Birds of a feather
Shooting her own show was a chance for Rebecca Gibney to finally work with Stephen Peacocke, writes Debbie Schipp
It’s a steamy afternoon in Port Douglas, and Rebecca Gibney saunters across a hospital car park — workboots covered in dust, flannelette shirt and trucker cap slightly askew, hair a touch ratty — towards an equally dusty car.
As the cameras roll, the tiny frame of Geraldine Hakewill emerges from the hospital, supporting a stumbling Steve Peacocke in a hospital gown.
“Move, move, move!” Gibney yells from her place behind the wheel.
It matters not if the words are part of the script, or urgent suggestions on how to play the scene. Because this is the set of Wanted. And Gibney, 51, is in the driver’s seat.
Gibney vowed when she wrapped Packed to the Rafters that if she didn’t land new TV roles, she’d create her own.
Co-producing and acting roles followed in The Killing Field and its spin-off crime drama series Winter.
But Wanted is Gibney’s new baby.
She co-created it, executiveproduced it and stars in it.
That the Thelma and Louisestyle road trip series has attracted big Australian acting names including former Home and Away star Peacocke, and former Rafters star turned movie sensation Ryan Corr, is testament to Gibney’s hardearned reputation.
“Julie Rafter could only have imagined this,” Gibney grins between scenes. She shrugs apologetically: “If I stink a bit … everyone on set does about this time of day, so we’re used to it.”
Beneath the sheen of sweat, Gibney is relaxed and serene — a demeanour seemingly at odds with the pace of Wanted, which was filmed in 60 locations over 10 frantic weeks.
“If you’re shooting a road trip series, you have to do the road trip,” she says.
“And we all get excited and say ‘yay’ but logistically (laughs ruefully) it’s been very ... challenging.”
Wanted is Gibney’s “baby”, and it seems the cast and crew are proof that it takes a village to raise a child.
When it came time to cast, there was no shortage of actors interested in the script — among them Peacocke, who despite being a Channel 7 stablemate with Gibney for years during his time on Home and Away and hers on Rafters, had never worked with her.
Overseas for much of last year filming two movies, Peacocke was enticed by the character of ambitious young detective Josh Levine, and the chance to work with Gibney.
“You can sometimes gauge how good a series is by the script they give you for the audition piece. And I auditioned for this when I was overseas and it sounded cool,” Peacocke says.
“I was really keen because Rebecca always attaches herself to really good things.
“I had never worked with Bec before — I’d passed her in the hallways of Channel 7 — but I’m a bit of an outsider in this industry when it comes to most things, and Bec was one of the only people that always remembered my name.”
Peacocke relished being back on an Australian set.
“It’s a no d---heads policy here. On set, every time you turn around there’s someone who is good to have a yarn to.”
Gibney was won over anew by Peacocke’s unassuming charm and total lack of ego.
“I said to Steve the other day: ‘There has to be something wrong with you — do you not brush your teeth or do you smell or something, because otherwise you are just too perfect’,” she laughs.
“I’m like ‘what’s wrong with you?’ … and there isn’t anything.
“You can’t push him into a tantrum — never. He signs every autograph; he takes every photo, he stops and talks to everybody.
“He’s like the Hugh Jackman of television — he is kind and funny and lovely. And then he turns it on and acts.”
“You can sometimes gauge how good a
series is by the script they give you”
STEVE PEACOCKE ON HIS WANTED ROLE
WANTED, CHANNEL 7, TUESDAY, 9PM
Rebecca Gibney enticed Steve Peacocke back to Australia to join her in Wanted (below).