Asher Keddie’s neurotic Nina has a new sense of clarity, writes Megan Miller
ASHER Keddie had her doubts that Offspring would last beyond one season. But Keddie, 36, was so enamoured with the quirky made-in-Melbourne drama from initial talks with coproducer John Edwards ( Love My Way, The Secret Life of Us) she didn’t care.
The fact it’s resonated with the audience to return for a second series and helped her earn a Logie were bonuses.
‘‘ It was so exciting diving in and making a show like this,’’ she says.
‘‘ I trusted the creative team and I knew we’d give it our best shot because it was a little avant garde and unique and eccentric. It was territory we all wanted to explore.
‘‘ We hoped we’d touch some nerves and be brave enough to be confronting as well as ultimately relatable, but I didn’t really think past the first series.
‘‘ I was so focused on establishing it, but was more than willing to take the leap of faith.
‘‘ It was a show I wanted to make and (my character) Nina was certainly the kind of woman I wanted to explore.’’
Season two of Offspring began with 33-year-old obstetrician Nina Proudman returning refreshed from Baltimore, but with her dad, Darcy, in hospital after a heart attack.
Keddie says neurotic Nina has found some clarity in dealing with men and her dysfunctional family.
‘‘ This season, she’s digging deep to confront her issues, of which there are many,’’ Keddie says.
‘‘ She’s beginning to evolve emotionally, find her voice and grow in confidence. She’s bet- ter able to deal in reality when’s she’s challenged as opposed to going off into fantasy.
‘‘ It’s fulfilling to play someone who’s stepping up. She still drops into the ditzy neuroses we know all too well, but then she has to dig her heels in and grow up.’’
Keddie thinks this season is more bloke-friendly.
‘‘ We tread that line between drama and comedy, and there’s a great diversity in storylines this year, which I think a male audience will enjoy. The male characters are quite prominent.
‘‘ I make no bones that it’s often not easy to watch this show. It can be uncomfortable, make you laugh, make you cry. It’s smart, surprising and pulls together all the elements of drama I find challenging and hugely rewarding to make.’’
She’s also happy about the show’s move from Sunday to Monday.
‘‘ There’s something about a Monday night. You’ve started your working week and it’s a nice night in my mind to watch some telly. It’s something to look forward to. I like beginnings, not endings.’’
Despite missing out on the Gold Logie, there was still lots of love in the room for Keddie at last month’s TV gong-fest when she won the public-voted Most Popular Actress statuette for Offspring.
Her turn as Ita Buttrose on Paper Giants also earned high praise. ‘‘ You never really know how a project is going to turn out and how it’s going to be embraced. It’s a bit of a surprise (the reaction to Paper Giants),’’ she says.
‘‘ When you’re making something you’re not thinking, ‘ Are the audience going to embrace this?’. ‘‘( But) it’s really nice after all these years to be warmly accepted.
‘‘ I do feel like I’m in a lucky position of having done my apprenticeship. You have to have that determination, drive, hope and faith in yourself.’’
Self-assurance has not always come easily to Keddie.
There were times she was plagued by self-doubt — wondered if she had what it took to endure as an actor.
This was apparent in the lead-up to the Logies when she said: ‘‘ I was extremely selfconscious and worried what people thought of me.
‘‘ I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.’’
Another actor forced Keddie to back herself.
‘‘ He pushed me to look at myself and realise that people did like me and want to work with me. Eventually I just went, ‘ Get over yourself’. I grew up,’’ she said. Offspring Channel 10, Monday, 8.30pm