From Summer Bay soap star to Hollywood heavyweight, Isla Fisher has lived most of her life under the media spotlight. But when it comes to her family - and the three children she shares with actor and satirist Sacha Baron Cohen – she’s fiercely protective. “Motherhood is actually my favourite topic – but I keep it private,” she tells marie claire on the set of our June cover shoot. “I think all parents are trying to protect their kids, especially in the social media age. I want our children to have a normal childhood – being able to play outside without pressure or scrutiny. All kids have the right to just be kids, and I would never sell a film or magazine by speaking about [mine].”
Last year, Fisher made a highly publicised return to Aussie shores, and even had the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the backdrop for her and Baron Cohen’s appearance at the Oscars in April. She opened up about the joy of spending time in her homeland to marie claire. “I feel like I can be myself in Australia,” she says. “I love the people. I love the colours and the sights and the taste and the smells. And there’s something about being home which is just … it feels very magical. I miss it so much when I’m away and I have a very Australian sensibility. Whenever I meet another Aussie, I always think, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re twins!’”
This month the 45-year-old stars in Blithe Spirit, a film adaptation of the classic 1941 Noël Coward play (now screening on Amazon Prime). It’s a fizzy farce set in 1930s Britain, all slapstick, screwball fun with a side of the supernatural. Fisher plays Ruth, housewife of screenwriter Charles Condomine (Dan Stevens), who accidentally summons his ex-wife, Elvira (Leslie Mann), back from the dead – and hilarity ensues.
“It was so nice to read a script where the language was rich, layered and witty, especially given the fact we all communicate in emoticons these days,” says Fisher. Being cast alongside “our greatest living actress”, Dame Judi Dench – who plays an eccentric clairvoyant – was also a major drawcard. Fisher deadpans that Dench is actually a big fan of Home and Away and took on the project to work with her, then erupts into giggles. “I had to film two really big scenes with her and I kept saying to myself, ‘Fisher, don’t you forget your lines!’” she remembers.
“And it was almost like she picked up on that energy, and she made a really funny dirty joke that put me right at ease. She’s got the most fantastic sense of humour. From that moment on I just relaxed and it was a masterclass, watching Dame Judi Dench perform.”
Read the full article in the new issue of marie claire, on sale Thursday.
Blithe Spirit is screening on Amazon Prime now.