Celine Dion inspires New Zealand comedians making film The Breaker Upperers

Jackie Van Beek and Madeleine Sami.
Celine Dion inspires New Zealand comedians making film The Breaker Upperers
Celine Dion inspires New Zealand comedians making film The Breaker Upperers
Jackie Van Beek and Madeleine Sami.

WHEN their film The Breaker Upperers features a hilarious Celine Dion reference, it seemed natural a chat with Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek eventually turned to the diva.

The New Zealand BFFs were in Perth to promote their movie, about a pair of friends (Sami and van Beek) who run a break-up service for people who can’t break up with their partner face to face.

For Sami, it was her second whirlwind trip to the State’s capital, but van Beek’s first, despite her parents being residents here once.

“My parents lived in Scarborough, it would have been about 10 years ago; they really enjoyed their year here,” van Beek said.

After recounting their history together (they met at a national improvisation competition when van Beek was an 18-year-old tutor and Sami was a 14-year-old up and coming star), the conversation quickly turns to Dion and other solo female singer divas.

“We shot the film last year and I went back to LA and I convinced my wife that we should go to Vegas for a ‘babymoon’ because my wife was pregnant and I manipulated her into going to see Celine Dion,” Sami said.

“I was very impressed by Celine’s singing ability and she’s so weird.

“She’d be in the middle of one of her biggest ballads and she’d be like ‘Let me tell you a little story about this song’ and she’d go on a 20-minute rant then go back into the high point of the song.”

The Breaker Upperers took the comedians about five years to write and make, with input from Taika Waititi, who had to step back when he signed on to make Thor: Ragnarok.

“I had the idea and went to Madeline with it,” van Beek said.

“I thought it would be good to collaborate with her rather than sit at my desk by myself.

“After we’d written maybe one draft we pitched the film to (producer) Carthew Neal, who’s a good friend of ours; he really liked it and that’s when Taika came on. He’s a very old friend of both of ours as well.

“He was at those table reads and writer sessions, and then of course he signed on to Thor during that time.”

Now with a critical and box office hit on their hands, the two are gearing up for their next project – which may not be together.

“We’ve been working on a couple other little ideas in various stages that we’re quite excited about but it’s early days on those,” van Beek said.

“We had 28 meetings in four days over in LA, it was quite intense (but) we are both working on independent projects anyway, which we did before this.”

While the duo have had their fair share of break ups throughout the years, at one point they were each going through one at the same time, one celebrity break-up haunts Sami.

“You know, I think about Britney and Justin a lot,” Sami said.

“And I used to love Justin Timberlake but I think he’s a little b*tch now.

“He just constantly writes songs about Britney and he is still hung up on her, and its like ‘Get over it dude, you’re a talented, handsome man, go do your thang’.”

For van Beek, it was the discovery that a rock star heartthrob was off the market that devastated her.

“My most devastating news was when I read my RTR Count Down magazine when I was 13, and I found out Jon Bon Jovi was married, so it was the opposite,” she said.

“And it devastated me because in my mind, that meant I probably didn’t have a real shot at it and I really mooched around the house.”