Jes­sica McNamee

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - COLIN VICK­ERY TV WRITER

Hav­ing quit her role on Packed to the Rafters in 2010 for Hol­ly­wood, Jes­sica McNamee was linked to a num­ber of projects, in­clud­ing a re­make of Ju­dith Krantz’s Scru­ples, which never came to fruition.

But now she’s fi­nally hit pay­dirt with Sirens, a TV com­edy cen­tred on a group of Chicago paramedics, which stars Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels, and Kevin Bigley.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on Sirens. It must be a re­lief to be in a show that looks like go­ing the dis­tance. Ab­so­lutely. It’s been a crazy cou­ple of years over here (in LA). I shot the pi­lot of this in 2012 and it’s only now that we wrapped the sec­ond sea­son. It has been a long process. I’m very lucky to be one of the ones who are work­ing over here. It’s a tough in­dus­try.

Sirens looks like a lot of fun to film. It’s an ab­so­lute blast be­ing on set with all th­ese guys. It is a bit of a boys’ club so I have to check my­self some­times and re­mind my­self that I’m a lady. I’ve given up putting on heels when I’m sur­rounded by 100 men. I’m go­ing to foot­ball games, bars and drink­ing beer. We’re all re­ally good bud­dies.

How chal­leng­ing has it been do­ing com­edy on Sirens? I’m a ridicu­lous hu­man be­ing just gen­er­ally, but I’d never re­ally been given the op­por­tu­nity (to be ridicu­lous) on screen. I didn’t know if I was any good at it but I was al­ways at­tracted to it. I’d been a bit of a one trick pony in Australia just do­ing drama.

When you look back, how brave a de­ci­sion was it to quit Rafters for Hol­ly­wood? It was hard to leave the ac­tors be­cause they were like fam­ily but I never re­gret­ted that de­ci­sion. It was the best de­ci­sion at the time. I was re­ally lucky that straight out of that I landed the role on The Vow, which I got from an au­di­tion in Australia. So I came to Amer­ica with work (al­ready set up).

Was it strange to be an un­known in LA? I was young and quite in­tim­i­dated by the as­pect of be­ing well known in Australia at the time, I don’t think I han­dled that very well. I found it re­ally over­whelm­ing. It was nice to get out and be in Amer­ica and have no-one know who you are. Now I’m at an age where I feel I can deal with that as­pect of the in­dus­try.

Hol­ly­wood has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a tough town to crack . How dif­fi­cult has it been for you? It hasn’t nec­es­sar­ily for me been a case of hav­ing to find work. The hard thing is the wait­ing. We didn’t know if we were go­ing to do Sirens un­til a year af­ter the pi­lot. You have to deal with the fact that you’re a bit of a pawn. I shot two other pi­lots be­fore Sirens that didn’t get picked up — and that was a blow. That was two years run­ning. You’ve got to have a thick skin.


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