Nina grows up
THIS time it is personal. When Asher Keddie was helping plot the seventh season of Network Ten’s drama favourite Offspring, she turned to her own life for inspiration.
Keddie’s lead character, Nina Proudman, is set to deepen her relationship with crisis consultant Harry Crewe (Alexander England), with the couple moving in together.
It’s not a decision Nina makes lightly, considering its ramifications for Proudman’s young daughter Zoe (Isabella Monaghan).
For Keddie, 43, it’s a familiar scenario, reminiscent of when she first began dating her artist husband, Vincent Fantauzzo, who has a young son, Luca, from a previous relationship.
“There came a point for me [with Fantauzzo] when I thought, ‘I can’t go halfway here, this is actually bootsand-all, otherwise I might as well walk away now, because this little boy [Luca] is falling in love with me and I’m falling in love with him and I’ve got to be very careful here’,” Keddie says.
“Our communication [Keddie and Fantauzzo] at that time was very clear about that and very open. We didn’t pussyfoot around it. We knew the enormity of the effect that it was going to have on Luca if we were to join up and move in together.
“We’ve explored all that territory in this series. It has resonated with me much more than other seasons.”
Keddie says she was also determined Nina would grow up this year.
Last season, Nina’s relationship rollercoaster started with Leo Taylor (Patrick Brammall) and included a steamy one-night stand with Franklin Swan (played by Fantauzzo), a friend of her new half-brother Wil Bowen (T.J. Power).
“It is a terrible thing when you start judging your character … but there came a point last season where I felt like shaking her [Nina] and saying, ‘Come on, get it together, grow up, you are a parent – stop acting like you’re in your 20s because you’re bloody not!’,” Keddie says.
“Nina has a responsibility to make her child feel safe and stable and loved and protected and her behaviour last series, I’m not sure [she did that].
“It was clear to me that if we were to move forward [with a seventh season] Nina had to progress in the maturity stakes. I wanted her to challenge herself to embrace a relationship and stay in it ... stand solid in it.”
So what does Nina see in Harry? “They have so much to learn from each other,” she says. “She, in her playfulness, is able to hack him open a little and loosen him up. He, in turn, is able to offer her the stability to relax and be honest and enjoy being herself rather than trying to hide herself.
“It is very romantic too … they encourage each other to be the best versions of themselves.”
Keddie’s decision to take the leap with Fantauzzo also paid off, with the pair marrying in 2014 and welcoming baby Valentino a year later.
“It was such a big time,” Keddie says. “It was such a big choice as well but it wasn’t one I doubted.
“I learnt that I had the grit to make a choice and stick to it and not let this little boy [Luca] down. I knew when I was making that choice, it would be a forever choice.”
WEDNESDAY, 8.30PM, WIN