Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

BY DAR­REN DEVLYN How­in­tense was the au­di­tion for the role of Loretta? I had about five or six call­backs dur­ing au­di­tions. I tried not to think about the fact each time I went in, I was get­ting closer to the role. But hon­estly, the last thing I ex­pected was to be cast. Were you aware at the time Jes­sica McNamee and Zoe Ven­toura were leav­ing and that this was go­ing to be such an im­por­tant new role? When I started Jess had fin­ished film­ing and I learnt later that Zoe was plan­ning to leave, but none of us had any idea how she would leave. When we had the read-through of the episode when she ac­tu­ally died it was dev­as­tat­ing. The show has had re­cent trauma with the loss of Mel (Ven­toura). Were you sur­prised by the pub­lic re­ac­tion? I knew peo­ple would be shocked. But the over­whelm­ing re­sponse and de­bate it sparked was some­thing I didn’t ex­pect. The show has a huge au­di­ence. Have you had any strange en­coun­ters with fans? I tend to be pretty low-key so I haven’t had too much crazi­ness. I was buy­ing a cam­era the other day and the guy in the store was so lovely and help­ful and it was only when I went to pay that he said, ‘‘are you from the TV?’’ Then he apol­o­gised for ask­ing and said qui­etly, ‘‘I re­ally love the show.’’ He gave me a pretty sweet deal on my cam­era too, so if there are more fans out there like him, I hope I run into them when buy­ing things. You were once a gym­nast who had hopes of com­pet­ing at the 2000 Olympics. What kind of in­jury stopped you in your tracks? I had a stress frac­ture in my back, which is not un­com­mon for gym­nasts. You are con­stantly in­jured as a gym­nast and if you are not train­ing in some sort of pain then it is a bit strange. But I think that in­jury was the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. Did you end up feel­ing burnt out by the de­mands placed on you as a gym­nast? No, I loved gym­nas­tics, but I think if I had con­tin­ued at the pace I was go­ing for an­other five to 10 years I def­i­nitely would have burnt out. When I quit, it was my de­ci­sion, but I think the fo­cus and dis­ci­pline of per­for­mance as a gym­nast has def­i­nitely helped shape me as an ac­tor. Packed to the Rafters, Chan­nel 7, Tues­day, 8.30pm

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