ABC3’s new drama was the catalyst for a Secret Life of Us reunion.
WHEN Sibylla Budd arrived at the first table reading for drama Tomorrow When the
War Began, she was greeted by some familiar faces. Her former The Secret
Life of Us co-stars, Deborah Mailman and Spencer McLaren, were sitting in front of the studio waiting for her. It was the first time the trio had worked together since the iconic noughties drama wrapped in 2004.
“It was so lovely, just like old times – nothing had changed,” Budd says. “Deb and I shared a dressing room together on Tomorrow When
the War Began and that was just like old times as well. We just nattered the whole time. I guess the conversation has changed in the past 12 years – it’s more about motherhood now, back in the day it was about boys.” Tomorrow When the War
Began is a six-part drama based on the classic series of John Marsden books.
The young-adult novels detail the invasion and occupation of Australia by a foreign power, centring on a group of teens led by Ellie Linton who wage a guerrilla war against their attackers.
But unlike the books and the 2010 film, which starred Caitlin Stasey and Lincoln Lewis, this adaptation also covers what the parents of the teens at the centre of the action got up to.
And that’s where Budd, McLaren and Mailman (who plays Kath Mackenzie, mum to Madeleine Madden’s Corrie) come in.
“They’ve gone to a new place with this series but it’s still very true to the whole thing,” McLaren says.
“You get to see … things that are happening elsewhere, not just with Ellie (Molly Daniels) and the gang.”
McLaren and Budd play the parents of two teens, including Fi (Madeleine Clunies-Ross), who is part of Ellie’s gang. And while their pre-existing relationship made it easy to slip into the roles, for Budd it was also a pleasure to play a mum on-screen.
“I have two sons so it was nice to play at having a daughter for a while,” she laughs.
“I don’t know if it’s the time in my life, being a parent, that these types of stories talk to me more. What it would be like to lose them, to be separated from them, what you do as a parent to try to help your child.”
But while the main cast may all be young in years, Budd and McLaren say they definitely didn’t need any mothering on the set.
“All of them had their heads really well screwed on,” McLaren says.
“They were very aware of what was going on and very appreciative of the experience.”