Writing her DESTINY
Rebecca Gibney may be on the run in Wanted, but now she sets the rules, she tells COLIN VICKERY
Rebecca Gibney created Wanted’s mum-on-the-run Lola Buckley she didn’t have to look very far for inspiration.
The 52-year-old star simply had to gaze in the mirror and channel her troubled teenage years to create a character who is fiercely independent but has a secret past.
Like Gibney, Buckley has been hurt by men, with the latter finding solace in her friendship with accountant Chelsea Babbage (Geraldine Hakewill) as they are chased by crooked businessman Kel Morrison (Anthony Phelan).
Gibney grew up in an abusive household, with her father Austin an alcoholic who regularly beat her mother Shirley. The turmoil forced Gibney to drop out of school at 15.
At 17, Gibney nursed her father, who had lost a leg to polycythemia (a blood cancer), until his death.
“Lola is me when I was a 14-year-old,” Gibney says.
“I was a rebel. I was the girl who never wore makeup. I was the tomboy. I was always getting around in baggy jumpers. I hated having breasts. I didn’t want to become a woman. I was very much a sporty kind of masculine girl.”
The Gold Logie winner believes she acted this way “because when I was born I knew that my dad wanted another boy. He already had three girls and two boys and I was meant to be a boy … so I think I was a bit of a disappointment to him. [So] I tried to be a boy,” she says.
“It was my mum, who when I was about 15 said, ‘You really need to get some modelling lessons or something’.”
From that tomboy came Lola, Gibney says, adding “I still have her in me.”
The first season of Wanted saw Lola and Chelsea being chased by crooked cop Ray Stanton (Nicholas Bell) and crime boss Morrison after the pair witnessed a murder.
Morrison wants a key tag the women unwittingly possess and now he has kidnapped Lola’s son David (Charles Cottier) in Thailand to force Lola to give it back.
Detective Charles Levine (Stephen Peacocke) is also on the hunt for the women but his instincts tell him Lola and Chelsea are innocents caught in a bad situation.
“David’s kidnapping brings out Lola’s fierce side,” Gibney says. “Season one was about getting away from the bad guys. Season two is about bringing it to them because they [villains] do something that is unforgivable.
“Lola decides, ‘I’m not going to let them get away with that’ and decides to hunt them down. She becomes a driving force.
“Don’t mess with her. That is also a bit like me. No one really knows that side of me and Lola is bringing it out.
“I think there is an inner Lola in most women. That is why so many women [viewers] have related to her.
“Just like they related to mum Julie Rafter (her character on Packed to the
Rafters) they relate to Lola – to her secretive side and her ability to just go out there and do it.
“I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, ‘If I was in that car with you two girls on that adventure it would be so awesome’.
“They [female viewers] know they are in danger and on the run but they love the fact it is an adventure and that it is two women who aren’t looking for boyfriends or husbands.
“These two strong women are in control of their destiny and have never felt more alive even though they are in trouble.
“It is a love affair between two women in a way, without being sexual at all. It is a friendship but it is a love affair. That is what has been so wonderful about this whole show.” Gibney says creating
Wanted with her husband Richard Bell has been a lifechanging experience.
“We work well together,” Gibney reflects. “If anyone from the outside comes in and tries to get in the middle of us we’re both like lions. We have each other’s back fully.
“I’ve also learnt I’m a lot tougher than I thought I was. I’m a lot more resilient than I was a few years ago. Creatively, I have a lot to offer and I’m willing to back myself on that. I think that is what I have learnt the most.” WANTED MONDAY, 8.40PM, SCT