“I went too far ”
The lines of reality blurred for Marta Dusseldorp as her husband ‘died’ on A Place To Call Home
FOR a moment, in the midst of filming an emotionallycharged scene of A Place
To Call Home, actor Marta Dusseldorp admits she lost her grip on reality and “took things too far”.
Merely talking about it is enough to bring the star to tears, even several months later. Such is the heavy weight of the plot line and her deep investment in her character, Sarah.
Adding to the mental juggling act is the fact that her real-life husband, Ben Winspear, plays her onscreen one, Rene.
Fans of the hit Foxtel period drama were left reeling when Rene suddenly died while recovering from brain surgery.
It was while making that powerful episode that the line between fact and fiction became temporarily blurred for Dusseldorp.
“I did one take where I thought it crossed over (into reality) and I went too far,” she recalls
“I just really grieved, overly so, personally, I guess. I took (the performance) too far. There were extras around me on set who were quite confused and concerned.”
They didn’t realise that the scripted couple was played by an actual one, Dusseldorp explains. “I had to tell them that he’s my husband in real life and that I’d just gotten a bit upset. But then they were even more worried and it was like, it’s OK – it’s just pretend!”
Ordinarily, the seasoned performer relies on carefully-honed techniques to keep things in check, but she admits they sometimes go out the window.
“You have to be careful … you have to have barriers. But when you’re working really long weeks and in the midst of it, it can be difficult to maintain the separation.
“I even sometimes dream I’m in a scene, with lighting rigs around me and a microphone on.”
Even now, while talking about Rene – with whom Sarah only recently reunited after years of believing he had died in the war – Dusseldorp unconsciously slips back into her character’s shoes.
“Losing him twice was really hard,” she says, before correcting herself. “Sorry, I didn’t lose him – she did.”
She describes working with Winspear as a “special” experience that’s without doubt one of the highlights of her long career.
But killing off Rene was good for the show and its continuing story – however difficult it might be for her character and loyal fans of the couple.
“The robustness of season three gave us the opportunity to go further, to go much deeper with the characters, and that was thoroughly rewarding,” Dusseldorp says.
In that vein, the cliffhanger season finale, which airs tonight, doesn’t disappoint. The winds of change blow through Ash Park and there are more than a few lives on the line.
“The (writers and producers) always had in mind that there was another season, given Foxtel committed to making two, and that’s different to what we’ve ever done because we had certainty.”
A PLACE TO CALL HOME SEASON FINALE
SUNDAY, 8.30PM, SOHO