“I met Jess quite a few years before Harmony,” says Jerome Meyer about Harmony leading lady, Jessica Falkholt, who passed away earlier this year, following a car accident that also killed her sister and parents. “I actually saw her in a theatre production, approached her afterwards and then we were friends from then because we just clicked. We are very similar people in a lot of ways.”
Harmony is a highly ambitious new Australian film written and directed by Corey Pearson. Falkholt plays the title character, a young woman with special powers, who upon meeting Meyer’s character Mason unravels both the meaning of her life and of those around her.
“For me personally, the loss of Jess extended far beyond that experience,” he continues referring to starring opposite the actress in the film. “I hope that people that come to see the film because they’re interested in it and not just out of some morbid curiosity.
“She was a giant force of nature that nobody really expected to get stopped. It’s hard for me to talk about it. It affected me really deeply. I miss her terribly; her passing was greater than Harmony for me.”
Jerome Meyer first caught the acting bug in high school when his drama teacher encouraged him to pursue it as a possible career option. He auditioned for QUT and got in on his first try, and then starred in a production of Holding the Man at the Brisbane Arts Theatre. His first screen role was in the TV series Secrets & Lies, which was followed by the feature film Joe Cinque’s Consolation, in which he played the tragic title character in the adaptation of Helen Garner’s controversial non-fiction novel. More recently, he has started dabbling in creating his own work.
“Me and my mate Tim Franklin, who played Colby Thorne on Home and Away, have developed a web series called iAm,” he says, referencing the soapie on which he recently appeared as Taz. “It’s a show about a guy whose phone manifests as a human being. We’ve raised 15 thousand dollars to fund it and now we’ve just finished the first draft of the edit and we hopefully shopping around for the next couple of months and try and get it on one of the streaming services.
“I’m only one part actor. My main interest is directing,” he tells us.
But back to Harmony…
“I was actually on the project quite early on,” he tells us. “Corey, the writer/director, I met him on a little independent ad he was doing. According to Corey, he said he was driving to pick me up from a park in Mosman and I was rehearsing a Hamlet monologue for an audition. Apparently, he saw it and was like, ‘That’s Mason’.
“Then he asked me for coffee three weeks later, and he was like, ‘I’m writing a script and it’s about the context of love and fear and the balance between the two and the universal effects of those things. I want you to play this character who’s got no fear’. Then about two years later he contacted me again and said he got the funding for it and that we are going to go ahead.”
The Mason character as portrayed by Meyer is quite the enigma. We described his portrayal as Buster Keatonesque in our review, but how did Meyer wrap his head around Mason?
“For me it was this original comment that Corey made, where he said the character doesn’t feel fear. I listened to podcasts on people who had dysfunctions in their amygdala, which is where your fear is centred in your brain, and how it manifested in behaviour. And what I came across a lot was this idea of numbness. When they can’t go to dark places like fear, they also can’t go to other places, like laughter and happiness. It’s quite strange, once you lose one you seem to lose the other.”
Jerome Meyer may have played a character who is unable to feel true emotion in Harmony, but in real life, following the passing of his friend Jessica Falkholt, his memories of the production are filled with them.
“There was a chemistry between me and Jess that is captured in the film,” he tells us reservedly. “There were moments when I could see glimpses in her eyes, and know I just made a joke about something. The chemistry that developed between us, and helping each other survive the small budget shoot… It was such a grand idea. But it definitely came up in the film and I always remember that bright smile she had when something was going wrong and we were just having a sense of humour about it.”
Harmony is in cinemas from October 4, 2018