Man­son’s brave act

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - RICK BENT­LEY

SHIRLEY Man­son has turned Garbage into gold. She ac­com­plished this bit of pop cul­ture alchemy dur­ing her days as the lead singer of the al­ter­na­tive rock band Garbage. In the mid-1990s, the Scot­tish siren drew big crowds with her dis­tinct voice and looks.

Now Man­son is try­ing her hand at act­ing, play­ing Cather­ine Weaver in the Fox­tel-Chan­nel 9 se­ries Ter­mi­na­tor: The Sarah Con­nor Chron­i­cles.

Weaver is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of a mas­sive com­pany at the cen­tre of the whole Ter­mi­na­tor mythol­ogy. She is one of the shape-shift­ing killers from the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture.

‘‘I’m 42, I’ve been in bands since I was 15,’’ Man­son says. ‘‘It gets to a point where you are step­ping out in front of 100,000 peo­ple and your blood pres­sure doesn’t change.

‘‘I felt like I wanted to do some­thing in my life that scared me. You get to a point in your life where ev­ery­thing is too comfortable.’’

Man­son found suc­cess with Garbage. The group’s first self-ti­tled al­bum sold more than four mil­lion copies and pro­duced chart-top­ping sin­gles Only Happy When It Rains and Stupid Girl.

But the glit­ter of mu­sic even­tu­ally faded. Garbage dis­banded in 2003 and got back to­gether in 2005 for a fourth al­bum. But it was about that time that the busi­ness lost all its ap­peal for Man­son. The de­ci­sion to walk away from the mu­sic world was sparked by in­dus­try changes.

‘‘I was sick­ened by my record com­pany’s ap­proach, which was, to me, es­sen­tially an un­cre­ative process,’’ she says. ‘‘I didn’t want to play the cor­po­rate mu­sic gig where they want women to make nurs­ery rhymes. I wasn’t pre­pared to do that.’’

Man­son’s leap into act­ing was a bap­tism of fire. Not only did she take on the de­mands of ap­pear­ing in a weekly net­work drama, she landed a role in a show loaded with spe­cial ef­fects. She had to go through all kinds of com­puter-gen­er­ated trans­for­ma­tions against the back­drop of big ex­plo­sions.

‘‘I feel like I have learned so much over the course of the se­ries and started to un­der­stand more about the process of act­ing and mak­ing a TV show,’’ she says. ‘‘I have just started to learn how to de­velop a char­ac­ter.’’

In mu­sic, she would pour out her heart and soul. In act­ing, Man­son says, it’s the com­plete op­po­site.

‘‘You are hid­ing your­self in some­body else. It is more of a cere­bral ex­pe­ri­ence where mu­sic is more vis­ceral,’’ Man­son says. Ter­mi­na­tor: The Sarah Con­nor Chron­i­cles, M Fri­day, 8.30pm, FOX8 (Fox­tel) Sci-fi drama Du­ra­tion: 1 hour

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