The glossy pages of history
Two strong women are in a battle for magazine supremacy, writes
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.