IN­SIDE: Seven days of TV viewing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - RE­VENGE, South­ern Cross, Mon­day, 8.30pm DEB­BIE SCHIPP

HER por­trayal of evil, schem­ing bil­lion­aire so­ci­ety queen Vic­to­ria Grayson has earnt Madeleine Stowe a Golden Globe nom­i­na­tion, a sec­ond round of star­dom, and re­sulted US drama Re­venge be­com­ing an in­stant hit both in the US and Australia.

And all be­cause, Stowe ( pic­tured) says, ev­ery­one has a pri­mal ap­petite for re­venge.

That, com­bined with a taste for see­ing the rich and pow­er­ful in­ter­rupt par­ty­ing to get their come­up­pance is the se­cret be­hind the hit se­ries, in which Stowe takes on a char­ac­ter about as far from her real- life per­sona as you can get.

‘‘ Re­venge is a very pri­mal in­stinct in all of us, it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing topic to ex­plore, says Stowe in the wake of Re­venge’s Aus­tralian de­but to more than 2 mil­lion view­ers.

‘‘ In Amer­ica we have the one- per­centers, the peo­ple who con­trol the vast amount of the wealth in this coun­try and since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis a lot of peo­ple out­side that group have been strug­gling.

‘‘ So maybe the ap­peal is two- fold. There’s this de­li­cious bit of es­capism in see­ing how they live, and also see­ing the ul­tra­wealthy have those lives torn askew.

‘‘ I think au­di­ences get sat­is­fac­tion from that, they kind of live out their own re­venge fan­tasies.’’

For Stowe, the char­ac­ter of icy, evil Vic­to­ria was one worth step­ping back into the spot­light for.

The 53- year- old ac­tress launched her ca­reer as a film star in the 1980s and 1990s, star­ring in Short Cuts, Stake­out and with Daniel Day- Lewis in Last of the Mo­hi­cans.

In 1994 she was named one of US Peo­ple mag­a­zine’s 50 Most Beau­ti­ful Peo­ple.

By 1996, Stowe had moved to Texas, and stepped out of the spot­light to con­cen­trate on be­ing a mum to daugh­ter, May.

Her at­ten­tion then shifted to de­vel­op­ing and di­rect­ing a western film, Un­bound Cap­tives, for which Hugh Jack­man has been re­cruited to play the lead role, and Stowe hopes to start shoot­ing in 2013.

By last year the frus­tra­tions and de­lays of get­ting the movie into pro­duc­tion had whet her ap­petite to take on an­other act­ing role. Vic­to­ria Grayson is the re­sult. ‘‘ I had lit­er­ally taken my­self off the mar­ket for sev­eral years. My agent would call with roles and I’d say ‘ can’t do it, I have to fo­cus on the movie’,’’ she says.

‘‘ Then this op­por­tu­nity came up, and I knew I wanted it.’’

She con­cedes it’s been one heck of a re- en­try into the lime­light.

‘‘ I al­ways felt very dis­tant from that spot­light, there was a fil­ter be­tween that and my real self. I imag­ine I’ll dis­ap­pear again at a cer­tain point in time, and that works for me,’’ she says.

While Vic­to­ria Grayson rev­els in wealth and stag­ing mas­sive func­tions for char­ity, Stowe her­self gets to the fore­front of char­ity work and has done hands- on work in Haiti for sev­eral years. She was con­scious tak­ing on the role of Grayson be­cause the con­flict be­tween the char­ac­ter and her real self.

‘‘ I do have a re­ac­tion to the amount of money spent on clothes for this char­ac­ter, ev­ery sin­gle day I am mind­ful of it,’’ she says.

‘‘ When I’m in Haiti deal­ing with peo­ple on the ground on a day- to- day ba­sis, yes it is dis­tress­ing. At the same time this show has al­lowed me to draw at­ten­tion to peo­ple who re­ally need it.’’

The ac­tress rev­els in the depths of her char­ac­ter. ‘‘ Ini­tially all you see is this heinous per­son, full of hate then you start to un­der­stand her,’’ she says.

‘‘ She is also pas­sion­ate and quite vul­ner­a­ble, and she has re­deem­ing fea­tures.’’

‘‘ Her love for her son is the great­est love of her life. She loves her daugh­ter too; she just doesn’t know how to ex­press it.

‘‘ And she knows there is some­thing ter­ri­bly wrong with Emily [ the woman out for re­venge in Re­venge, played by Emily Vancamp].

‘‘ She is able to recog­nise it be­cause she sees that in her­self. They are two sides of the same coin.’’ But back to that pri­mal de­sire for re­venge. ‘‘ We’ve all got it, some­where,’’ Stowe laughs.

And she rel­ishes be­ing able to in­dulge that as Grayson.

‘‘ Oh God, yes. . . . these char­ac­ters in­trigue me. It’s just a fun, grip­ping ride.’’

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