Me and my Guy

Clau­dia Kar­van and Guy Pearce are back in each other’s arms in their lat­est TV se­ries, writes An­drew Fen­ton

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

Clau­dia Kar­van and Guy Pearce’s on­screen part­ner­ship — which has now spanned 27 years, three movies and the new TV se­ries of Jack Ir­ish — got off to a rocky start.

Kar­van was only 17 when she starred op­po­site Pearce in the dis­as­trous biopic Flynn in 1989. She was con­sid­er­ably older by the time they re­filmed it with a new di­rec­tor and new co-stars to please the fi­nanciers, and was 21 by the time the film de­buted at Cannes.

And Kar­van had al­ready made and re­leased a se­cond, much bet­ter, movie with Pearce — 1996’s body swap com­edy Dat­ing The En­emy — be­fore Flynn limped out on video to uni­formly aw­ful re­views.

“I’ve known Guy since he was Er­rol Flynn (and) I was his one true love,” re­calls The Pu­berty Blues and The Time Of Our Lives star. “I think they shot it about three times, with var­i­ous (new) scenes and chang­ing the cast around. I don’t know why, it was a long time ago! And then we did Dat­ing The En­emy to­gether, and we’ve done 33 Post­cards (2011) — so I’ve al­ways loved work­ing with him and I loved this show.”

Now 43, Kar­van is back in Pearce’s em­brace as Jack Ir­ish’s lat­est love in­ter­est, Sarah Long­more, and says the Mel­bourne ac­tor — who went on to fame in Hol­ly­wood with LA Con­fi­den­tial, Me­mento and Iron Man 3 — has re­mained true to his roots.

“I ac­tu­ally don’t think he has changed much,” she says. “He’s very much the same per­son I met all that time ago. He’s got strong an­chors in his home town and he al­ways will.”

Kar­van, who made her on­screen de­but in 1983’s singing dog movie Molly, came to Jack Ir­ish af­ter work­ing on The Bro­ken Shore (2013) — an­other of writer/pro­ducer An­drew Knight’s TV adap­ta­tions of au­thor Peter Tem­ple’s nov­els.

Long­more is loosely based on a char­ac­ter from his White Dog novel — an “in­de­pen­dent, volatile woman” who en­lists Jack’s help when her sis­ter goes miss­ing af­ter be­com­ing in­volved with cult-like church.

Pearce ex­plains it’s some­thing of a bizarre love tri­an­gle, with Marta Dus­sel­dorp’s char­ac­ter, Linda — fed up with Jack’s in­abil­ity to com­mit emo­tion­ally, on the trail of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Manila.

“Even though he does love Linda to death, there’s some­thing more of a sib­ling re­la­tion­ship (about it) whereas I think Claud’s char­ac­ter strikes him as be­ing deeply mov­ing,” Pearce says. “I think it hits Jack in the heart a lit­tle stronger.

“(Clau­dia) was the per­fect choice for this char­ac­ter. I love spend­ing time with her and she’s so ex­pe­ri­enced now: she can just read a scene and go ‘Hang on a sec, this doesn’t work be­cause of this, this and this. And ev­ery­one goes ‘Aw, s---, you’re right!”

Apart from be­com­ing a mother of two, Au­drey and Al­bee, and step mum to part­ner Jeremy Sparks’s daugh­ter Hol­i­day Sidewinder, the big change in Kar­van’s life over the years is that she’s gone from sim­ply star­ring in tele­vi­sion, to cre­at­ing it.

Pro­ducer John Ed­wards gave Kar­van her first di­rect­ing job on The Se­cret Life of Us and brought her in as co-cre­ator for Love My Way. She later cocre­ated and starred in Spir­ited.

As a pro­ducer she has few qualms about tak­ing on some mas­sive chal­lenges — in­clud­ing last year’s bruis­ing en­counter with Aus­tralia’s rich­est woman, Gina Rine­hart, over House of Hancock. The min­ing mag­nate took Kar­van and the other pro­duc­ers to court, forc­ing them to butcher the fi­nale with four min­utes of ed­its im­me­di­ately be­fore broad­cast.

Kar­van ad­mits the le­gal bat­tle was stress­ful, but says: “I guess it was to a de­gree on the cards. I think it was dealt with as well as it could have been. I wouldn’t say I was ‘happy’ (about the cuts) be­cause they were so last minute. But at some point … you can only worry about what you can con­trol and that was (what I could con­trol).”

De­spite be­ing a much-loved ac­tor for three decades — and in the past three years alone she’s starred in Bet­ter Man, The Bro­ken Shore, Pu­berty Blues, The Time of Our Lives and Jack Ir­ish — she has plenty of projects in de­vel­op­ment, be­liev­ing it’s “es­sen­tial that you di­ver­sify if you want to stay em­ployed”.

“I’m on screen a lot,” she says. “I don’t want peo­ple to get too sick of me so it’s nice to find some other strings to my bow.”

“He’s very much the same per­son I met all that

time ago”

CLAU­DIA KAR­VAN ON GUY PEARCE

JACK IR­ISH, ABC, THURS­DAY, 8.30PM

Jack of all trades Clau­dia Kar­van

and (below) with Guy Pearce

in

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