STAR GETS TIP FROM ROBERTA
Actor Hollie Andrew had a battle to portray Roberta Williams her way after a meeting with the ex-mobster’s wife gave her an insight to the character not previously available to outsiders
When Roberta Williams, the ex-wife of slain drug kingpin Carl Williams, met actor Hollie Andrew she asked to be portrayed in a more favourable light in the miniseries Fat Tony & Co.
Andrew met Williams for a coffee two days before filming started on the Channel 9 show.
The pair spent three hours chatting about the past, present and future.
Fat Tony & Co is basically a follow-up to the original Underbelly series about Melbourne’s gangland wars. In that series, Logie winner Kat Stewart portrayed Roberta Williams, but the actor never met the woman she played.
This time around, Williams made time to meet Andrew. She asked to at least be portrayed as a good mother, vowing she had never sworn in the presence of Dhakota, her daughter by Carl (who is again played by Gyton Grantley).
“Kat never got the chance to speak with her, so I was coming at it (this role) from a different angle,” Andrew says.
“She (Williams) wanted to make sure she was represented as the mother she thinks she is ... it was an interesting aspect to focus on.
“From all accounts she is a good mother and the way she talks about her children, she is a survivor.”
Having met Williams, Andrew took her impression of their meeting on to the set of Fat Tony & Co.
That caused some minor problems, because the producers and writers already had an impression of how Williams should be played that did not
SHE WANTED TO MAKE SURE SHE WAS REPRESENTED AS THE MOTHER SHE THINKS SHE IS ... FROM ALL ACCOUNTS SHE IS A GOOD MOTHER
entirely coincide with Andrew’s view.
“It was important for me because I wanted a sense of her (in the show),” Andrew says.
“I definitely had to stand my ground on some things because the writing would come to me and it was a little bit contradictory (after meeting her) from where I was coming from.”
The writers, she says, “were more than able to adapt to us”. Even so, Williams has complained about the way Fat Tony & Co depicts her family life and parenting skills.
According to Andrew, Williams has well and truly moved on from the Carl Williams-era of her life (though Fat Tony & Co probably doesn’t help her cause). Williams also “has a great sense of humour and loves telling a yarn”, Andrew says, and supports an autism charity.
“I got a sense of compassion and that she has grown up a lot from the first time Underbelly screened and the story was told,” Andrew adds.
Fat Tony & Co: Sundays, 8.30pm, Nine, NBN.