Alice Parkinson didn’t meet Jenny but has been able to speak to people who knew her – Damien, Trish and Neil Pinner. Jenny is a bit of a mystery in the story of the 2002 Melbourne Cup. “Everyone speaks highly of her. She was a lovely girl who was profoundly moved by what happened. I have great respect that we are dealing with real lives and real people. Jenny’s journey is an emotional one.”
Alice watches the Melbourne Cup religiously and remembers 2002 so well. “When I first read the script I was in my favourite park in Sydney. Luckily I had sunglasses on. I was an absolute mess. I had flashbacks to the news of that day in 2002. I remember the emotion of the win. It was like a movie right there. It was highly emotional, particularly for Jenny.
Colleen Hewett draws on her own life as a mother for the role of Pat, saying her reactions are as she would feel if something happened to her own children. “What an honour – to play Damien Oliver’s mother! This isn’t about work – this is paying tribute to a family.”
Colleen has always been a bit of a ‘punter’ and admits to having won and lost a lot over the years, following horses ridden by Damien. Like so many Australians she was absorbed by the tragedy of 2002. “I watched that whole tragic week leading up to the 2002 Melbourne Cup. I don’t think anyone in Australia didn’t know about the tragedy. It was awful for that family – for Damien. It was an awful time for all Australians”.
Tom Burlinson credits The Man From Snowy River as the movie that ‘changed his life’. This led to his role as Tommy Woodcock in Phar Lap. On both projects, Tom worked with The Cup director Simon Wincer. The Cup gives Tom the chance to get back in the saddle using all the knowledge he has gained.
Tom remembers the moment when Damien Oliver blew the kiss to the heavens after winning the 2002 Melbourne Cup. “It is one of the great moments of Australian sporting history and it touched everyone, whether they were race going fans or not.”
When Tom first read the script he knew he had to have the role, even though it meant taking on an Irish accent. “Simon is an Australian film maker telling an Australian story and that is a good thing. He is passionate about the story and that is infectious.”