Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice in scene from the film Strictly Ballroom. They are facing each other in front of a wire fence. The time of day seems to be early evening.

Remembering Strictly Ballroom

A Q&A with Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice
 Mel Bondfield

The NFSA is celebrating Strictly Ballroom with a curated collection featuring an exclusive interview with Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice.


Paul Mercurio in a Strictly Ballroom publicity shot, crouching down on the floor with one elbow resting on his knee and looking sideways towards the camera.
Paul Mercurio publicity image from Strictly Ballroom (1992). NFSA title no. 347696

Paul and Tara have each since had prolific careers on stage, in television and on film, but it was Baz Luhrmann's low-budget flick about ballroom dancers that launched them as household names in 1992. 

Speaking to us in 2017, 25 years later, they still have fond memories of making the film and developing their characters. Paul talks about identifying with Scott, the 'rebel with a cause' who danced his own steps, while Tara tells how protective she was about Fran, a character she had already played in the stage production. 

Their recollections of the shoot are mixed.


Head and shoulders shot of Tara Morice in costume for the film Strictly Ballroom.
Tara Morice publicity image for Strictly Ballroom (1992). NFSA title no. 347930

Tara recalls her anxiety about performing in front of champion ballroom dancers on day one of shooting and being terrified she would embarrass herself. Paul's main concern was a badly injured ankle, which left no time for nerves.

And both remember the excitement of starring in their first feature film.  

You can view some of the highlights from our interview below, where they discuss the legacy of Strictly Ballroom and how they are still recognised today by die-hard fans of the film, as well as a whole new generation of film lovers:

An exclusive interview with the stars of Strictly Ballroom (1992), Tara Morice and Paul Mercurio, talking with the NFSA in 2017, 25 years after the film's release.

Explore more Strictly Ballroom content in our curated collection, and by following the links under More to Explore, below.