Birds of a feather

Shoot­ing her own show was a chance for Re­becca Gibney to fi­nally work with Stephen Pea­cocke, writes Deb­bie Schipp

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

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).

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