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

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

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

OUT­STAND­ING: Red­fern Now star Deb­o­rah Mail­man.

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