Hot Ticket - 2 December 2011 - The Sydney Morning Herald
Viva Bianca experienced grim realities in Kings Cross while filming X.
Screenwriter Belinda McClory calls her latest creation, X, a ''love letter'' to Kings Cross. This boggles the mind, given that the film, about a hellish night endured by two hookers in Kings Cross, features not just an asphyxiation-by-plastic-bag but also a non-stop parade of hollow-eyed, drug-addicted youngsters.
Still, whatever problems await the catalogue clerk in the National Library of Australia, who will inevitably have to figure out where to shelve the film - romance shelf? Horror? - one must spare a thought for the lead actress Viva Bianca, who plays Holly, a veteran escort who plans on doing one last job before getting out of the business. She requires the help of another prostitute (played by Hanna Mangan Lawrence). But the job becomes a nightmare and they are soon on the run from a drug gang.
After a month of guerrilla-style shooting in Kings Cross during the night - ''surrounded by the real street prostitutes, real young drug kids and the real owners of these [strip] clubs'' - Bianca's body and mind were shot.
That's how the actress, a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts found herself in a 10-day silent retreat at a meditation centre in the Blue Mountains.
Bianca says the film is unique in featuring female characters rising up against adversity ''in the way that we, throughout film history, are constantly watching male characters do''.
Unfortunately, suffering in the name of art has recently become a way of life for her.
Bianca has just finished filming episodes for the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the Sam Raimi-produced American gladiator TV drama in which she plays the wife of a thwarted Roman general who is constantly ''fighting for her life''.
''I would be writing emails to the writers in America, 'Why are you torturing me? I actually have to live this. I have to go home and survive every day'.
''They were like, 'It's good, you're doing the work, we're getting it on the screen. Keep going','' she says.
DIRECTOR Jon Hewitt.
STARS Viva Bianca, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Peter Docker.
RATED MA 15+.