Ned Kelly's mother is "sexy, incredibly powerful, and cutthroat" in the latest film about the famous bushranger's life, according to the actress who plays her, Tasmania's Essie Davis.
"She's nothing like me," she laughed. "She's a tough and mercurial beast."
The True History of the Kelly Gang is an adaption of the Booker Prize-winning book by Peter Carey. It was directed by Davis' husband, Justin Kurzel, who has also directed the critically-acclaimed Snowtown, Macbeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, and Assassin's Creed.
It is the first time the pair have collaborated together, with Davis previously saying they were waiting for the right project.
"Justin was asked to attach himself to the book, to develop it, and as he was reading it he kept saying, 'there's a great part for you! There's a great part for you!'" she laughed.
"He wrote it, with Shaun Grant, with me in mind from the start, and then talked to me a lot about her. It was such a passion project for both of us - we loved being able to do an Australian work of art."
Davis is most well-known for her role as Phryne Fisher in the ABC hit series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, has also starred in Game of Thrones, The Babadook, and Cloudstreet.
The Tasmanian actress is far from the only big name in the True History of the Kelly Gang: it also stars Nicholas Hoult from Mad Max: Fury Road, the X-Men rebooted series, and Skins; Russell Crowe, and Son's of Anarchy's Charlie Hunman, with British actor George MacKay in the lead role.
Davis said Kurzel had an unorthodox method of helping them get into their characters.
"Justin has a particularly beautiful technique which is something he does for all of his actors, which is gives them a manifesto of things they have to do to prepare for the roles they play," she said. "It's a long, huge list for every actor: things you have to do and listen to and taste and see."
"The boys - Ned, Dan, Steve, and Joe - the actors who played them had to form a band, write a set of music, and perform a gig at a pub in Melbourne before they started filming. They wrote 10 songs and performed - nothing to do with the Kelly gang.
"The next day they walked onto set, and they were a gang. Because they had this team dynamic. And then the music they wrote ended up being used for the film."
And what was in her manifesto?
"I'm not even going to go into what I did because it's - well, it's private," she laughed.
The True History of the Kelly Gang is on Stan from January 26, and is screening at Mona.