Mccormack locks away the past to become Bea
ACTRESS Danielle McCormack says she had to break up with some of her most cherished childhood memories to play hardened crim Bea Smith in the new pay-TV series Wentworth. Wentworth has been tagged as a ‘‘reimagining’’ of the 1980s cult television hit Prisoner and the first of 10 episodes air on SoHo channel on Wednesday. Most of the popular Prisoner inmates, including Bea Smith, return in Wentworth and while the names may be familiar with viewers of the former hit series, the storylines and characters differ greatly. It’s why McCormack had to distance herself from growing up as a fan of Prisoner in New Zealand when she accepted the role of Smith. She’s also refused to watch episodes of Prisoner in the leadup to, or after, being handed the script to Wentworth. ‘‘I realised it was kind of counter productive to even try and watch the old stuff because it bears no relationship to what we are making now,’’ McCormack says. ‘‘The next level was to go through an amicable divorce with my thoughts and feelings about Bea Smith and start building her from the ground up again with healthy regards to Prisoner. ‘‘There was absolutely no doubt that I should play Bea differently.’’ McCormack says there may be a backlash from die-hard fans of Prisoner who have trouble relating to the characters bearing the same name in Wentworth. For instance, indigenous actress Shareena Clanton portrays inmate Doreen Anderson, originally played by Colette Mann. However, McCormack said the storylines were compelling and once viewers acquainted themselves with Wentworth, they’ll be sold on the series and Prisoner will be a fading, but pleasant memory. ‘‘Some people are going to find it difficult to accept where this show sits,’’ she says.
‘‘They will scrutinise the first program and find parts of the series which don’t measure up to their expectations . I also know there will be a very strong feelings for Wentworth characters for those who never knew these characters ever existed before.’’
Wentworth: Wednesday, 8.30pm, Soho.
Danielle McCormack, Kris McQuade, Nicole Da Silva, Aaron Jeffery