Rose Matafeo on Kids, Weed and Making Movies

She’s one of our favourite – and funniest – exports, and while Rose Matafeo is still living her best life on the other side of the world she has been back on our shores to film the Taika Waititi-produced Baby Done. We catch up with Rose (well, via phone) to talk all things babies, lockdowns and some good bloody comedy at a time we need it most.

Kia ora Rose! You’re in the UK at the moment, right? How’re you doing over there?

Yeah, its… we’re not in as a severe lockdown as it was at the start of the year, but now they’ve kind of gone ‘oh wow, we’ve messed it up again, oh shit, maybe we have to go back in.’ It shouldn’t affect my work too much, which is good. And it’s good to be back with all my stuff. I was in New Zealand for six months, and now I’m back in the UK. I had a panic attack in March, I literally had a day to sort out my shit and leave and get back home.

Shit, that is stress.

Massive stress. I packed so poorly.

Well thankfully Baby Done was filmed in the glory days of 2019 – and I think the part of the film I like the most is the idea that the gender stereotypes are switched around – the expectant mum is the one having a freak-out as opposed to the dad. Finally, right?

Exactly – I mean, it’s a well-trodden trope that men are less prepared or excited about having a family. It was super fun to play, and I’m someone who, to be honest, who would react in a very similar way to how I would react if I was having a baby! There was a really strong reaction even to the trailer on social media – so many women were like, ‘this is how I felt when I had my baby’.

It’s like it’s not a good look for a mum to feel less than excited, because apparently that is our ultimate purpose in life, us women, to have a baby, and be happy with it. But there’s this whole spectrum of emotions and conflicts within yourself when you find out massive lifechanging news like that. It was bloody fun.

Rose and co-star Matthew Lewis (yes, the dude from Harry Potter) in a scene from Baby Done

Did you feel the pressure to be a good representation of women who feel that way? (Totally looking at myself here)

Yeah, for me it was just about widening the portrayal of women – not all women feel the same way about everything – we’re complex and ultimately we’re human!. I don’t have children, and I don’t plan on having children soon, so I was going, ‘oh God, I’m not a mum’, that was the pressure about the portrayal, I guess.

It’s bloody nice to be talking about a movie in this current climate – especially a comedic one that’s like a nice little tonic for the awfulness of 2020!

It’s a ‘feel good film’. That’s weird to say, that sounded very ‘Hollywood’! [laughs]. But it literally is a feel good film! I always describe it as one to take your aunty to, and it’ll go off. It’s also good for people who are at that stage in their life – you know, when all of your mates are off having families and stuff…

YES God it’s everywhere!

Right? There’s something quite relatable in that panic. I’m 28 and I’m at the age that, oh, cool, everyone is having babies. It’s the ultimate timeline right – but yeah, I’m not doing that. There’s wine to drink, man.

And you’ve also been pretty vocal on social media about the election – especially the cannabis control and legalisation referendum. It’s a pretty tight race, but all the polls have it not passing – are you gutted?

I’m absolutely gutted! It’s so annoying, Chloe Swarbrick has put so much work into that, and trying to get people’s understanding about what it’s actually about, like the incarceration of certain people who are targeted. It’s outrageous. It doesn’t boil down to, ‘do you like weed’ – it’s not about that!

I’ve been away for so long, and getting into the political situation up here a little more which is obviously absolutely fucked. It’s so vital that people actually educate themselves about this stuff – it feels very strangely tumultuous this election! And obviously, vote!

Does it make you feel more connected to home?

Yeah, definitely. In the past four or five years in England, New Zealand has made such big changes and it’s been amazing – like how there’s so much more support in the use of te reo. People coming back to NZ are like ‘woah’.

And, I don’t even consider myself that I could influence a single voter, but I don’t take it lightly what I put out there. I grew up in Ponsonby all my life, I’m a hippy. I’m a little bitch Labour/Greens gal, there’s no hiding that!

Baby Done is released on October 22  

(Main image Andi Crown)

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