“Acting is the one way that I feel free to be myself,” said Natasha St. Clair Johnson. The Australian native has an innate talent, and has loved performing for almost her entire life. As a child, she wanted to be like the people she saw on-screen, but as she grew, this desire became much fiercer. She wanted to tell stories; she wanted to show the wonderful and painful aspects of what it means to be human; she wanted to make a difference with the best way she knew how. Acting became her focus, and performing her way of life. Now, she is one of Australia’s leading actresses, and the passion she feels for what she does is the same as it was when she began her career.
While working her way to the top, St. Clair-Johnson worked on several extremely successful projects, showing her home country and the world why she is so formidable. In the feature film Birthday, the actress has the critical role of a social-worker. Her work led the film to be selected for the highly-prestigious Cannes Film Festival, where it took home the top award for Best Actress in a Foreign Film. Similar success followed with her film Prized, where she co-stars with ‘Twitch’ aka Stephan Boss from So You Think You Can Dance and currently the popular DJ on The Ellen Degeneres Show, as well as the movie Shang, playing a seductive vampire and showing audiences how versatile of an actress she truly is.
“The thrill of performing is like nothing else for me. With film and theatre being such different mediums, they both still give me joy. Being on set has an intimacy, a rawness, and a realism to it,” said St. Clair-Johnson.
Audiences can also look forward to St. Clair-Johnson’s performance in the highly-anticipated film Incall. The film tells the story of a wealthy house wife who gets more than she bargained for when a call girl changes the course of her day into something completely unexpected. It explores ideas of sexuality, power, feminism, and manipulation, with three women all appearing as different facets of what is it to be the modern woman.
“Not many films like to show women that are sexual and strong. It’s considered taboo, and commonly mistaken to be either an excuse for woman to behave in an explicit nature or to get attention. Our film is more about the mind games between people. It’s not about seeing anything happen but the suggestion,” St. Clair-Johnson described.
The film is centered around St. Clair-Johnson’s character and what happens to her over the course of one day. It is a window into the perverse intimacy she enjoys. She is an elegant, well-dressed, poised woman with a dark side. Although she appears to be one way to others, her inner desires are quite different from the persona she displays. She has a certain way about her that can be disarming, which is what the directors were looking for in St. Clair-Johnson’s performance. She perfectly personifies the complicated character, with a hint of possible danger, as you can’t always be sure where the character might take the conversation or situation she is in.
While many films explore a male and female dynamic, Incall involves two strong female characters. These characters are not necessarily attracted to each other, but rather show how they manipulate, judge, and control each other. It is about ego and power. St. Clair-Johnson’s character is the instigator of the events. Therefore, when the director was looking for someone for such an important and complicated role, she knew she had to find someone with immense talent.
“Natasha is gifted and hard working. She always gives 100 per cent to every take and patience beyond what would be required of her. It is a pleasure working with her on and off set. She is very personable. Her unique choices make her an outstanding actress. She has a subtle but compelling ability to seek the nuances in her characters’ behavior, with an unlimited range and keen understanding of the complexities of the characters’ relationships,” said Rachael Murphy, Writer and Director of Incall.
Murphy approached St. Clair-Johnson when she began casting. She knew that she wanted the actress as her leading character to make her film a success. St. Clair-Johnson was happy to take on a role in an all-female film. During the shoot, she found herself being taken away with what was happening. She knew exactly where to go with her character, completely embodying her. She would utilize subtle and exciting exchanges between her co-star and herself, opening up her creative juices. With every script she works on, the actress takes the time to analyze it. She figures out the exact motives behind each of her characters’ choices. For Incall, she worked those choices into her performance flawlessly, displaying intimacy, and passive-aggressive behavior simultaneously.
In addition to acting, St. Clair-Johnson also took on an executive producer role for the film. Although she had never done this before, she was excited to learn about the job, knowing the experience behind-the-scenes would help make her an even better actress. She was able to find the perfect balance between her role as an actress and her executive producing responsibilities, and found herself watching every take and staying engaged in all areas of the film production.
“This project gave me artistic freedom to play with whatever choices I wanted. I was to carry the film and I loved the responsibility of that. Especially showcasing myself in a film that is strongly focused on women. My team and I knew that it would be topical and the LGBT community would also be interested. We were recently approached by a film festival exclusively showcasing films produced and starring woman. It’s an honor,” said St. Clair-Johnson.
Incall is currently in post-production with a release date set for 2018 into the film festival circuit, and then onwards to national release in the United States and Australia. It is also expected to make its way to several Australian television networks, and streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu in the short film category. If you get a chance, make sure to check out St. Clair-Johnson’s stellar performance.