Kylie Minogue At The Movies - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Kylie Minogue At The Movies

In which we pay tribute to some of Kylie's varied cinematic appearances.

Kylie Minogue first sprung to fame playing tomboy mechanic Charlene Robinson in the Australian soap opera Neighbours, before hitting the stratosphere of pop-stardom with a worldwide music career which, after 32 years, shows no sign of stopping. Throughout her many musical re-inventions Kylie has still found time to lend her talents to the occasional acting role, and like her varied pop career the movies she's appeared in and the characters she's played have been just as diverse. Here then are four of Kylie's most memorable and contrasting cinematic performances from four different decades.

The Delinquents (1989)
Like an Aussie version of Rebel Without A Cause, Kylie stars in this coming-of-age drama as teenager Lola who falls for bad-boy Brownie. She fights against her parents, fights to keep her unborn child, and fights to make it alone in the 'big city'.

The Delinquents is not a great film. It's packed full of teenage angst and pretty wooden acting from just about everyone involved. Kylie is the better of the two leads (apart from when she has her terrible bleached blonde wig in the latter half, which makes all those scenes uncomfortable viewing), eclipsing Charlie Schlatter's turn as Brownie. But this is soap star Kylie in a very soapy film and that's exactly how she approaches the role. Although its a period piece set in the Australian city of Bundaberg during the 1950s, it's a natural cinematic progression for someone like Kylie who had, up until then, mainly appeared in soaps (like Neighbours, The Sullivans, Skyways), so in that respect it's the most obvious choice of film for her on this list.

It's a good job she did choose to take the role as Lola because this story of forbidden love absolutely only found an audience because of Kylie. And boy, does it play on her inclusion and fame! The soundtrack features one of her early Stock Aitken & Waterman produced singles, Tears On My Pillow, for fans of her music. But, perhaps because Kylie wanted to shake off her goody-two-shoes pop-princess image of the day, The Delinquents also includes a topless scene. Quite unnecessary really, I can't help but feel this scene was only written in so the tabloids of the day could make a big fuss about 'the film where Kylie gets her boobs out!', giving maximum publicity for its release. It worked, but absolutely at the expense of exploiting the young Ms. Minogue.

Street Fighter (1994)
The early to mid-1990s saw Kylie try to further shake off her pop-princess persona by leaving Stock, Aitken & Waterman and the record label PWL behind, and taking more creative control over her music. Collaborating with the likes of Nick Cave and the Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield, to much critical (although not necessarily commercial) success. It was certainly quite a departure, musically that is. However, as much of an unexpected change in direction that that was, I doubt anyone saw Kylie Minogue Action Star coming!

Playing Sergent Cammy in the 1994 film of the popular video game series, Street Fighter was mainly a vehicle for its star Jean-Claude Van Damme (and featuring Raul Julia in his last cinematic role). Kylie's role isn't the biggest but it was heavily publicised and equally sold on her inclusion in both the UK and her native Australia, where much of Street Fighter was filmed.

How Kylie came to play the part of Cammy is a bit of a fortunate series of events. The Australian Actors' Guild insisted that director Steven E. de Souza hire an Australian actor for the production, but by the time he received the request the only part not cast was that of Cammy. Unaware of her pop career or fame, De Souza happened to have a copy of that month's Who magazine (an Australian publication) that featured Kylie on the cover as part of their World's 30 Most Beautiful Aussies feature. A call was put in, and Ms. Minogue screen tested for the role.

Trained for the part by world karate champion Benny Urquidez, the physical role was a big ask for tiny Kylie. Her acting, that of her co-stars and the film in general was panned by critics. British film magazine Sight & Sound had this to say about Kylie's...
"...hilarious miscasting as a military wench with Heidi plaits. The merest glimpse of her holding a bazooka and looking mean is enough to induce giggles in the most dour of viewers."
But although the critics may have thought that Kylie was miscast, in retrospect the role is perfectly in keeping with exactly where she was at this unexpected, experimental phase of her career. Besides, Kylie and the Street Fighter team had the last laugh, the film made $100 million on a budget the third of that.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)
The new millennium saw another reinvention for Kylie, with her hot-pants sex-kitten persona backed up by some of her biggest selling singles in the form of Spinning Around and Can't Get You Out Of My Head. The latter a global number #1, even making the top ten in the U.S., about the only place in the world Kylie she had failed to crack prior to this. Kylie then bought this new version of herself to the big screen as The Green Fairy in Baz Lurhmann's Moulin Rouge.

Again, not the biggest of roles, a short cameo even, but boy was it a memorable one! The hallucinogenic manifestation of Ewan McGregor's lead character's night on absinthe, Kylie's scantly dresses Green Fairy provocatively teases Christian (McGregor) with a rendition of The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music. It's the perfect part to compliment Kylie's then-current musical reinvention, and was backed up with a commercial playing before Moulin Rouge! with Kylie taking things a stage further...

If you've got it, flaunt it! And that's clearly what Kylie did here. And unlike the topless scene in The Delinquents, this feels very much on Kylie's terms. A woman in control of the direction her career is taking, and loving every minute of it.

Three film roles from three different decades, each of which correlating to Kylie's musical career at the time, but our fourth dip into her cinematic resume is anything but...

San Andreas (2015)
I've never met Kylie. I have a couple of friends who have, one of which she saved from choking on an egg mayonnaise baguette. Ending up with regurgitated egg on her clothing (true story). By all accounts she is a lovely person (as the egg incident may attest). Her brief but incredibly memorable role in 2015s San Andreas would have you think otherwise.

I really do not know how when it came to casting the role of Susan Riddick, stone cold bitch of the first degree, someone somewhere thought of Kylie Minogue. It's just so very out of character, but it may just be her best big screen performance because of it.

San Andreas is a big budget disaster movie starring Dwayne Johnson as Ray Gaines. Estranged from his wife Emma (Carla Gugino), who has a new boyfriend, but determined to save her, Ray's on the way to the restaurant where she's about to meet and have lunch with her new boyfriend's sister (Kylie) before a massive earthquake, tsunami and anything else they can throw at the screen hits it. Oh, and because it's Hollywood, this restaurant is at the top of a huge skyscraper. What could possibly go wrong?

In 90 seconds of screen time Kylie Minogue's Susan might be the most fully established character in any movie ever. I really mean this. San Anreas is clearly not high-brow cinema, but this is about as close to character-arc perfection as you will ever find

As soon as we, and Emma, meet Susan she instantly gives Emma the third degree for getting serious with her brother, follows this up by dismissing the waitress for having the audacity of asking if she could help them (I mean, anyone would think it's a restaurant!), interrogates Emma about her previous marriage, then, for seemingly no real reason, flippantly points out that Emma has a dead daughter! Sensing that she is offended by the line of questioning, Susan responds with "oh, I didn't mean it like that". As if there's a variety of different meanings behind stating "your other daughter drowned in an accident" less than one minute after meeting a person. And the way she says it just enforces that she absolutely did mean it like that. It's perfect!

Seemingly pissed because Emma takes a call from Ray and excuses herself from the table and uncomfortable line of questioning, before we get another chance to interact with Susan the earthquake has hit. Panicking, she pushes Emma out the way to get to the door and to, presumed, safety. By the time she opens that door we know everything there is to know about Susan. A stuck-up socialite with wealth and trappings, who knows that Emma is tainted goods. She's lucky to breath Susan's expelled air, let alone marry her brother. I mean, she couldn't even keep a child alive for god's sake!

Once Emma opens the door, there's nothing there. The building has crumbled and Susan has fallen to her death. Susan dies off-screen, which makes her character arc even more perfect in so many way. She's a quickly established cash loaded monster who realises that no amount of wealth can save her, panics about that, then dies.

The whole thing is quite unnecessary really. We already know that Emma's new beau and Susan's brother, played by Ionn Gruffudd is a wealthy dick anyway, and dies an equally selfish dicky way. The lunch with Susan in the restaurant-on-top-of-the-world is clearly just a McGuffin to re-connect Emma with with Ray in an overly dramatic disaster movie way, but throwing the randomness of Kylie Minogue, complete with American accent, into the proceedings may just be one of the best things Hollywood has done.

Of all the people to cast, I still can not fathom why it's Kylie but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Four very different film roles from four different decades, all featuring the wonderful diversity of  Kylie Minogue.

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