughter and drama. The film is about Michael, a lonely 40-something male who hires an actress to play his ex-girlfriend in an attempt to relive his failed relationship. The problem though is the actress can’t get the English accent right and he soon learns that it’s best to face his fears and live in the present than try and relive moments from the past.
Director Matthew Jenkin’s odd idea came from a combination of past ideas and new inspirations:
I had just met Matilda Brown and we discussed working together. She simply said in an email “write me a role.” Two days later I sent her a script called ‘Second Chance’ which later became ‘Cockatoo.’ But taking back a step, I read an article in the newspaper that there was friendship service in Sydney where you could hire a friend to keep you company, like going to the movies or doing the shopping, whatever you wanted in order to beat loneliness.
The film’s qwarky balance did not come without its share of rewrites, beginning as a pretty dark drama only to turn out as a pretty brilliant comedy.
I thought the idea of a personal service in a non-sexual arrangement was fascinating so I started exploring the possibilities of why someone would need this service. So I combined this idea with a short I had written ten years ago about a guy unable to move on from a relationship and ‘Second Chance’ was born – however, it was a dark drama about Michael wanting to get revenge on his ex, so he hires an actor to portray her and kills her then turns himself into the police! It was on the second and subsequent drafts that the transition to comedy began to naturally happen. We filmed the sixth draft from memory.
The film’s charm comes from its ability to keep things real despite its uncanny humour. Performed gracefully by both Matilda Brown and Alan Dukes, her cheerfulness and his pity combine for an unexpected pleasantry!