The Big Issue : Edition 528
THE BIG ISSUE 13 – 26 JAN 2017 33 Hotel (2011), who’s not only beefed up for the role but also nailed an Aussie accent. “I just put him through boot camp,” laughs Davis, recalling a four-hour screen test in London. “Dev’s got a lot of nervous energy, which is what everyone loves; he’s got this sense of humour, this kind of extroversion, which I had to take away from him. I had to go, ‘Sorry, you’re not allowed to throw that energy away, you’ve got to retain it.’ He just started to tune into it and went to some really beautiful places.” When I ask Davis to describe his approach as a director, he defers to the words of an actor from Mary Magdalene. “She said to me, ‘I understand how you work now, Garth... You give the actors a lot of space – a lot of space. But you’re like a painter, so you gently allow the actor to paint that colour, and then you suggest another colour and then the scene is formed in this very free but painterly way.’” This intuitive assessment makes sense. When Davis talks about why he chose Lion as his first feature, he uses words like spirituality; Brierley’s story thrums with some strange sense of providence. “This is a portrait about love and the power of love,” says Davis. “Saroo would say to me that he would go to sleep every night and he would just fly home – like an out-of-body experience. He would imagine himself going back to India, he would imagine the landscape, he would go down the laneways and he would find his little house. He’d go inside and he’d tell his mother that he’s alive, he’s okay and he loves her. “His birth mother, Kamla, she always felt like she could hear him and feel him... Everyone thought that she was mad, but she’d go, ‘No, I know he’s alive, I know he’s alive.’ They’re psychically connected.” Kamla was talking with a friend about Saroo on the fateful day a neighbour knocked on her door. “Kamla,” the neighbour said, “I think your son has returned.” by Rebecca Harkins-Cross (@rhacross) » Lion is in cinemas 19 January. YOUNG SAROO (SUNNY PAWAR) MEETS HIS NEW PARENTS (KIDMAN AND DAVID WENHAM) AND IS TAKEN FAR FROM HIS LOVED ONES.