Life my way lifts Karvan
Horror movies and motherhood are a fun mix, writes Erin McWhirter
ASMILE creeps across Claudia Karvan’s face as she reflects on her life as a mother, producer and actor.
Karvan enjoys a healthy balance of work and play, but watching children Audrey, 7, and Albee, 2, develop has offered unexpected fulfilment.
‘‘They are just wonderful,’’ the 36-year-old says of her children with partner Jeremy Sparks.
‘‘It’s a fantastic relief and release, sometimes more like an escape when you enter into a child’s world and push a swing for an hour. Then other times it’s great to get to work and get away from motherhood for a while.’’
Two years ago Karvan was tired after three successful seasons producing, writing and starring in Foxtel’s Love My Way. It was time to step back from producing and focus on acting and family.
The mentally gruelling storylines of Love My Way helped steer Karvan in an unexpected direction — towards big-screen horror.
She has completed filming Daybreakers alongside Ethan Hawke and The Long Weekend with James Caviezel, both films designed to have you hiding under the covers at night. Filming horror, Karvan explains, has added a new dimension to her acting.
‘‘I’ve never even auditioned or thought of doing horror before,’’ she says.
‘‘I loved it. I can’t give away too much because it will ruin it, but I had some great prosthetics in The Long Weekend and had a crossbow in Daybreakers with a little bit of fighting on a desk with a vampire. It was new and it was great.’’
After fending off vampires and demons, Karvan turned back to television and started delving into the deeply confronting world of Julia Weston in SBS telemovie Saved.
A story of a complex love triangle which emerges after the SIDS death of Weston’s first child with husband Peter (Andy Rodereda), Saved follows a broken woman who becomes the advocate for a young Iranian detainee, Amir (Osamah Sami), and develops a relationship with him that threatens her marriage.
Playing a tortured mother struggling to cope with the loss of a child isn’t a new scenario for Karvan. Ask any Love My Way fan to recall the most chilling and heart-wrenching storyline of the series and they will point to episode eight, season one, when Karvan’s on-screen daughter dropped dead from cardiomyopathy.
The episode is arguably the most affecting in the history of local television drama.
Saved, directed and written by AFI award winner Tony Ayres ( Home Song Stories), is not designed as a political piece. It’s about a woman reaching out to a total stranger to escape the harrowing life she’s enduring.
Karvan campaigned against the Howard government’s treatment of refugees around the time of the Tampa and Children Overboard incidents in 2003.
The actor, however, says her interest in the Saved role doesn’t stem from her commitment to aiding refugees.
Though Karvan relied on research notes and a few meetings with refugee advocates for Saved, she also read a book on the subject that ‘‘was so upsetting I couldn’t get through it’’.
‘‘It’s such a depressing time in our history, it kind of makes your stomach turn,’’ she says.
Mum’s the word:
Claudia Karvan loves escaping into the world of her children . . . just not all the time.