Premiering on Hulu in the United States and on Disney+ throughout the world on May 24th is the new Australian TV series entitled ‘The Clearing,’ which was directed by Jeffrey Walker and Gracie Otto.

What is the plot of ‘The Clearing?’

'The Clearing' is an eight-part psychological thriller based on the best-selling crime thriller ‘In The Clearing’ by author J.P. Pomare, inspired by the darkness of real-life cults in Australia and around the world. The series follows a woman (Teresa Palmer) who’s forced to face the demons from her past in order to stop the kidnapping and coercion of innocent children in the future. The series burrows under the skin and inside the mind, blurring the lines between past and present, reality and nightmare in a truly unnerving way.

Who is in the cast of ‘The Clearing?’

‘The Clearing’ stars Teresa Palmer ('Warm Bodies,' 'The Twin') as Freya, Miranda Otto ('The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,' 'The Homesman') as Adrienne, Guy Pearce (‘L.A. Confidential,’ ‘Memento’) as Dr. Bryce Latham, Hazem Shammas ('Alex & Eve') as Yusuf Joe Saad, Mark Coles-Smith ('Last Cab to Darwin') as Wayne Dhurrkay, Kate Mulvany ('Hunters') as Tamsin Latham, and Julia Savage as Amy (‘Blaze’).

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Teresa Palmer and Miranda Otto about their work on ‘The Clearing,’ their approach to their characters and their unusual relationship, the show’s use of flashbacks, Adrienne's power over the children, what kind of mother Freya is, and what it was like for Otto to be directed by her sister.

Teresa Palmer and Miranda Otto star in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

(L to R) Teresa Palmer and Miranda Otto star in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Palmer, Otto, and Guy Pearce.

Moviefone: To begin with, Teresa, your character has experienced a lot of trauma throughout her life. Can you talk about the challenges of playing a character like that?

Teresa Palmer: I have to say I was very immersed in a dark place throughout the four months, but really it was only reserved for when I was filming because I have four children at home. So I'd have to come to work, get into the head space, and then leave it at the door, so I could go home and show up and be with my kids. But a lot of it was researching. I did so much research. I read journals. I watched documentaries on different cults around the world, and I wanted to get beneath the fabric of who this person was and why she is making the choices she's making in her life. So it was a dark head space to be in. It was pretty harrowing, but certainly it was needed.

MF: Miranda, you play your character at different points of her life, did it feel at times like you were playing different characters and what was your approach to playing Adrienne?

Miranda Otto: Well, that's a tricky one because we're trying not to give away too much because there are so many reveals as the show goes on throughout the eight episodes. But yes, I'm definitely playing Adrienne over a breadth of time and it was challenging to keep coming up with the different ways she was at different times. It really was like a massive jigsaw puzzle. I mean, at one stage I think we were shooting six episodes at once. That's just how it turned out because of people's availability. So we were shooting six episodes and you're trying to piece all the little fragments of the story together and remember exactly what happened where. It's just so intricate this script, that was a big part of the puzzle for me. I really could have had a full-time assistant helping me with that, but I did not have that. It was me trying to put the pages together and work it all out. But I have to say, costume, hair and makeup were amazingly helpful, and I always feel like once you're dressed and everything's all done, it's sort of like the character kind of begins to reveal itself to you.

Miranda Otto stars in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

Miranda Otto stars in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

MF: Teresa, the series features flashback scenes to when your character was younger, that you do not physically appear in. How did reading those scenes about Freya’s past help inform your performance in the present day scenes?

TP: I think it very much does. I get to have a little look into the history of my character, how she was in the past and the choices that she made. I also took another step further and I asked to see some of the scenes that Julia Savage had filmed. Julia is the young actress who played the younger version of me in the show. She was so beautifully nuanced and there was such a fragility, bravery and strength, and all these wonderful colors that she was able to show. But I was like, "Okay, A, I've got to bring it. And B, I was looking for these specific things that she did with her hands, with her face and what were her mannerisms that I could sort of bring into the later ages where we see my character. So it's complicated when it turns out that way, but I really enjoyed the process. It was just an extra little challenge.

MF: Miranda, can you talk about the power that Adrienne has over the children and especially with Freya?

MO: She's definitely a hugely powerful figure in the series with the children. I think her power is very much about withholding from them, giving to them as a special moment and telling them how special and important they are when she wants something from them or she needs them to behave in a certain way, but then completely cutting off from them once that's complete. It's very transactional for her. She gives certain things to get things, and then she cuts off from them entirely. She seems to see them more as a photograph than actual real human beings. There's sort of a definite lack of empathy.

Teresa Palmer stars in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

Teresa Palmer stars in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

MF: Teresa, having grown up with Adrienne, what is Freya’s relationship like with her children now and what type of mother is she?

TP: I think Freya really wants to give her children opportunities that she was never afforded as a child herself. So a lot of her parenting is reactionary because she's in a place now where she's able to love on that child as much as she can and give them so much. But also, her past manifests itself in being a little bit overbearing. She is a little bit paranoid, she's a little bit controlling, and she feels safer when she can isolate herself. So I think she's doing the very best that she can with what she knows and what her experiences are. But of course, when I have a look at her, I realize that probably Billy, her young son, is being negatively impacted because Freya is sitting in such a fear-induced place.

MF: Miranda, what has it been like for you to work on this series and create the complex relationship between Adrienne and Freya with Teresa?

MO: It was fantastic. I really enjoyed this shoot so much. Also, my sister was a director on it, so that was a heap of fun, and who's also a friend of Teresa, so that was really nice. But I just enjoyed working with Teresa so much. She made it look so easy, and I thought when I read it, "Wow, that is a very complicated, heavy role to kind of carry through the whole thing." But Teresa is such a light and effervescent person on set, and that was such a lovely thing because you could end up in a very dark place playing that role. So it was an absolute joy.

Miranda Otto stars in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

Miranda Otto stars in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

MF: Teresa, what was it like for you working with Miranda on this project?

TP: I feel like in every interview, all I've been saying is this is a performance of a lifetime for Miranda. It's unbelievable to have to hold the performance of someone from age 30 all the way up to their 80s. She did it so beautifully, and it was so nuanced. I've said this before, but I felt like we really trusted each other. So we were in a scene together and she would give me something and I would give her something, and it was like this beautiful dance, and each take would be so different and have its own colors. So it just felt like we were able to play and we were also given the freedom to do that by the writers and also the wonderful directors, including Gracie Otto, Miranda's sister. So it was wonderful.

MF: Finally, Miranda, what was it like being directed by your sister? Had you ever worked with her before?

MO: It was great, actually. We've never worked together before. She's worked with my dad, my husband and my daughter. It was fantastic because we got to spend a lot of time on weekends talking about what she wanted to do and how she was going to set up the shots. So it felt like I had an in insider lane into knowing ahead of time what she was hoping to get, and it just made working together really fast.

Teresa Palmer stars in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

Teresa Palmer stars in Hulu's 'The Clearing.'

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