Manson’s brave act
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