Jean Seberg: Random Connections with Australia

November 16, 2019
The new biopic on Jean Seberg is directed by Australian Benedict Andrews. It’s not the only connection this actor had with Australians in her career.

Stephen Vagg looks at seven of them. (Warning: some of these – actually, make that all of them – are extremely tenuous).

Errol Flynn – the legendary Australian swashbuckler was top billed in the 1958 film adaptation of the novel The Roots of Heaven, by Romain Gary… whose turbulent marriage to Seberg features in the upcoming movie.

The trailer for Roots of Heaven – which is a bonkers pro-elephant adventure tale directed by John Huston, below.

Leo McKern – the marvellous Aussie expat actor had a supporting role in The Mouse That Roared (1959), a delightful comedy starring Seberg and Peter Sellers. It’s a British comedy that was hugely popular in the US mostly due to the central idea – an impoverished European nation declares war on the US so they can use and collect US aid. This may be Seberg’s most financially successful film.

Alec Coppel – Seberg starred in Moment to Moment (1966), a decent-ish thriller written by Australian Coppel, based on his original story. Coppel specialised in mysteries – he was one of the writers on Vertigo – and came up with a pretty good plot for this movie, which is let down by some uninspired handling. Seberg plays a Grace Kelly type part.

The theme tune below.

Diane Cliento – blonde Australian actor who was a contender, apparently, for the parts Seberg played in Lilith (1964) alongside Warren Beatty and Paint Your Wagon (1969) alongside Clint Eastwood. Cilento was also married to Sean Connery when he made A Fine Madness (1966) with Seberg.

Tom Parkinson – a Brit who helped finance a pilot to a TV series called The Girls (1968) which featured Seberg. Parkinson moved down under and worked extensively in the Australian and New Zealand industries.

Frederick Stafford – Czech born actor, best known for starring in Hitchcock’s Topaz (1969), who lived in Australia for a long time in the 1950s. He co-starred with Seberg in The Looters (1967) and White Horses of Summer (1975).

Experience some of Stafford’s acting in Topaz below.

Walter Chiari – Italian actor who appeared with Seberg in the fascinating Bonjour Triesste (1958), directed by Otto Preminger. Chairi went on to star in two Australian films, the classic They’re a Weird Mob (1966) and the film-no-one-has-seen Squeeze a Flower (1970).

Jean Seberg – a person who really didn’t have much to do with Australia.

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