Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

AS some­one who grew up in a small town, Emma Leonard says the fic­tional town of Weld in 800 Words feels just like home.

Leonard plays school­teacher Tracy in Seven’s latest fam­ily drama. De­spite Tracy be­ing an Aussie trans­plant, she’s a huge part of the fab­ric of the lo­cal com­mu­nity – and for Leonard, the feel­ing of ev­ery­one know­ing ev­ery­one’s busi­ness is a fa­mil­iar one

“I grew up in Mit­tagong in the South­ern High­lands (of NSW),” she ex­plains. “You would bump into peo­ple you knew in the streets and there was al­most a sense of celebrity cul­ture in the town … Ev­ery­one talks about each other. Ev­ery­body is in each other’s busi­ness.

“My mum still talks to me about peo­ple from school or peo­ple from town. It’s lovely but it’s also pretty funny.”

Also fa­mil­iar to Leonard is the sense of com­mu­nity the Weld lo­cals feel, which is a huge part of the 800 Words fab­ric both on and off screen.

The cast and crew of the trans-Tas­man drama – which stars Erik Thom­son as re­cent wi­d­ower and new­comer to Weld, Ge­orge Turner – spent three months in New Zealand film­ing the show. Dur­ing their time on lo­ca­tion, the “women of Weld” formed strong friend­ships.

From hold­ing “crafter­noons” on set to hang­ing out at each other’s houses off set, Leonard says the sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment made shoot­ing 800 Words a dream gig.

“The crew and cast and ev­ery­body was re­ally pos­i­tive and sup­port­ive and lovely,” she says.

The for­mer Home and Away ac­tress is still pinch­ing her­self over land­ing the plum gig.

“The tone of the com­edy and the drama of it was re­ally ap­peal­ing to me,” she said. “Add the op­por­tu­nity to live in New Zealand, plus hav­ing some­one like Erik Thom­son at­tached … I loved it straight away.”



With Tif­fany Dunk

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