Brooke Chamberlain: Turning the Tide of The Dunes

Spectacle and hyperbole might be visually mesmerizing but nothing is more frightening than the dangers of reality. The paper thin shield between each of us and calamity is always present and often ignored. The soon to be release Australian Thriller The Dunes explores this very premise. A psychological thriller set in the small fictional beachside town of ‘The Dunes’ in Australia on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the film follows renowned journalist Nicholas Rice of the LA Times as he returns to his hometown. As he arrives, a mysterious figure from his past re-emerges and threatens his entire existence. Director Martin Copping (known for 2013’s Zombie Hunter starring Danny Trejo) created this cautionary tale with underlying themes of substance abuse after losing family and friends to addiction. The story is disturbing, entertaining, and informative. A key character in the film who displays both vulnerability and strength is Emma, portrayed by Australian actress Brooke Chamberlain. Because the film is not yet released, no specific details can be given about the incendiary actions of Emma but as someone greatly admired in the Dunes community, she creates a bridge between the “normal” events of the story and the drama.

The Dunes is a small community where many people grow up and spend their entire lives knowing each other. Emma is one of those people. She’s earned the respect of those around her with her drive to establish a very successful real estate career. As co-owner of O’Brien Real Estate, she’s a pillar of the town. In order to bring authenticity to Emma, Chamberlain immersed herself in the world of real estate agents. For a period of time the actress found herself calling these agents to gauge their tone, rhythm, and character. Home viewings became her recreational/vocational activity as a means of noting their body language and demeanor. Chamberlain concedes that it was paramount in her estimation to be realistic and manifest the subtlety that the Emma called for early in the film, magnifying the impact of the more shocking moments that occur later in the story.

Director Martin Copping declares, “Brooke was an absolute pleasure to work with. Her performance was breathtaking. There’s a fearless quality that she possesses as an actress which really comes through in this film. Emma is very important to the story and the subtlety with which Brooke presents her is both disarming and sublime. It takes you by surprise. She’s an incredible young actress and I believe there’s no stopping her.” That’s no small compliment for the filmmaker who created this film as a means of communicating the loss of his own mother to alcoholism. The Dunes is a tale which warns of us the Band-Aids in our lives, reminding us that if we don’t deal with the real problem, we will only compound the negatives which will eventually become our own undoing. The Dunes, the characters, and the story are uncomfortable in the most entertaining of ways. Brooke Chamberlain delivers a performance that strikes directly in the center of the bull’s eye.