‘ It’s my ‘ life to live

Don’t ask The Di­vorce’s Lisa McCune about her per­sonal af­fairs

Herald Sun - Switched On - - FRONT PAGE -

Four-time Gold Lo­gie win­ner Lisa McCune has a few words of ad­vice for young ac­tors.

“If I knew some­one who was just start­ing out I’d say ‘just talk about your work, you don’t have to talk about any­thing else — that’s the smart way to go’,” she says dur­ing a break in film­ing on the Wer­ribee Man­sion set of ABC mu­si­cal soap opera The Di­vorce.

One of Aus­tralia’s favourite ac­tors since 1991 when she de­buted as the “Coles check-out chick”, she won most pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity four times play­ing Mag­gie Doyle in Blue Heel­ers from 1993, had a long-run­ning role in Sea Pa­trol and has ap­peared in a se­ries of suc­cess­ful stage mu­si­cals.

The 44-year-old’s re­luc­tance to dis­cuss her pri­vate life is not sur­pris­ing.

Pub­lic in­ter­est in­creased in 2012 when pic­tures emerged of her kiss­ing and cud­dling South Pa­cific co-star Teddy Tahu Rhodes, de­spite her long mar­riage to Tim Dis­ney with whom she has three chil­dren — Archer, Oliver and Remy.

The fas­ci­na­tion seems fu­elled by the dis­par­ity be­tween the gos­sipy re­ports and her girl­next-door im­age.

“I to­tally feel like I’m a grown up and that it’s my life to live and I cer­tainly won’t be held at all (to the me­dia’s por­trayal),” she says.

“The me­dia don’t rep­re­sent you in the right way some­times. I think it’s very rare when you read an ar­ti­cle where the per­son you are comes across.”

She says this in a mat­ter-of­fact way, rather than as a com­plaint, and in per­son she’s warm and friendly — happy to laugh about a Women’s Weekly ar­ti­cle on the af­fair quot­ing ad guru Dee Madigan say­ing it “makes her much edgier and much more in­ter­est­ing … this will make her one of Aus­tralia’s most bank­able stars”.

“Hys­ter­i­cal,” she says. “But I’m really edgy, peo­ple just don’t know me.

“I’m al­ways cast as the sweet girl, but I’m so edgy, I just can’t tell you. I quite of­ten say to peo­ple I have a really in­de­pen­dent, off-main­stream idea about things, but I’ve al­ways been cast in main­stream, com­mer­cial things be­cause it’s where I’ve al­ways just fit in.”

She hopes the pub­lic sees her as “an ac­ces­si­ble hu­man be­ing”.

“I hope that peo­ple like what I do be­cause I’m ac­tu­ally not that dif­fer­ent to ev­ery­body else,” McCune says.

“I leave my work­place, I catch the train, I take my kids to school, my car breaks down, all those things hap­pen to me.

“I’m so com­pletely nor­mal, and if that’s what’s at­trac­tive about my per­sona (so be it).”

In The Di­vorce, McCune plays Louise the child­less, un­lucky-in-love sis­ter of Iris (Ma­rina Prior), who in turn is the soon-to-be-ex-wife of Jed (John O’May).

The four-part se­ries cov­ers the events of a sin­gle night as the couple throws a lav­ish party to cel­e­brate their im­pend­ing di­vorce.

“It’s a com­plex ma­trix of a sto­ry­line be­cause it’s (writ­ten by play­wright) Joanna Mur­raySmith,” says McCune.

“(Louise) has just fallen in love with her sis­ter’s hus­band and there are some com­pli­ca­tions there and that all starts to bub­ble away be­neath the sur­face as the di­vorce party starts.”

When we chat she’s in the mid­dle of a quick 18-day shoot at Wer­ribee Man­sion, but the cast (which in­cludes pop star Kate Miller-Hei­dke and Hugh Sheri­dan) had re­hearsed for a few weeks and recorded their songs in a stu­dio.

De­spite be­ing de­vel­oped as an opera, McCune says the TV se­ries is nei­ther high brow nor in­ac­ces­si­ble. “Purists would go: they’re not singing opera, be­cause we’re not,” she says.

“This is a com­edy version and noth­ing to take too se­ri­ously — we’re not opera singers. Ma­rina and Kate are prob­a­bly the clos­est thing to opera singers in the cast.

“I like the fact some­thing new is be­ing done, I like the fact we’re try­ing some­thing.”

The Di­vorce is McCune’s first ma­jor foray into tele­vi­sion since Reef Doc­tors in 2013, which was caught in the Chan­nel Ten curse of the time, shunted around the sched­ule be­fore be­ing can­celled.

“South Pa­cific came up and it was so in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful and then the op­por­tu­nity came up af­ter that to do The King and I — and they’re (roles that are) not go­ing to hap­pen for me again in my per­form­ing life­time (be­cause of my age) so I kind of had to do them,” she ex­plains.

“I spoke to my agent and said ‘I can’t say no be­cause it’s ac­tu­ally not go­ing to hap­pen for me again and if I don’t do any TV that doesn’t mat­ter’. And they ended up be­ing, I think, the high­est-sell­ing shows at the Opera House — and that’s awesome.”

I’m al­ways cast as the sweet girl, but I’m so edgy, I just can’t tell you

LISA McCUNE

THE DI­VORCE, ABC, MON­DAY TO THURS­DAY, 9.30PM

Lisa McCune

says the glam­our of show­busi­ness dis­guises how nor­mal she is.

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