Time to shine is now
Redfern Now star Deborah Mailman talks with Debbie Schipp about the highs of what has proved to be a busy two years for the silver Logie winner
THERE were few dry eyes at the Logies earlier this year when Deborah Mailman, poised in her moment of triumph, promptly dissolved into tears.
Accepting her silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actress for her portrayal of indigenous activist Bonita Mabo in the 2012 telemovie of the same name, Mailman stood on stage alongside the woman she had portrayed.
“It was a gift for me to meet this woman,” a teary Mailman said, as the crowd rose as one in a standing ovation.
“It was just all perfect, and such a relief in some respects,” Mailman said, calling it her “best memory this year”.
“I always get a bit anxious leading up to those events like, ‘ Am I going to be on the worst- dressed list this year?’. It actually didn’t enter my head I’d win.”
The award was the culmination of a solid two years of work for Mailman, in which she was also part of Aussie big- screen success
The Sapphires while maintaining her popular role of Cherie in Offspring, as well as starring in the first season of acclaimed drama Redfern Now.
Accolades aren’t what drive Mailman – her motivation comes from a passion for her family and work. She has an irrepressible spark, a mischievous sense of humour and an infectious laugh that often veers into a delightful cackle.
Since Logies night, Mailman has slowed down a little to take some time to smell the roses.
“It’s been quiet and I’m loving it,” Mailman said from her Wollongong home.
“I had a crazy couple of years work- wise, and I’ve been very conscious to not kill myself with being too busy.
“I’ve reintroduced myself to my hubby and kids. They know me again on a first- name basis, and they’re still happy to have me around.
“Right now, I’m in a place where I’m talking about the work that happened a little while ago and I’m very proud of the work I’ve been involved in.
“It’s not so much sitting back and collecting accolades, it’s more counting the grey hairs.”
However, Mailman hasn’t been totally idle in the acting stakes.
She has found time to shoot a role in the second series of Redfern Now, which also came up trumps at the Logies when it was awarded Most Outstanding Drama.
The show returns for its second series this week, with Mailman reprising her role of Lorraine in the hard- hitting first episode.
“We are all so glad to see it back,” Mailman said. “It was obvious as soon as we got the script for the episode I’m involved in – The Heart Is – that the writers, producers and directors are continuing with that great ballsy and gutsy writing that was there in the first season.
“It’s the idea that the first series started off with a random occurrence, so an action sets off a chain reaction of circumstance and repercussions, so we begin with an event that is quite tragic.”
Redfern Now launched last year as the first drama series written, directed and produced by indigenous Australians.
The ultimate triumph is it transcends being pigeon- holed as “good indigenous drama”.
“It’s not good indigenous drama. It’s just bloody good drama,” Mailman said.
Where The Heart Is stays true to that, with Mailman saying her character is but a sideshow to brilliant performances from leads Noni Hazelhurst and Kirk Page.
“You see them stifled by grief and it’s about how they get through that and find some sense of forgiveness and heart when they are all emotionally suffocated,” she said. “And in the middle of all this is a child custody battle, which is an ugly battle of wills between their characters.
“Noni Hazelhurst is just a ball- tearer, she just rips it through the roof in this episode.
“It’s great to be on the sidelines watching how she works.”
Mailman counts herself as lucky to be reprising her character Lorraine, “whose job here is to step in and support one of her best friends, and because of that she doesn’t hold back on pointing out a few home truths”.
“She can be a force to be reckoned with,” Mailman said of Lorraine’s “honest, no bulls--- style”.
And is that a character trait shared by both Lorraine and Mailman?
“I don’t bulls---,” Mailman said. “But I can smell it a mile off.”
ABC1, Thursday, 8.30pm