My memories of making Walkabout are linked with the journey of “the girl”, who like myself was at that perplexing age between adolescence and adulthood.
Before we started filming, Nic Roeg showed me paintings of the outback by Sidney Nolan, and talked at length about the new film. Most of this went right over my head, but I realised he was serious and enthusiastic, and that I was to be part of something important
Edward Bond’s screenplay was precise and poetic.
We moved from Sydney to the outback, from lush valleys filled with palm trees, to barren sand dunes. We would walk for half a day up a mountain to capture the grandeur of the place, or sleep in a dry riverbed to rise early and catch that particular morning light. Each location distilled the essence of a scene, like the illustrations in a wonderful children’s book.
In the seeming silence of the outback, the smallest sound is magnified: the whisper of wind through grass, the rustle of a lizard scuttling across the rocks. A radio suddenly crackling to life is shocking. John Barry’s music plays superbly with this rich soundtrack.
Walkabout took four months to film, and a year to complete. The adventure I had been a part of was woven into the fabric of the film. Edward Bond’s screenplay had become layered with the images and ideas Nic Roeg had talked of.
John Barry’s score evokes perfectly a sense of childhood yearning, a time gone for ever.