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Children of 'The Sundowners"

. Three principal stars of the film 'The Sundowners' - Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, and Peter Ustinov - are due in Sydney in a few days. But when shooting begins at Nimmitabel, in the Snowy Mountains, the three most excited people will be two Australian schoolgirls and a

16-year-old boy from England.

THE girls, Mercia Bar-

den, 15, and Barbara Ann Llewellyn, 7, both of Svdney, play sisters in the film, and the boy, Michael Anderson, plays a shear- ing shed rouseabout.

Michael, though he cracked one of the choicest roles in this

screen version of Australian

Jon Cleary's novel, was not so lucky when it came to crack- ing a stockwhip.

A couple of flicks with the 14-foot lash and he was ap- plying iodine and plaster to a raw, stinging patch on his


Michael has the part of Sean, son of Robert Mitchum. a drover, and Deborah Kerr.

Because he wants to be con-

vincing in his role, he has to learn his part with an Aus- tralian accent, crack stock- whips like an expert, sweep up shearing sheds, and gal- lop a horse round a country


Michael arrived in Australia with the advance party of the film unit, and went straight to "Springfield", Mr. Arthur Haylock's property near


"It's terrific country," he said. "I really had a chance to go riding. You can't do that in London, where we lived till my family moved to Hollywood."

Michael once tried an Aus- tralian saddle round a studio lot in England. But muster- ing at Cooma was very dif-


Put on weight

"It was lambing time," he said. "I saw sheep being drenched, and went over the shearing shed, where they weighed me on the wool scales, and spent hours in

the saddle.

"I put on weight up there.

We had enormous break-

fasts, huge steaks, piles of toast, and coffee. Then we'd go out to work, come back to

drink hot milk and eat home-

made cakes, then more work, a big lunch, work again, then

back to afternoon tea with more scones and cakes. I've never eaten so much.

"When I wasn't riding I was cracking the stockwhip. The cut's healing on my neck, though I still don't like tight

shirt collars."

Michael, 5ft. 5iin. tall, dark haired, not yet tanned by the Australian sun, looks more a city boy, particularly when in his conservative London tailored suits.

His accent is part English, part American, for he went to school in both countries.

"When we learnt about Aus- tralia, I was always top of that particular class," he said. "It's funny, but I feel I've been here before. Of course, I haven't."

From Hollywood, Michael brought 22 pairs of socks and 18 shirts - to save washing. But he said in Sydney that

. Mercia Barden, 15, of Sydney, and Michael Anderson, 16, who came from Hollywood to ploy the drover's son with whom she falls in love. Michael cut his neck learning to crack a stockwhip.

laundry was already piling up.

His father, Michael Ander- son (who directed "Around the World in 80 Days"), gave him a farewell present of a golden leather script cover containing the script of "The


Lettered "From M.A. to M.A.," the cover bears the titles of all productions in which Michael has appeared - including "The Sun-


Listed are the television shows "Ivanhoe" and "The Queen's- Champion," and the films "Tiger Bay" and "Moon


Michael says acting is in his family, and that he's never wanted to do anything else. His great-aunt Mary Ander- son was on the stage, as was his paternal grandfather,

Lawrence Anderson.

Another relative, Wilson Barrett, was a famous actor. There's a statue of him in New York."

Michael has two brothers, David, 19, who is working in Australia on the production of "The Sundowners", and Peter, aged 12.

"Peter is named after his godfather, Peter Ustinov. At any moment I'm expecting to hear that I've got a new sister or brother. I'm waiting for the cable."

Michael writes home every second day. He hopes to be an author one day.

He likes cricket, collecting records-jazz and rock-'n-roll -has a new autograph book,

bound in leather to match his script cover.

"I've brought some cameras," he said, "and I'm going to take pictures of Mr.

Zinncman and the stars of the film, and get them to sign their names on them."

No doubt the day will come when Michael won't be ask- ing for autographs. He'll be giving them.

Youngest in the company

Barbara Ann Llewellyn will leave an empty seat in class 2A of Coogee Primary School this year - but she won't be missing her lessons.

. Seven-year-old Barbara Ann Llewellyn, of Coogee, IS.S.W., plays a farmer's daughter in "The Sundowners." Barbara, shown here with a dog she befriended in a parky loves animals. Her mother says, "Even

worms in the garden are pets to her."

A special teacher will be with her throughout the loca- tion shooting of "The Sun-


Youngest member of the company, Barbara has hazel eyes, hair clipped in a fringe, and two short plaits tied back

in ribbon bows.

Her actor father, John Llewellyn, who runs a theatri- cal agency with his wife, says of the pigtails: "I've wanted

Barbara to cut them off for

ages. But she said short hair made her look like a boy. Now we're glad she kept her pigtails, she needs them for

the film."

Barbara has one brother, Bowen, aged ten.

Barbara plays a farmer's daughter in "The Sundown- ers," but it won't be her first film. She appeared in a docu- mentary, "Christmas in Aus- tralia," which showed her sneaking a piece of Christ-

mas cake.

"Barbara has always loved acting in little school plays," said Mrs. Llewellyn. "At home she dances and sings away to


"She's never been to the

country. I think she'll be ter- ribly excited. We won't be going with her, of course, but she will be very well looked


The day Barbara Ann audi- tioned for the part could have been unlucky. She'/l had a bad toothache, and had two teeth pulled out.

But they were back teeth and didn't show in the film.

The city girl is going hush

Mercia Barden, a ballet student, of St. Peters, is thril- led to the roots of her auburn hair about her role in "The Sundowners."

She plays a country girl who

falls in love with Michael Anderson. It's her first acting part, and it will take her into

the bush for the first time.

Mercia, a real city girl, has never stayed on a farm oí ridden a horse.

Only 5ft. 1 Jin. tall, she went to St. Patrick's Convent, Syd- ney, but left at the end of last year after having passed

the Intermediate at 14.

Since then, she's been study- ing shorthand and typing, and, of course, ballet, which she has learnt for six years. Her ambition is to win a scholar- ship to Sadler's Wells in Lon-


Mercia has three married

sisters, Betty, June, and Jean. All have studied ballet, and twins June and Jean once ap- peared as dancers at Sydney's

Tivoli Theatre.

Mercia's parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Barden, are de- lighted about the chance their daughter is getting.

Ballet leaves her little time for hobbies, but she loves swimming and pets, and was very upset when her tame bud- gerigar died recently.