A scene from MENTAL, a film by P.J. Hogan. Picture courtesy Dada Films. All rights reserved.


Also Starring:
Executive Producer:
Co-Executive Producer:
Photography Director:
Production Designer:
Costume Designer:
Executive Music Producer:
Line Producer:
Visual Effects Supervisor:
Production Company:

* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

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Mental (2012/2013)

Opened: 03/29/2013 Limited

Limited (12+)03/29/2013
Monica 4-Plex03/29/2013 - 04/04/20137 days
Village East03/29/2013 - 04/04/20137 days
Clearview Chel...03/29/2013 - 04/04/20137 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Facebook

Genre: Australian Comedy

Rated: Unrated

A New Kind of Nanny is Coming to Town.

When Shirley Moochmore, the mother of five girls is committed to a mental institution, her husband Barry picks up Shaz, an eccentric and inspiring hitchhiker, who becomes the girls’ nanny and transforms their lives.


Told in colorful, comedic and musical interludes -- with all the pop sensibilities you have come to expect from a PJ Hogan film, MENTAL tells the quirky, comedic and often inspiring story of the Moochmore family. The Moochmore girls are certain they suffer from some kind of undiagnosed neurotic mental issue -- because after all, if they're not crazy then they're just unpopular. Unable to cope with her peculiar daughters and Barry (LaPaglia), her unsupportive, philandering politician husband, Shirley (Gibney) lives in the fantastical world of the Family Von Trapp and the songs of The Sound of Music. When her delusions become too much to bear, Barry commits Shirley to a mental hospital and finds himself alone with five teenage girls he barely knows. Desperate, he impulsively picks up an eccentric hitchhiker named Shaz (Collette), who becomes the girls' nanny and transforms their lives with her unconventional beliefs. Shaz is charismatic, hot tempered, inspiring, and completely nuts. However, she proves to be exactly what the Moochmore family needs. If not for a shark hunter (Schreiber) who throws a twist in to their plans, there may just be a happy ending.

Director's Statement

The story of MENTAL is based on a character from PJ's childhood -- an extraordinary woman who came into the Hogan family's life when PJ was 12.

"My mother had a nervous breakdown and was taken to hospital but that was kept from me. We arrived home from school one day to find out that she was gone without explanation. My father, who didn't really have much time for us anyway, was stuck with five of us and didn't know what to do. So he picked up a hitchhiker on the side of the road and hired her as our family nanny. I remember the day I came home from school and found this strange woman sitting in our messy living room rolling a cigarette."

"I actually don't think that my mother was mad. I think she was just easily pushed around, unlike 'Shaz' who nobody pushed around. These defining traits are what I based the characters of 'Shaz' and 'Shirley' upon."

Whilst a majority of the story is based on PJ's immediate family, there is also an element drawn from the family of a close relative. "I remembered a relative who my mother and father felt very sorry for because he was this macho guy who had 4 daughters and no sons. This was such a tragedy in his world - you know, no son to play football with, no son to take to the pub when he's 20. I guess it never occurred to him to throw a football to his daughter or take his daughter to the pub. My brother and I were sent around to the house sometimes to kick a football with him -- to be a male presence. His family was the inspiration behind the Moochmore's and prompted me to tell my story within a different context -- within a family of girls".

Another element of the story that was inspired by PJ's family history is the shark show where Coral Moochmore works. PJ's sister Helena worked at a similar show when she moved to Sydney. She would sometimes call PJ from work distressed and bored sitting amongst dead sharks in formaldehyde. "When I would ask her what was wrong, she would reply, 'sitting here day after day with these dead sharks staring at me is sending me mental.' Helena's story inspired not only the shark-show, but also the character of Trevor, and the title of the film ." With a few nods to the story of the Von Trapp family, not to mention Shirley Moochmore's exemplary rendition of several musical numbers, there are some clear similarities between the themes of MENTAL and The Sound of Music. This stems from PJ's affinity with the show which he went to see again and again with his mother when he was young, "she just loved it. Looking back I realised that what she loved about it was that it idealised her view of family. The Von Trapps were far from everything our family was, and I think she liked to lose herself in their ideal world. I mean they could sing, we couldn't even do that".

PJ wrote the character of 'Shaz' specifically for Toni Collette. Having worked with Toni on MURIEL'S WEDDING in 1994, a film which launched both of their careers, he knew she was capable of bringing 'Shaz' to life.

PJ was delighted with Toni's response to the script and the character "She loved it. She got it completely and had that response you hope you get from an actor -- she was committed to it, and committed whole heartedly. Shaz is a tough character to play; she could come off as very unsympathetic. She's delicate, yet tough, mean, yet generous and mad as a cut snake - not an easy part to play. Some actors love to commit to the vulnerability of a role and are not so confident in portraying the less sympathetic aspects. Toni loves those things about a character. She loves the thorns as well as the roses." Casting director Christine King asked Rebecca Gibney to audition for the part of 'Shirley' in the early stages of the casting process. Rebecca was far from what PJ envisaged to play the part "until I saw her audition. It was clear that she connected with Shirley in a way that I never imagined. My feelings about Rebecca were validated when other actors came in to audition -- some of them were wonderful - but Rebecca just had this quality that I couldn't quite put into words. She was so dedicated, she gained weight for the role, she deglamorised to a point where even the DOP, Don McAlpine, said 'Rebecca, are you sure you want to do this?' I hadn't worked with an actor who had given so much of themselves to a role since Toni in Muriel's Wedding."

Originally when Liev Schreiber was suggested for the role of Trevor, PJ had initial concerns casting an American as the Australian accent is very hard to get right., "Liev was really worried about getting the Australian accent right which I was happy about, because if you're not worried about getting our accent right, then you're probably underestimating it. He did such a great job of it, that people who have seen the film continually ask me if he is Australian."

The Moochmore girls proved to be a major casting challenge. PJ and Christine King embarked on a nationwide casting call in search of actors and non-actors with the right level of 'mental' to make up the five sisters. Coral, being the lead sister, was the hardest to cast. Lily Sullivan, who won the role of Coral, was only found two weeks before the shoot commenced. "Lily was somebody that answered online. I think she'd seen me on one of my various television appearances begging people to audition, go to the website and upload their audition piece. Lily told me that she wasn't even going to take an audition because when she read the character breakdown she didn't think she was right for it. She wasn't very happy with her audition piece but when I saw it, I just thought 'wow this is the first time I've seen somebody who, although didn't submit a perfect audition, just had a presence."

"When you're looking for new faces, it does take a long time to find the right one, particularly if they aren't sure they want to be an actor. You've really got to work hard with them in an audition to someway find them. The first time I worked with Lily, we spent a whole morning session together. She was very, very raw but there was enough there that I thought 'I can get Coral -- I can see it.'"

The film was shot on the Gold Coast and Northern NSW in various locations that had a 'small town feel' reminiscent of the Gold Coast before the high-rise boom. PJ envisaged the town of Dolphin Heads to retain the beauty of a small coastal town, but also the garishness of high-rise development.

"I wanted Dolphin Heads to look like a place in transition - a sleepy beachside town becoming cluttered with new high rises and developments -- a place that was beautiful and ugly all at the same time."

-- P.J. Hogan, Writer/Director

About the Cast

Toni Collette (Shaz)

Award winning Australian actress Toni Collette is known and loved for the emotional depth of her performances. Collette's poignant portrayal of the hapless 'Muriel Heslop' in P.J. Hogan's 1994 comic-drama Muriel's Wedding immediately propelled her into the international arena. It was only her second feature film role and she received both a Golden Globe nomination and an Australian Film Institute Award (AFI) for Best Actress.

In subsequent years Toni has worked on an impressive list of feature films. In 1999 she garnered rave reviews and an Oscar® nomination for her portrayal of a mother faced with her son's paranormal powers in The Sixth Sense. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan and co-starring Bruce Willis, The Sixth Sense was a box office phenomenon and showcased Toni's remarkable ability to totally inhabit a role.

In 2001 Toni starred opposite Hugh Grant in About A Boy and this role bolstered her international recognition with several nominations including one for a BAFTA. Her other credits during this time included Changing Lanes alongside Ben Affleck, Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine, Emma opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, and an unforgettable one scene performance as Kitty opposite Julianne Moore in Stephen Daldry's The Hours.

While working consistently in the international arena Toni has always returned home to Australia to appear in local films. These include roles in Rowan Woods's The Boys and her commanding portrayal of Sandy in A Japanese Story for which she won numerous local awards including the AFI and IF award. More recently she played a mother of an autistic son in Elissa Down's Black Balloon.

Toni has continued her international success in films such as the hugely successful In Her Shoes opposite Cameron Diaz, The Night Listener with Robin Williams, and of the course the much loved Little Miss Sunshine for which she once again received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.

Toni's diverse career has also been successful off screen with her theatrical talents being demonstrated in her critically acclaimed performance in the renowned Broadway production of The Wild Party in 2000 for which she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by A Leading Actress in a Musical. She was also nominated for the Theatre World Award for Outstanding New Performance in a Broadway Production.

Toni also received celebrated reviews for her role in the Steven Spielberg produced Showtime series United States of Tara. The central character suffers a multiple personality disorder and, as the series progressed, she performed a number of characters under the guise of Tara's alter egos. Tara is a character that Collette has referred to as a 'dream role' for an actor and which has been described as one that only Toni could play.

In 2009 she won the EMMY award for leading actress, and in 2010 she won the GOLDEN GLOBE for best female performance in a TV comedy or musical series. Other notable credits include the films Fright Night, Foster and Jesus Christ Henry.

Liev Schreiber (Trevor)

Considered one of the finest actors of his generation, Liev Schreiber's repertoire of resonant, humanistic and oftentimes gritty portrayals have garnered him praise in film, theatre and television. Schreiber recently completed production on PJ Hogan's dramedy MENTAL alongside Toni Collette, as well as Mira Nair's thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist opposite Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland. Schreiber will next star as the title role in the Showtime Network pilot Ray Donovan and can currently be seen in Goon with Jay Baruchel and Seann William Scott. Schreiber's many feature credits include Salt with Angelina Jolie; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Defiance with Daniel Craig; Repo Men; The Painted Veil; The Manchurian Candidate opposite Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington; The Sum of All Fears; Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock; Kate & Leopold; Every Day; Michael Almereyda's Hamlet; Spring Forward; The Hurricane; A Walk on the Moon with Diane Lane; The Daytrippers; Nora Ephron's Mixed Nuts; and Wes Craven's Scream trilogy. His portrayal of Orson Welles in Benjamin Ross' RKO 281 brought Schreiber Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award nominations. His other telefilm credits include George C. Wolfe's Lackawanna Blues and John Erman's The Sunshine Boys, opposite Woody Allen and Peter Falk. As one of the documentary medium's foremost narrators, he has lent his voice to such works as Mantle, :03 from Gold, A City on Fire: The Story of the '68 Detroit Tigers, Nova, and Nature.

In 2010, Schreiber received his third Tony nomination for his role in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge alongside Scarlett Johansson. His performance as Ricky Roma in the 2005 Broadway revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, directed by Joe Mantello, earned him his first Tony Award®. He was again a Tony® nominee for his portrayal of Barry Champlain in the 2007 Broadway revival of Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio, directed by Robert Falls. Other stage work includes the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of Macbeth, in the lead role opposite Jennifer Ehle, directed by Moises Kaufman; Iago; Hamlet; Henry the V; and Cymbeline.

In 2005, Schreiber made his feature directorial debut with Everything is Illuminated, which he also adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling novel of the same name. The film, starring Elijah Wood and Eugene Hutz, was named one of the year's 10 Best by the National Board of Review.

Anthony LaPaglia (Barry)

Anthony LaPaglia is a multi-award winning actor who has an extensive and diverse list of credits across film, television and theatre.

In 2012, Anthony will be seen in PJ Hogan's highly anticipated feature MENTAL alongside Toni Collette, the independent film Long Time Gone opposite Virginia Madsen and Robert Connolly's telemovie Underground, which tells the story of a young Julian Assange.

Anthony will also make his directorial debut with The Sydney Project being produced by John Polson. He will direct one of twelve short films that will form a feature about the harbour city. His recent films include the Australian feature Balibo, which tells of the investigation into the murders of the Balibo Five in East Timor in 1975, on which he served as Executive Producer. His performance as Roger East in the film earned him the AFI Award and Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor.

His numerous feature film credits include the critically acclaimed Lantana, for which he was awarded the AFI Award, IF Award and Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor, Happy Feet Two, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'hoole, $9.99, Betsy's Wedding, The House of Mirth, Sweet and Lowdown, The Client, Company Man, Summer of Sam, Autumn in New York, Lansky, Phoenix, Commandments, Brilliant Lies, Winter Soltice and The Architect.

Anthony received widespread critical acclaim for his portrayal of Jack Malone in Without A Trace, for which he won a Golden Globe® Award and earned an Emmy® Award nomination and two SAG Award® nominations for Outstanding Male Actor and a SAG Award® nomination for Outstanding Ensemble.

His television credits include a recurring role in Frasier, for which he earned an Emmy® Award for his portrayal of Daphne's brother Simon Moon, the series Murder One and the movies Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story, Criminal Justice, for which he received a CableACE nomination, and Garden Of Redemption. Anthony most recently starred on stage in Stanley Tucci's Lend Me a Tenor for the Music Box Theatre. He won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance in the Arthur Miller classic A View From The Bridge. His additional stage credits include The Rose Tattoo, which earned him a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, the Off Broadway productions of Bouncers, Northeast Local and On The Open Road and the Off Off Broadway production of The Guys, which went on to become a feature film in which he starred with Sigourney Weaver.

Rebecca Gibney (Shirley)

Rebecca Gibney is one of Australia's most beloved and respected actresses. Rebecca's performance as Julie Rafter on Packed to the Rafters, has earned her a Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality, two Silver Logies for Most Popular Actress and a further five Logie Award nominations along with an AFI Award nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama. She also received a 2011 AACTA Audience Choice Award nomination for Best Performance in a Television Drama.

Born in Levin, New Zealand, Rebecca starred in a number of New Zealand television series including Inside Straight, Pioneer Women and Sea Urchins. She quickly became a well-known face on Australian television with roles in Zoo Family, The Great Bookie Robbery and the hugely successful Flying Doctors as Australia's favourite mechanic, Emma Plimpton.

During her expansive career, Rebecca has portrayed some of the most interesting women on Australian television, including her compelling portrayal of Guinea in Come In Spinner which won her an AFI Award for Best Actress in a Mini-Series and a Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actress.

One of her most prominent and critically acclaimed roles was as Dr Jane Halifax in Halifax f.p. The character was created especially for Rebecca and her performance saw her nominated for numerous Logies and AFI Awards. The multi award winning series ran for twenty one telemovies from 1994 to 2002.

Rebecca's other television credits include Ring of Scorpio, All Together Now, Snowy, GP, Kangaroo Palace, 13 Gantry Row, Day of the Roses, Finding Hope, Salem's Lot, Stingers, Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes and Tripping Over. She starred alongside Claudia Karvan in three Small Claims telemovies and the Nine Network telemovie Wicked Love with Vince Colosimo. Rebecca also hosted the factual series Sensing Murder.

Rebecca's feature film credits include Among the Cinders, Mr. Wrong, I Live With Me Dad, Lucky Break, Joey, Lost & Found, In Her Skin, The Map Reader and Cherie Nowlan's Clubland alongside Brenda Blethyn. In 2012, Rebecca will be seen in PJ Hogan's highly anticipated feature film MENTAL opposite Toni Colette and Anthony LaPaglia.

Kerry Fox (Nancy)

Kerry Fox is one of New Zealand's most internationally respected and awarded actors.

Kerry's body of work includes Jane Campion's An Angel At My Table for which she was awarded the New Zealand Film Award for Best Actress, the San Sebastian Film Festival Award for Best Actress and the Venice Film Festival Elvira Notari Award for Best Performance; Gillian Armstrong's The Last Days of Chez Nous which earned her the Asia-Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actress; and Patrice Chereau's Intimacy which saw her win the Silver Bear Best Actress Award at the Berlin Film Festival.

She has also starred in Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave, Michael Winterbottom's Welcome to Sarajevo, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Country Life, The Gathering, The Hanging Garden, Storm, Jane Campion's Bright Star, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Intruders and Jonathan Teplitzsky's Burning Man.

Kerry has appeared in numerous productions for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in the UK including A Village Affair, Saigon Baby, Deja Vu, Waking the Dead and Trial and Retribution and for HBO in the telemovie The Affair. In 2010, Kerry starred in Rowan Joffe's BAFTA Award winning telemovie The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall and in 2011, appeared as Oriel Lamb in the groundbreaking television mini-series Cloudstreet, based on the novel by Tim Winton.

Kerry trained at The New Zealand Drama School and is an accomplished theatre actress having appeared on stage in Wellington, Sydney and London. Most recently, Kerry performed in Andrew Bovell's Speaking in Tongues at London's Duke of York's Theatre.

In 2012, she will appear in Iain Softley's feature Trap for Cinderella, Andrew Adamson's Mister Pip and PJ Hogan's MENTAL alongside Toni Collette.

Deborah Mailman (Sandra)

One of Australia's most celebrated actors Deborah Mailman received national acclaim in 1998 winning both the AFI and Film Critics Circle Award for Most Outstanding Actress for her portrayal of 'Nona' in the film Radiance. Since then she has worked extensively in film, television and theatre and is most recognised for her role as 'Kelly' in the television series The Secret Life of Us.

Currently filming the third season of Southern Star's highly acclaimed production Offspring, Deborah's other television credits include lead guest roles in Rush, The Alice and Bryan Brown's Two Twisted. Deb was also a regular television presenter, hosting Playschool and Message Sticks for the ABC and Lonely Planet's Going Bush with Catherine Freeman for SBS.

MABO is Deb's third collaboration with director Rachel Perkins, having also appeared in Bran Nue Dae and Radiance. Deborah's extensive film credits include Dear Claudia, The Monkey's Mask, Phillip Noyce's Rabbit Proof Fence, Ana Kokkinos' The Book of Revelation, and Lucky Miles. In 2011 Deborah completed production of PJ Hogan's MENTAL and Wayne Blair's The Sapphires, both due for release this year.

Deborah's most recent theatre credits include the role of Antigone for Company B and performances in Mother Courage and her Children, The Lost Echo, The Bourgeois Gentlemen and Tales from Vienna Woods for the STC Actors Company. Other credits include As You Like It, The Small Poppies, Aliwa, and The Sapphires for Belvoir St Theatre, Barrie Kosky's production of King Lear for Bell Shakespeare, One Woman's Song and Radiance for QTC and The Taming of the Shrew for La Boite Theatre. Her one woman show The Seven Stages of Grieving co--devised with director Wesley Enoch, toured both nationally and internationally to the London International Festival of Theatre and Zurich Arts Festival to critical acclaim.

Deborah recently made her directorial debut with the short film Ralph which premiered at the 2009 Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival and won The Holding Redlich IF Award for Best Short Film in the same year.

Deborah's outstanding performances have been acknowledged, amongst many others, with two TV Week Silver Logie Awards for Most Outstanding Actress in a television series for The Secret Life of Us, the Matilda Award for her stage performances in both Radiance and The Seven Stages of Grieving, the Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Actress in the STC production of The Lost Echo, a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Actress in the theatre production of The Sapphires; the 2007, 2010 and 2011 Deadly Award for Best Female Actor and in 2003 was named NAIDOC Person of the Year. Deborah was the recipient of the 2010

InStyle Women of Style Award for her contribution to Arts and Culture. In 2010 Deborah won AFI Awards for her roles in Offspring and Bran Nue Dae.

Caroline Goodall (Doris)

Born in Britain to Australian parents, Caroline Goodall has worked alongside some of Hollywood's pre-eminent directors starring in features that include Oscar® winning Schindler's List, Hook, Cliffhanger, Disclosure, White Squall and The Princess Diaries. She is proud to be the only actress who has starred in a Steven Spielberg film twice.

A former member of The Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain, Caroline began her career in the UK on stage.

Throughout her film career she has forged a balance between independent and studio films in the USA, Australia and Europe. She was twice nominated for Best Actress by the Australian Film Institute for Cassidy where she co-starred with Bill Hunter, and for her turn as Meg Moynihan in Richard Franklin's film version of Hannie Rayson's play Hotel Sorrento. She re-united with Bill Hunter in A Difficult Woman, for which she was nominated for a Logie.

Recent projects include Dorian Gray with Colin Firth, the thriller Cold Light Of Day alongside Bruce Willis and Mrs Biggs, a five-part UK/Australia co-production on the life of Charmian Biggs. She is over the moon to have been deemed MENTAL-enough for P J Hogan!

She is a graduate of Bristol University, UK where she gained a BA Hons in Drama and English.

Lily Sullivan (Coral)

Lily Sullivan made her feature film debut in PJ Hogan's highly regarded feature MENTAL released in 2012. Lily stars 'Coral Moochmore' alongside Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber and Anthony LaPaglia.

She will appear in the second series of ABC's Rake with Richard Roxburgh and Matt Day.

Sam Clark (Trout)

Sam Clark has been a singer/ songwriter since the age of 15 and is well known for his role as 'Ringo' in the long running TV series Neighbours. Since leaving Neighbours in 2009 Sam has toured the UK three times for his music and appeared in the ABC's Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

In 2008 Sam was nominated for an Australian TV Logie Award for Most Popular Talent on Television and in 2010 for CLEO Bachelor of the Year. He has also released two albums with a single that at number one on the Australian Physical Singles Chart.