Asher Ked­die’s neu­rotic Nina has a new sense of clar­ity, writes Me­gan Miller

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

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

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