The Movie Waffler Interview - A STITCH IN TIME Director Sasha Hadden | The Movie Waffler

Interview - A STITCH IN TIME Director Sasha Hadden

Interview - A STITCH IN TIME Director Sasha Hadden
We spoke with the director of the award-winning Australian drama.

Interview by Benjamin Poole

In writer/director Sasha Hadden's A Stitch in Time, when former dressmaker, 80-year-old Liebe, (a star turn from Maggie Blinco) meets young Chinese fashion designer Hamish (Hoa Xuande, soon to be starring alongside Robert Downey Jr in The Sympathizer) their new friendship quickly reignites a long forgotten passion for her craft. After her embittered and verbally abusive musician partner of fifty years, Duncan, loses his job as a pub singer, Liebe intends to use the money from her dress sales to realise his dream to record an album. However, Duncan (Glenn Shorrock) is determined on shutting down her seamstress business. Liebe packs her bags and moves in with her best friend from where her life takes an extraordinary turn. This is a coming of age tale with a difference that tugs at the heartstrings and proves that it's never too late to follow your dreams.

We spoke with Hadden about his film, which is in UK cinemas from November 24th.

Interview - A STITCH IN TIME Director Sasha Hadden

As someone who is obsessed with clothes, when I watched the film I was particularly interested in the concept of fashion and being a couturier as metaphor for liberation and self-realisation. Please could you elaborate on how clothes and clothes-making are used in A Stitch in Time?

Clothes-making represents our dreams and passions. The clothes themselves (supplied by Kitten D’Amour) represent emotional integrity. Liebe initially feels that beautiful clothes are for beautiful people, not for someone like her. Hamish expands her understanding during their first encounter - demonstrating that she too can be the wind to lift the sails of a beautiful garment. It's an empowering realisation for her - that she's responsible for how she carries herself, as she takes control of her own emotions.

Liebe later uses dressmaking to teach Hamish about resonance and the importance of excellence and accuracy, as we communicate to each other through our individual creations.

What messages are A Stitch in Time conveying about age and how does it attempt to convey them?

The message is that we are creative beings and remain creative beings regardless of age and opinion. That we should continue to live, while ever we're still breathing.

Duncan is stuck in the trap of believing that fame and fortune is the only true validation. He doesn't think he has an audience until at the very end of his life he realises that Liebe was his audience all along. The film examines creativity as the fabric of community. 

We don't need permission to be creative. We're compelled to create for those around us. The film is an expression of this idea. 

A Stitch in Time's ensemble cast is fantastic. I wonder if you wouldn't mind talking a little about the casting process and the experience of working with such a seasoned group?

We had two casting directors, Susie Maizels (who has since passed away) and Kathrine Courtney-Prior. Susie would explain that casting is like putting colours on a canvas, in that you don't want colours that look the same, but for all the colours to work in harmony with each other.

We started with Hoa Xuande, who Susie Maizels insisted was a star. Don McAlpine said the same thing on the first day of shooting. Hoa was awesome to work with and is now playing the lead role in Robert Downey Jr's The Sympathizer.

Maggie Blinco was chosen because she was a bit like Liebe, in that she'd never had that big break in film, and we felt she had a lot to draw from. 

Duncan was originally written for Jack Thomson, but Jack couldn't do the film because of scheduling issues. It was actually Maggie who suggested Glenn Shorrock and I watched a YouTube video of him singing 'Cool Change' in a club. He had me in tears within about 10 seconds and I was calling his agent before the song ended. The magic of Duncan's voice is critical in explaining why Liebe loves this man - which we need to understand in the first few scenes. It occurred to me that getting a singer to act rather than an actor to sing, might work out well. 

We had some scheduling issues with Belinda Giblin's theatre production, but I fell in love with her in the role of Christine and was able to schedule the film around her to make it work.

John Gregg was the last of the main ensemble to come together, due to making sure we had the balance right. We were all excited when he said that wanted to do it. 

The most exciting scene for me to direct was the big fight scene in the movie, because all five actors had completely different acting styles. Uniting all of that energy was a joy. 

Susie and Kathrine were able to get solid actors for all the smaller roles also, which was also crucial.

Okay Sasha, last question. Imagine if you were given carte blanche to programme A Stitch in Time with two other films. What would they be and why?

That's easy, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Driving Miss Daisy

I fell in love with Driving Miss Daisy when I was 19 and wanted my first film to be a similar type of love story, unpinned to youthful beauty. Before my film was complete, my executive producer Sue Milliken told me that Bruce Beresford (who directed Driving Miss Daisy) wanted to see it and he came along to our cast and crew screening. 

Beresford loved A Stitch in Time as much as I loved his Driving Miss Daisy and he told renowned Australian film critic David Stratton to watch it, who gave us our first 4 star review.