10 Directors to Watch: Theater-Sharpened Australian Helmer Shannon Murphy Bites Into ‘Babyteeth’

Shannon Murphy

Versatile Australian director Murphy recently helmed episodes five and six of “Killing Eve’s” third season and is about to finish the editing. That series marks a good fit for her energy, sensibility and strong visual style.

Murphy characterizes her work as “deeply emotional and truthful,” noting, “that can come in many forms.” She enjoys dark humor and the opportunity to get audiences to laugh at things they didn’t expect to find comedic.

Her directing career started in the theater. She approaches directing from the perspective of performance and finds it “insanely helpful” to have acted at one time herself. Adapted from a stageplay, her melodrama-defying feature debut, “Babyteeth” — about a terminally ill teen determined not to waste her remaining time — screened in the main competition of the Venice film festival last fall, where it earned the emerging actor prize for Toby Wallace.

While in Berlin to stage a production for the acclaimed Schaubühne theater, Murphy was inspired by the “brave and radical” short films screening in the Berlinale’s Generation section and decided she wanted to make a short. That decision led her to the Australian Film Television and Radio School, from which she graduated in 2013. Her CV includes several prize-winning shorts, as well as episodes of various Aussie series and sole director credit for the four-part miniseries “On the Ropes.”

Murphy’s already attached to direct the Australian-U.K. TV adaptation of “The Strays,” but while that show is being written, she remains open to other work. Ideally, she would like to make another feature before 2021, although she’s holding out for the right script, one that generates a strong emotional response. The way she sees it, “Film reflects so much of your personality, taste and view of the world, it really needs to be the right thing.”

Agency: Agency: Cameron’s Management (Australia)
Management: 42 Management (U.K.)