Q&A

ASHER KED­DIE, UN­DER­BELLY: A TALE OF TWO CITIES

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - COVER -

Af­ter four long months of shoot­ing (with cam­eras, that is), Nine’s am­bi­tious crime drama Un­der­belly: A Tale of Two Cities wrapped film­ing a cou­ple of weeks ago. How­ever, the 13-part se­ries still has a way to go in telling its tale of or­gan­ised crime and po­lice cor­rup­tion in Aus­tralia dur­ing the 1970s and ’80s.

One of the most com­pelling char­ac­ters, and a char­ac­ter who be­comes more prom­i­nent in up­com­ing episodes, is De­tec­tive Liz Cruickshank, played by ac­claimed ac­tor Asher Ked­die, per­haps best known for play­ing Ju­lia on the muchad­mired pay-TV se­ries Love My Way. Asher, I read some­where that you were lob­by­ing for a role in A Tale of Two Cities as soon as the project was an­nounced be­cause you were such a fan of the first Un­der­belly. I’m not sure how that got around. [Laughs] I saw the first cou­ple of episodes of the first se­ries but I couldn’t catch the rest be­cause I was do­ing a play. But I knew it was qual­ity work and I re­ally liked the peo­ple in­volved – I’d pre­vi­ously worked with some of them on The So­ci­ety Mur­ders and I wanted to work with them again. So when it came up that they were in­ter­ested in me for the role of Liz Cruickshank, I was keen. And I was even more keen when I was told that the char­ac­ter was loosely based on Aus­tralia’s first fe­male de­tec­tive. I didn’t need much more than to get a fire go­ing in my belly – she must have been quite ex­traor­di­nary. Did you get a chance to meet her and talk to her about the events de­picted in A Tale of Two Cities? No, she didn’t want to be in­volved. So I don’t even know who she is. All I know is that Liz is based on a real per­son. I had to go with what was on the page, and that’s all I ever go with any­way. I like to take what’s on the page and fly with that. And in the sec­ond half of the se­ries, the char­ac­ter evolves con­sid­er­ably and it was re­ally ex­cit­ing to play that.

What qual­i­ties came through on the page that you re­sponded to?

The main thing was that she was tena­cious – that cer­tainly leapt off the page. She had a lot of in­ner strength; she must have to have worked in such a man’s world at that time. And I re­ally liked that she was bold and coura­geous, that she was di­rect and not rat­tled and de­ter­mined to hold her own.

At the same time, some­thing that comes through is that Liz can see the hu­man el­e­ment in the case she takes on without it weak­en­ing her re­solve.

That’s ab­so­lutely right, and you’ve hit on some­thing that I was at­tracted to – she’s not some­one who sits in judg­ment. You see that with her treat­ment of Judi Kane. And you see it with Al­li­son Dine in later episodes, when that char­ac­ter starts to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for her past ac­tions. Liz be­comes very pro­tec­tive of her be­cause she can see that Terry Clark’s se­duc­tion of Al­li­son blinded this young woman to any­thing else. Liz lets her heart be­come in­volved without los­ing sight of the big pic­ture – that be­comes ap­par­ent in later episodes. What else lies ahead for Liz in fu­ture episodes of A Tale of Two Cities? Her jour­ney leads her out of a lit­tle bit of naivety, per­haps, and into the re­al­ity of po­lice cor­rup­tion at that time, the 1980s. That’s what the story be­gins to ex­plore – how the good cops were beat­ing their heads against a brick wall as they tried to get crim­i­nals like Terry Clark and Bob Trim­bole. The cops knew who th­ese guys were but they were blocked by this wall of po­lice cor­rup­tion. And the sec­ond half of the se­ries delves into that. But Liz never, ever loses her drive. She wants to achieve what she wants to achieve. I found her to be very real, and I en­joyed play­ing her for that rea­son.

Is this one of the big­gest TV jobs you’ve taken on in a while?

I’ve done a cou­ple of tele­movies and minis­eries re­cently but this is the first piece of se­ries tele­vi­sion I’ve done since Love My Way. That was such a tremendous ex­pe­ri­ence for us all, such great char­ac­ters and amaz­ing sto­ries, and I knew that if I was go­ing to go back to se­ries TV I would want it to be on some­thing re­ally good and re­ally strong. So I was thrilled to join Un­der­belly.

Strong re­solve: Asher Ked­die holds her own as tena­cious fe­male de­tec­tive Liz Cruickshank in the

among an all-male team of col­leagues.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.