The glossy pages of his­tory

Two strong women are in a bat­tle for mag­a­zine supremacy, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MONDAY EXTRA -

RACHEL Grif­fiths is as cool as the flip­side of your pil­low. On the set of new ABC drama Pa­per Giants: Mag­a­zine Wars, in which she plays New Idea ed­i­tor Dul­cie Bol­ing, Grif­fiths has her emo­tions firmly in check as she con­fronts Mandy McEl­hinny, who as Bol­ing’s deputy Nene King is hurl­ing with­er­ing in­sults at one of the mag­a­zine’s jour­nal­ists.

This news­room scene is piv­otal in Mag­a­zine Wars as it played a part in dis­en­chanted King storm­ing out of New Idea to head up arch ri­val glossy Woman’s Day.

The se­quel to Pa­per Giants: The Birth of Cleo will ex­plore the mag­a­zines’ bit­ter fight for read­er­ship be­tween 1987-97. It was a cheque­book jour­nal­ism-driven war for ex­clu­sive sto­ries about the Royal Fam­ily and in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal celebri­ties.

Grif­fiths has im­mersed her­self com­pletely in the role of Bol­ing – renowned as a shrewd busi­ness­woman who dur­ing her ten­ure as ed­i­tor pro­jected calm­ness un­der pres­sure. King, mean­while, was her polar op­po­site – fa­mous for her overt dis­plays of emo­tion.

‘‘I knew very lit­tle about Dul­cie and that is partly what drew me to the project,’’ says Grif­fiths on a break from film­ing in the chic Mel­bourne sub­urb of Prahran.

‘‘When I was much younger I had no idea of the courage these women had and what trail­blaz­ers they were in break­ing through the ceil­ing. To make it, they had to be twice as good (as men), twice as hard and be great man­agers.

‘‘I’ve been re­ally ret­i­cent to meet peo­ple I’ve played. I didn’t want to meet Hi­lary Du Pre ( Hi­lary and Jackie) and made a point not to meet Chris­tine As­sange (mother of Ju­lian, who she plays in forth­com­ing Chan­nel 10 tele­movie Un­der­ground). But I met Dul­cie be­cause I wanted to get closer to de­con­struct­ing these very strong im­ages of her from TV com­mer­cials. She’s very gen­er­ous, we had a lovely, long and lux­u­ri­ous lunch that she’d thrown to­gether. I wanted to get to the real per­sonal stuff, the nitty gritty of what it was like to be her through her ca­reer path.’’

Com­ing in 2013, ABC1.

Mandy McEl­hin­ney and Rachel Grif­fiths.

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