Sis­ter­hood of the sand

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - HOLLY BYRNES

IT’S hard to imag­ine any­one in­tim­i­dat­ing Claudia Kar­van.

So it says ev­ery­thing about the tal­ent of the young cast in Pu­berty Blues for the Lo­gie and AFI- win­ning ac­tor to ad­mit her on- screen daugh­ter, Ashleigh Cum­mings, and co- star Brenna Hard­ing have kept her ‘‘ on her game’’.

Play­ing in­sep­a­ra­ble friends Deb­bie Vick­ers and Sue Knight ( re­spec­tively), the young ac­tors are cen­tral to the iconic com­ing- of- age story and most times steal the show from their more ex­pe­ri­enced cast­mates.

Bring­ing to life their char­ac­ters’ naivety, Cum­mings says play­ing such free spir­its was a chal­lenge they both em­braced.

‘‘ We both have the same pas­sion and op­ti­mism in life,’’ the 19- year- old says.

‘‘ It was re­ally won­der­ful to play with. Deb­bie is also quite kid­dish, loose- limbed and like a lit­tle Bambi in the world.

‘‘ It was just fun to be silly and have no bound­aries.’’

‘‘ It wasn’t like work­ing at all,’’ Hard­ing, 16, says.

Cum­mings adds: ‘‘ I love her to bits.’’

Girli­ness aside, the wise heads on young shoul­ders have im­bued their per­for­mances with in­tel­li­gence and sen­si­tiv­ity.

‘‘ For girls, specif­i­cally,’’ Cum­mings says, ‘‘ it’s a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to look at the world in ret­ro­spect and see how far we’ve pro­gressed as a gen­der. To be grate­ful for the women who pushed through those bound­aries and rev­o­lu­tionised what we know to­day, so we don’t take it for granted’’.

A sis­ter­hood on set also served to en­cour­age the fe­male cast, with Kar­van an in­spi­ra­tion. ‘‘ She’s an in­cred­i­ble ac­tor and an amaz­ing woman,’’ Cum­mings says. ‘‘ Very in­tel­li­gent and gen­er­ous and hon­est. I want to be her when I grow up.’’

The ad­mi­ra­tion was mu­tual, with Kar­van prais­ing Cum­mings’ un­usual life ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘ She’s had an in­ter­est­ing child­hood, grew up in Saudi Ara­bia, so she’s not a cos­seted Aus­tralian subur­ban teenager, and had that life ex­pe­ri­ence un­der her belt, which she brings to this role,’’ Kar­van says.

Hard­ing says such a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment made them all aware they were ‘‘ cre­at­ing

some­thing spe­cial’’.

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