Anne-Louise Lambert (born
21 August 1956) is an Australian actress
whose acting career began with her role
in "Number 96" in 1973.
Anne shot to international stardom after
playing Miranda in Peter Weir's classic
film "Picnic at Hanging Rock"
(1975). Director Peter Weir saw her in a
television commercial for Fanta and felt
she was perfect for the lead role as
Miranda in "Picnic at Hanging
Rock". She resides in the Sydney
suburb of Balmain with her son Harry
(born 1989)and works as a
psychotherapist, counsellor and coach.
"My life as an
actress has been rich in experience. Now
as a psychotherapist, counsellor and
coach, that experience enriches my
work." Anne Lambert
"The rock... its'
beauty and its' power just hit me. It has
still got a presence, that extraordinary
presence. It's really there." Anne
INTERVIEW WITH ANNE
your interpretation of the meaning and
themes of the film changed over the years
particularly given your work as a
Ive looked at it differently at
every stage of my life. Its one of
those films that is so rich and layered
in meaning, and certainly the work I do
now changes the way I see Picnic
a little bit.
to be about the English arriving here, to
this place. We have that sense of that
foreign, almost transplanted way of
thinking and the natural environment
being at odds. Miranda seems to be
natural, unspoilt and unaffected, and she
hasnt really taken on the
have-tos of colonial
thinking. Shes somehow free and her
relationships with others seem loving and
giving a huge contrast to the
schools hierarchical way of
thinking, which was all about power,
control and status. The school is also a
place full of repressed energy.
think the film is about our relationship
with uncertainty and fear of the unknown,
and I guess in terms of psychotherapy,
the big existential question of death. We
have an incredible need to solve and
control things and in this film, that
doesnt happen just like in
life, where resolution and control often
dont happen either. We try and
understand, solve and resolve everything,
and we dont succeed.
do you remember about the costumes?
costumes themselves were incredibly
comfortable and were obviously made for
each of us. Judith Dorsmans work
was all about Miranda it had
daisies in the lace and that was
Mirandas flower. It talks about her
innocence and her simplicity. There was a
butterfly buckle which talked about her
freedom, her lightness of being. The
dress itself was incredibly comfortable,
and Miranda was the only one who
didnt have to wear a corset.
Theoretically, again, that was about her
thing that I did have difficulty with was
the shoes. All that wandering up and down
the rock and jumping over creeks became
incredibly painful. That was probably my
greatest acting achievement: to not look
like I was in extreme pain, because I was
in extreme pain! We had old boots, shoes
from the period and the leather was hard.
They must have tried about three
different pairs on me and none of them
actually fitted. So I would take my boots
off at the end of the day and they were
full of blood, basically. I wore my way
through blisters and bandages it
was just ridiculous. So all that trailing
of hands and trying to look relaxed was
probably my finest moment if only
do you feel about the fact that these
costumes are now part of an online
exhibition, and a special one-night only
exhibition in Canberra on 7 August 2015?
the work the NFSA does is incredibly
important, valuable. For people to
actually be able to see and be in the
presence of those objects, things that
theyve seen on the screen
its part of our cultural and social
history, and Im happy to have given
the dress and the costumes to the NFSA
knowing they will be well looked after
and others will get to enjoy them.
face became synonymous with the film.
What were the positives and negatives of
has been an important part of my life
because of the fact that that photograph
of me gets seen so much. The recognition
that I get from that film just seems to
go on and on and on.
positives have probably outweighed the
negatives because Picnic has had
such a warm response from the public, and
Miranda in particular seems to be a
character that people respond very warmly
to. People respond very warmly to me when
they recognise me as Miranda, and that
has made my world a much warmer and
friendlier place to be. Ive grown
up with people smiling into my face with
shiny eyes, hugging me and being thrilled
when they make that connection, and
thats been extremely positive.
other hand, I have to keep finding a new
relationship with the whole experience,
with the film itself, what it means in
terms of Australian history, what it
means in terms of my life. I dont
always feel like doing it. I sometimes
think, What can I possibly say that
I havent already said? Am I just
repeating myself and is this all getting
a bit tedious for people?.
addition to your psychotherapy work, are
you planning any new acting roles?
not working on anything at the moment.
Im limited in the work I can do
because of my psychotherapy career, so
things either magically fit or they
dont. More recently I did a small
part in the House of Hancock
series playing Hope Hancock, Ginas
mother. I think I died in the first
episode, so that fitted in nicely with my
really about finding things that Im
able to do, that I want to do, and that
fit in around my other work. Sometimes it
works out really well but quite often
its just not possible.
MORE ABOUT ANNE
talks about her sister Anne Lambert
my earliest memories is being with Anne
at the beach, sculpting mermaids out of
sand and decorating them with seashells.
She would have been 18, I was four. She'd
gone in for a swim and as she emerged
from the waves, I was struck by how much
she looked like the mermaid we'd made. It
was one of those "a-ha"
moments. I'd discovered the truth about
Anne: she was no ordinary big sister, she
was a mermaid!
seven, I decided she was a vampire. But
that's another story. She was my hero.
Someone who made magical things happen.
I have a
vague memory of going to the opening of
Picnic at Hanging Rock. I was five. It
wasn't until much later that I really
realised how powerful that image of her
as Miranda was. Iconic. People would see
her and kind of go stupid. As a kid, I
thought it was cool. In my teens, I must
admit I found it difficult. It's not easy
to have an exceedingly beautiful older
sister. You'd meet somebody and they'd
say, "I've always been in love with
your sister; she was the girl I always
fantasised about." I just couldn't
compete with that. I cut off my hair, got
serious, and tried to be the antithesis
of that image.
realised Picnic at Hanging Rock was both
a blessing and a curse. Anne has played
so many other roles, both here and in the
UK - she's a very good actor - but what
people wanted from her was to always be
the ethereal Miranda. That role was
larger than her and she couldn't escape
it. In reality, Anne is a very strong
person; earthy, perceptive and wickedly
funny. The antithesis of Miranda, really.
parents had a tumultuous relationship.
When it ended in the mid-1970s, it was
like starting our lives over, especially
for Mum, who went it alone with four
children [the sisters have two brothers,
Tony, now 57, and Andrew, 47]. It fell to
Anne to step in to help raise us younger
kids. She made sure we had a roof over
our heads and helped pay for everything.
fairly conventional childhood, there was
suddenly this feeling of freedom.
Different boyfriends would come to woo
Anne and have to drag these kids out on
dates with them as part of the bargain.
Bad for them, but fun for us.
Anne went to England three years later, I
felt I'd lost my second mother. Every day
I'd pounce on the mailbox looking for
letters from her. They were full of her
adventures. The world was opening up for
Anne: working with great directors like
Peter Greenaway and acting legends like
Lauren Bacall, travelling to
extraordinary places. She introduced me
to the idea of a bigger world out there,
to being brave and committing yourself to
being an artist, to life, regardless of
whether you succeed or not. I still have
some of those letters. Later I followed
in her footsteps, moving to New York to
pursue my career as a writer.
Anne's found her calling as a
psychotherapist. She's always had this
ability to truly walk in another person's
shoes. It's what made her a great actor.
This new career feels like the perfect
culmination of a big life. I've never
seen her so passionately engaged as she
is about her work with her clients.
got cancer in 2009, I was pregnant with
my first child. I couldn't bear the idea
of losing her. While I railed against the
diagnosis and the inevitable end, Anne's
reaction was one of acceptance, of
gratitude for the moments we had left and
finding the beauty, the sadness and often
the humour in them. Experiences like this
test your relationships. It tested ours,
but ultimately bonded us even more.
died last year, I was pregnant again. She
never got to meet my baby son, Tom. It
was Anne who stepped in to fill that
void, holding my hand through it all. I
don't really think of her as a second
mother any more. She's my friend, my
sister and someone I am very grateful to
have by my side.
remember Mum telling me she was pregnant
with Sarah. I was 14, so it was a bit of
a shock. Sarah was a fat little baby and
incredibly cute. As a child, her dream
life was vivid. At night I'd hear her
talking in her sleep or find her
wandering around the house asleep, like a
little spook. She had a richly
imaginative inner life, always looking
for the magical in the everyday and in
others. It's what gives her writing its
remember shopping with her when she was
about four years old. There were some
plain tops on the rack at one end and
some bright, rainbow-coloured ones at the
other. I can still see the look of wonder
on her face when she realised you could
get all those extra colours for the same
price. Why wouldn't you? She has an
interesting way of being in the world.
parents split up, Mum and the four of us
children set up house in inner-Sydney's
Balmain. It was the 1970s, I was 18 and I
had a family to support! I'd been acting
professionally since I was 14, so Sarah
grew up around actors and artists and
alternative ways of thinking about
politics, the role of women,
spirituality, food, the arts -
everything, really. Society was changing
and life felt exciting and hopeful. She
soaked it all up. It seemed very natural
for her to start acting when she did. She
just sort of grew into it.
I was 21
when I went to England. It seemed that if
I didn't go then I might never make the
break. But it was hard. I missed my
family badly and was homesick knowing I
was missing out on all those little
moments that happen as Sarah was growing
up and changing, the mini milestones.
When years later I returned to Australia,
Sarah was a young woman and we had to
find a new relationship as adults.
creative evolution into writing happened
organically. She's always had a
remarkable way with words and is drawn
like a magnet to the extraordinary in any
particular situation. She understands the
emotional heart of a story and is able to
take you there with her. She's passionate
about her work. Watching [Australian TV
drama] Love Child, I could always tell
the episodes she'd written. I recognised
her voice and could feel that intensity
she has, that emotional truthfulness
coming through. I am hugely proud of her.
a fighter. During the four years of Mum's
illness leading up to her death last
year, Sarah fought - at first for Mum's
complete recovery, then for the quality
of her life as she slowly left us, in
my mother's champion when she could no
longer speak for herself. After Mum died,
Sarah and I bathed her, dressed her, did
her hair, her make-up and her nails, so
she looked just the way she liked. It was
a painfully beautiful experience. When
we'd finished, one of my mother's eyes
opened, just a little, as though she was
just checking on things. It was one of
those strange moments of shared laughter
that surprise you even in the midst of
always been able to talk, about anything.
We've shared it all: relationship
break-ups, career highs and lows, births,
deaths and the small precious everyday
experiences in between. We've each seen
what the other is made of in extreme
situations when everything gets stripped
bare. And I just love her.
"Picnic at Hanging
Rock" Site. Created by Sandra
Gambino. 2005 - 2019 All the pictures on this
site are copyright by respective
production Studio and/or Distributor.