Swap­ping fame here in Australia for ob­scu­rity in Hol­ly­wood has given Jes­sica McNamee time to ma­ture ahead of her small-screen re­turn

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY | TV - COLIN VICK­ERY

Hav­ing quit her role on Packed to the Rafters in 2010 for Hol­ly­wood, Jes­sica McNamee has been linked to a num­ber of projects – in­clud­ing a re­make of Ju­dith Krantz’s Scru­ples – that have never come to fruition.

But now she’s fi­nally hit pay­dirt with Sirens, a TV com­edy cen­tred on a group of Chicago paramedics, also star­ring Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels and Kevin Bigley.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on Sirens. It must be a re­lief to be in a show that looks like go­ing the dis­tance …

Ab­so­lutely. It’s been a crazy cou­ple of years over here (in LA). I shot the pi­lot of this in 2012 and it’s only now that we wrapped the sec­ond sea­son. It has been a long process. I’m very lucky to be one of the ones who are work­ing over here. It’s a tough in­dus­try.

Sirens looks like a lot of fun to film …

It’s an ab­so­lute blast be­ing on set with all th­ese guys. It is a bit of a boys’ club so I have to check my­self some­times and re­mind my­self that I’m a lady. I’ve given up putting on heels when I’m sur­rounded by 100 men. I’m go­ing to foot­ball games, bars and drink­ing beer. We’re all re­ally good bud­dies.

How chal­leng­ing has it been mov­ing into the realms of com­edy on Sirens?

I’m a ridicu­lous hu­man be­ing just gen­er­ally, but I’d never re­ally been given the op­por­tu­nity (to be ridicu­lous) on screen. I didn’t know if I was any good at it but I was al­ways at­tracted to it. I’d been a bit of a one-trick pony in Australia.

When you look back, how brave a de­ci­sion was it to quit Rafters for Hol­ly­wood?

It was hard to leave the ac­tors be­cause they were like fam­ily but I never re­gret­ted that de­ci­sion. It was the best de­ci­sion at the time. I was re­ally lucky that straight out of that I landed the role on The Vow, which I got from an au­di­tion in Australia. So I came to Amer­ica with work (al­ready set up).

Was it strange to be an un­known in LA?

I was young and quite in­tim­i­dated by the as­pect of be­ing well known in Australia at the time, I don’t think I han­dled that very well. I found it re­ally over­whelm­ing. It was nice to get out and be in Amer­ica and have no-one know who you were. Now I’m at an age where I feel I can deal with that as­pect.

Hol­ly­wood has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a tough town to crack. How dif­fi­cult has it been for you?

It hasn’t nec­es­sar­ily for me been a case of hav­ing to find work. The hard thing is the wait­ing. We didn’t know if we were go­ing to do Sirens un­til a year af­ter the pi­lot. You have to deal with the fact that you’re a bit of a pawn. I shot two other pi­lots be­fore Sirens that didn’t get picked up – and that was a blow. That was two years run­ning. You’ve got to have a thick skin.

Sirens, ONE, Thurs­day, 8.30pm

Jes­sica McNamee and her Sirens co-stars Kevin Daniels, Michael Mosley and Kevin Bigley.

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