On the set of The Dressmaker: Full coverage

It's not everyday one gets invited behind the scenes of a film starring Hollywood actors such as Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth and Hugo Weaving – so when it happens, you jump at the opportunity.

On Wednesday, Wimmera Mail-Times journalist Cassandra Dalgleish and photographer Kelly McRae went to Jung Recreation Reserve, where Wimmera extras mingled with stars to film The Dressmaker this week.


The film adaption of Rosalie Ham’s fictional novel tells the story of Tilly Dunnage (Winslet), a dressmaker who returns to her rural home-town of Dungatar.

She reconciles with her eccentric mother Molly (Judy Davis) and sets about transforming the town’s women with her haute couture style –  while taking revenge on those who wronged her.

Several Wimmera locations feature in the film, including Sailors’ Home Hall at Murra Warra, Jung’s silo, recreation reserve and cemetery, Laharum Homestead and the Murtoa hall.

Up to 800 people auditioned for 300 roles as extras.

PHOTOS: The Dressmaker cast in Horsham

More than 100 of those extras are Wimmera people, who went to Melbourne for costume fittings, cut their hair and transformed into 1950s Dungatar  townsfolk.

Producer Sue Maslin said the life of an extra was far from glamorous.

‘‘They turn up at 6.15am for make-up and wardrobe fittings,’’ she said.

‘‘They have breakfast and are on set at 8am. We film until later that afternoon.’’

While on set, there is plenty of waiting around –  but little complaining.

The atmosphere is magical as each extra gives their all to help bring the film together.

It is a fleeting brush with celebrities for the Wimmera that will linger in the air long after Winslet and co leave.

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