Smash­ing op­por­tu­nity

Smash gave De­bra Mess­ing the chance to ful­fil her Broad­way dream, writes Colin Vick­ery

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

‘‘At least I know that I have done the work for an an­gel in heaven, @DameEl­iz­a­beth. I know that she will see it from up above . . . bless her.’’ @lind­say­lo­han AKA Her­bie: Fully Loaded star Lind­say Lo­han con­sid­ers her lat­est tele­movie role ‘‘oth­er­worldly’’.

‘‘ I had done an hour-long drama ( Prey) right be­fore Will & Grace. I was in ev­ery scene and it nearly killed me,’’ Mess­ing says. ‘‘ I swore I would never do that again.’’

Smash, which was cre­ated by Theresa Re­beck, cen­tres on the stag­ing of a mu­si­cal, Bomb­shell, based on the life of Hol­ly­wood icon Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe.

Steven Spiel­berg is one of the ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers. The ensem­ble cast in­cludes An­jel­ica Hus­ton as pro­ducer Eileen Rand and Jack Daven­port as di­rec­tor Derek Wills.

Katharine McPhee and Me­gan Hilty play the two ac­tors fight­ing it out to get the cov­eted role of Mon­roe.

LIFE is im­i­tat­ing art for De­bra Mess­ing. On US drama Smash, Mess­ing plays Ju­lia Hous­ton, a Broad­way lyri­cist whose mar­riage is put un­der strain when she has an af­fair with mu­si­cal the­atre star Michael Swift (Will Chase).

In real life, Mess­ing is dat­ing Chase.

Mess­ing, 43, filed for di­vorce from her hus­band of 12 years, ac­tor and screen­writer Daniel Zel­man, in June. They have an eight-year-old son, Ro­man.

Mess­ing, who is best known for play­ing Grace Adler in hit sit­com Will & Grace, has started film­ing the sec­ond se­ries of Smash.

It is clear from our con­ver­sa­tion that Smash and Ro­man are Mess­ing’s pri­or­i­ties.

‘‘ I re­ally re­late to Ju­lia,’’ Mess­ing says. ‘‘ She is a very pas­sion­ate, cre­ative per­son who has to ex­press her­self (cre­atively) in or­der to feel com­plete. As well, she is very pas­sion­ate about her fam­ily life.

‘‘ I’m a mother of an eightyear-old son and I’m com­pletely pas­sion­ate about be­ing his mother, about try­ing to bal­ance it (ca­reer and moth­er­hood).’’

Ju­lia is a very pas­sion­ate, cre­ative per­son who has to ex­press her­self

‘‘ When I read that first script I re­mem­ber say­ing ‘ s---’ out loud be­cause it was a script that was go­ing to re­quire that (same level of com­mit­ment as Prey) and I couldn’t say no,’’ Mess­ing says.

‘‘ I had some di­rect and hon­est talks with the ( Smash) ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers prior to sign­ing on.

‘‘ I said, ‘ If I’m go­ing to do this, we need to main­tain an ensem­ble’.’’ Mess­ing got her wish. ‘‘ I was given re­as­sur­ances that they would be able to ac­com­mo­date the time that I needed— whether it was to be at my son’s play or be at a par­ent/teacher meet­ing or what have you,’’ she says.

Smash was set to screen on US ca­ble chan­nel Show­time. When Show­time en­ter­tain­ment pres­i­dent Robert Green­blatt moved to NBC, Smash was des­tined for the big time.

The gam­ble paid off. Smash was paired with the US ver­sion of The Voice and de­buted to about 12 mil­lion view­ers.

Mess­ing puts the show’s suc­cess down to the mix of the per­sonal and the pro­fes­sional.

Mess­ing’s Ju­lia is try­ing to bal­ance the de­mands of get­ting Bomb­shell on stage with her rocky mar­riage to hus­band Frank (played by Brian d’Arcy James). Smash, Chan­nel 7, Tues­day, 9.30pm De­bra Mess­ing grew up dream­ing of a Broad­way ca­reer.

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