Lisa Mccune reveals why she decided to keep her family life private.
You scored your first big role in 1994, playing Maggie Doyle in Blue Heelers. Do people on the street still call you Maggie? Interestingly, not so much anymore. Sea Patrol and doing the odd musical helped wear Maggie down a little. Not that I want to take anything away from that, because it’s been the springboard for me, but having those other things helped give me longevity. After Maggie was killed off in 2000, you played Maria in The Sound Of Music. Did you worry you’d pitted yourself against Julie Andrews? No, because I was smart enough to know that when you do musicals onstage, it’s really different to a movie. And it’s the producer’s and director’s job to know who might fit the role, and also how they can make it their own. It was a really big risk stepping out of Blue Heelers at the height of its popularity, and it could have been a disastrous move. Fortunately, it was a good one to jump on and it showed me in a very different light. Since then, you’ve had starring roles in TV, film and stage, in both musicals and plays – which medium do you prefer? They’re all so different. In musicals or stage plays, you’re there eight times a week with the same people, whereas in TV and film you never do the same thing twice. I can’t say I prefer one, but a live audience is a really important tool for an actor because they educate you – they surprise and teach you; you don’t get that reaction on television. Have you ever suffered from a bout of stage fright? I had a great chat to Marina Prior one day. We were about to do Guys And Dolls together and I said, “I’m so nervous I feel sick,” and she said, “You’re not nervous, you’re just really excited.” I thought, “Yes, she’s right.” It’s like a runner before a race; your adrenaline pumps. Did you ever consider going to America to have a crack there? After my third baby was born, I went for three days and had a bit of a look around LA. I thought: “Do I want to come over here with three kids?” I could have been a hit here and not there – I don’t know. There’s no set path as an actor. I love Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill and I’m kind of jealous of their careers. They do really interesting work – some of it’s quite high-profile, but their lives haven’t been swept upside down and scrutinised. You’ve managed to maintain your own privacy in the past few years, refusing to comment on your relationship status. What do you make of actors who overshare via social media? I’m starting to see people getting work because of the number of Instagram followers they have, so I can understand the power in that. For me personally, I have always been open and happy to talk about my babies when they were born and my marriage, and then I hit a speed bump.
“It was a really big risk stepping out of Blue Heelers at the height of its popularity”
I went, “All of a sudden, this is not coming out in a positive way,” and I rethought it. I was getting advice saying, “Make statements,” [about her relationship with her The King And I co-star Teddy Tahu Rhodes] and I just thought, “No, I don’t need to, because it’s my life.” And that’s when I look to those careers of people that I aspire to. With an actor, it’s hard to understand what makes them tick. That’s what is so thrilling about Sam Neill and Hugo Weaving. Every time I see them do something, I believe them because I don’t know who they slept with last night, and I really like that [laughs]. I hate knowing that [actors] go to the gym – I just love getting lost in their performance. You had to wear a corset when you played Anna in The King And I, and one of the dresses weighed 12kg. How did you manage to sing and move around? Getting that dress to move required a lot on the technical side; it becomes a problem for the performer and a whole swag of people. It’s amazing, though, when you put an audience in a room – the problems are solved pretty damn quickly [laughs]. Your new show, ABC TV’S The Warriors, focuses on star Indigenous players in the AFL. What is your footy knowledge like? Funnily enough, for the past 20 years that I’ve lived in Melbourne, which is the epicentre of football, I was working in TV, and then I’ve had a family, so footy kind of [passed me by]. But because I grew up in WA, my footy knowledge is pretty sound. In The Warriors you play the team’s communications manager. Did it give you a new respect for people whose job it is to face the public when something goes awry? My god, you become privy to that in this industry, so you know what goes on behind the scenes sometimes; that was fun to explore. When you’ve got young men earning a lot of money, I can see where it all goes haywire, and my character is like a den mother to them. She loves those boys and really looks out for them. Is there a dream role you still want to tackle? I would love to do a Bell Shakespeare play before I die. I haven’t done that. It would be great to work with a bunch of actors, walk into the room and be really green – I love being out of my depth.
``I was happy to talk about my marriage and then i hit a speed bump´´