The first question most people ask Emma Hamilton is what country she’s from.
After living in Britain for a decade and landing acting roles that see her speak in all manner of accents, she sounds a bit like a “mongrel” these days.
So when the Australian landed a role in Channel 9’s new crime thriller Hyde & Seek, she was excited to embrace our very distinct drawl.
“But then I found out my character Claire is originally a Kiwi,” Hamilton laughs.
It wasn’t the only challenge she faced while stepping into the role of the enigmatic police officer.
I almost didn’t recognise you as a blonde after your memorable role playing Princess Mary last year. Yes, I know. It was nice to be blonde again. Right after Mary I went back to the UK to film bits and pieces for Mr Selfridge. Then I came back again for this project. It’s been a busy couple of years. I’ve been able to come home to work, which has meant everything to me.
How long have you lived in the UK? It’s been more than 10 years now. That wasn’t the plan — it just happened. I went to drama school there and then signed with an agent. I got work straight away. It’s where I’ve done the majority of my work. It was only through Last Cab To Darwin that I got to come and work here for the very first time.
Didn’t you play a Brit in that movie though? Yes! It’s hilarious. Until Mary, I’d never acted in my native accent before. So, just once, which was incredible. I’ve only ever done English or American. You’ve got a mix of everything going on there. It must confuse people. I’ve deliberately kept my mongrel accent. I like it. But I’ve had to do a lot of work to get Claire’s right because mine fluctuates. She has a very particular past and her accent reflects that — it denotes a colourful past, perhaps in international waters.
Without giving away too much, this series is about an horrific murder that exposes a criminal underbelly. What’s it been like to film? It’s very different and it’s been challenging for me in some ways. I’ve had to learn new skills. For instance, I’ve never worked with a firearm before. It’s a little scary — it’s an actual gun. And playing the role of Claire has been interesting. It’s a new experience. Claire is a very intelligent and self-determined woman. She’s confident. She’s a bit ruthless and very driven towards achieving justice. I’ve loved this job.
HYDE & SEEK, CHANNEL 9, MONDAY, 8.45PM
Emma Hamilton is happy to be back home; (above) with Ryan O’Kane in Mary, The Making Of A Princess.