Teresa Palmer: ‘I ate Hungry Jack’s every day until I was 18’
TERESA Palmer has come a long way from her first job was at Hungry Jack’s. The now vegan reveals how she juggles her role as a mother of two with her acting career.
When you were younger, you worked at Hungry Jack’s in your hometown of Adelaide. Does this mean you will never eat a Hungry Jack’s burger ever again?
When I worked there, I would have a Whopper Junior meal with a lemon meringue pie on my lunch break. I probably ate Hungry Jack’s every single day of my life up until the age of 18. And now I’ve become vegan, so there are not really many options for me on the menu anymore.
Perhaps they’ll make a vegan burger soon.
I hope so. Everyone’s jumping on the trend, so hopefully Hungry Jack’s will follow suit [laughs].
Your new film 2:22 is essentially about the power of fate. Do you believe that everything is written in the stars or that we create our own destiny?
I feel that what I believe is constantly in flow as I continue through my life. I definitely believe that we can make things happen. I really believe in the power of positive thinking. I certainly always have a goal in my mind and I think it helps because I can work towards it. What seems to serve me is to just be open to whatever comes my way and to make the best of that.
One of the first films you appeared in was 2006’s 2:37, which, like 2:22, is about an event at a specific time. If you ever receive a script for a movie called 2:07, you’d probably have to take the role.
It’s really funny because I have done a lot of “number” films. I was in 2:22, 2:37, I Am Number Four, Kill Me Three Times, Triple 9 … I don’t know what it is with me and numbers!
You attended the Oscars for the first time last year [for Hacksaw Ridge]. Were there any OMG moments?
Well, I think it happened for everybody when the wrong movie was called out [La La Land was mistakenly announced as the Best Picture instead of Moonlight]. That was pretty funny being there for that and experiencing it, feeling the energy in the room and seeing how shocked everyone was. Since it was my first Oscars, I didn’t realise it was OK to roll in a few minutes late. I ran in and there were probably only two other people sitting in that entire room. I was super-early and so excited and nervous. So I just sat there and took it all in. I took some selfies. I definitely got laughed at by my fellow cast members.
The awards season this year has been heavily influenced by the Time’s Up initiative and the Me Too movement. What are your thoughts on that?
It’s really exciting that women and men alike are standing in solidarity together to say enough is enough. It’s an incredible movement and I feel proud to know many of the women who have started the Time’s Up campaign. I really believe it’s going to be a positive thing, not only for women in our industry but for women all over the world. I look forward to seeing more of it at the Oscars next month.
It was love at first tweet for you and your husband [director and actor Mark Webber] after “meeting” via Twitter and then subsequently emailing each other. What was your first impression when you met in person?
He was just so nervous. I had three dogs at the time and he was clutching onto my dogs for dear life. It’s funny to think of it now because I know he likes dogs, but he’s not nearly as fond of them as it first seemed. But it was great. We have social media to thank for bringing us together.
You were in Berlin Syndrome and Lights Out. Both are horror films, albeit on different ends of the fright spectrum. Do you have a favourite horror movie?
I really love Wolf Creek. That was such a well done film. I also loved The Ring — the first Ring. It was petrifying. I remember seeing that as a teenager and thinking, “I will never see a scarier film than this.”
You’ve signed on to play Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. How good are you at riding horses?
I’m not bad, actually. I am obviously not at the level Michelle is at, of course. I know for insurance reasons they don’t usually let you gallop. We’ll be using a double. I was going to suggest to [director] Rachel Griffiths that we have Michelle as my double and to do the horse stuff. I’m really looking forward to meeting Michelle — we’ve spoken but haven’t actually met yet.
In the early days of your career, you were touted as the new Naomi Watts. Do you still get compared to fellow actresses?
People always try to draw comparisons; I think that’s just a normal thing that we do as human beings. I think now that I’m getting older — I’m almost 32 — I’ve been getting compared to other actresses less, which is really nice. I mean, it was always nice to get compared to Naomi Watts because I’m such a big fan of the work she does. But we all have our own paths and careers. No-one is a carbon copy of anyone else.
You and your family have relocated to Cardiff, Wales, where you’re shooting a new television series. Have you tried any traditional dishes such as Welsh cakes and Welsh rarebit?
That’s where I am right now — in northern Wales. Forest [Palmer’s son, one] and I are walking in the forest as we speak! All my crew members are Welsh, so I had some Welsh cake. They are always introducing me to local food. I love Cardiff. The people are so nice.
You knew you wanted to be a mother, even at a young age. Why is that?
It’s just always been ingrained into the fabric of who I am — this idea of being a mother. I heard the stories of my grandmother raising eight children and watched her be around us, her grandchildren. She was very maternal and was the matriarch of the family. I was always inspired by her and wanted to follow in her footsteps. I thought I’d be having many children, even at a younger age than when I started having children. I have my two little sons [Bodhi, three, and Forest] and I’m looking forward to adding to that brood. It’s lovely that you can be both a working mum and have a big family. I also have a stepson [Isaac Love, nine] so we’re a lovely family of five. I’m so grateful for what I have.