Trou­ble in par­adise


The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

TOP OF THE LAKE Sun­day, 8.30pm UKTV

DRESSED in a black beanie, baggy boyfriend jeans, knit­ted boots, a scruffy, pale pink over­sized shirt and not a trace of make-up, Elis­a­beth Moss (pic­tured) en­ters a quiet hall in Queen­stown, New Zealand, ready for her in­ter­view.

Her ca­sual, al­most gang­ster-like clothes are all about keep­ing warm in the chilly con­di­tions rather than fash­ion, and are a far cry from her usual im­mac­u­late at­tire as Peggy Ol­son in the hit ’60s-based ad­ver­tis­ing drama Mad Men.

Upon ar­rival, Moss apol­o­gises for be­ing late. She has just re­turned from a day film­ing scenes in a heli­copter fly­ing high over New Zealand’s south is­lands.

‘‘I’ve never been in a heli­copter be­fore, it was so cool,’’ the ac­tress says ex­cit­edly.

‘‘New Zealand, it’s par­adise. It’s so stun­ning you’re left a lit­tle bit breath­less, you know?’’

Bring­ing the Amer­i­can ac­tress to the South­ern Hemi­sphere is the new UKTV six-part drama, Top Of The Lake, also star­ring Os­car-win­ner Holly Hunter ( The Pi­ano), BAFTA nom­i­nee Peter Mul­lan ( War Horse, Trainspot­ting), AFI win­ner David Wen­ham ( Killing Time, The Lord Of The Rings) and Bal­ibo star Thomas M. Wright.

Cre­ated by Aus­tralian Academy Award-win­ning writer and di­rec­tor Jane Cam­pion ( The Pi­ano, Por­trait Of A Lady) and Bris­bane writer Ger­ard Lee ( All Men Are Liars, Sweetie) the story tells of a lo­cal drug lord’s 12-year-old daugh­ter who dis­cov­ers she’s five months preg­nant be­fore mys­te­ri­ously go­ing miss­ing.

Moss plays Robin Grif­fin, a de­tec­tive who grew up in the area then moved to Aus­tralia, but is back vis­it­ing her mother when she is called in to help with the case.

‘‘There’s a lot of par­al­lels be­tween the search for the girl and the search for her­self,’’ Moss says.

‘‘She’s div­ing into her own past and div­ing into the fic­tional world that we’ve cre­ated with the fam­i­lies in­volved in the case and it be­comes . . . like div­ing down the rab­bit hole where she just starts un­cov­er­ing all the lies and se­crets of this place and the fam­i­lies, and go­ing on this jour­ney to look for this girl but also look for her­self.’’

What is es­sen­tially a crime drama has been given the Cam­pion touch with var­i­ous sub­plots, mys­ter­ies and strange characters such as Hunter’s mys­tic healer GJ, who runs a women’s camp for bro­ken-down and dis­il­lu­sioned fe­males search­ing for hap­pi­ness.

And it was this in­trigu­ing story com­bined with the op­por­tu­nity to work with Cam­pion that Moss just couldn’t re­sist.

‘‘As soon as I heard it was Jane Cam­pion I wanted to be in­volved, and then when I read the scripts it was an amaz­ing part,’’ the 30-year-old says.

‘‘The weav­ing of the more clas­sic tale of a search . . . cou­pled with a much more dark and emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal drama that also has this kind of strange touch, which I think Jane is so good at (drew me in).

‘‘I’ve been a huge fan of hers for many years . . . and I think when you get the op­por­tu­nity to work with some­body like her you have to jump at it.

‘‘She’s also known for her work with ac­tresses and dif­fer­ent ac­tors and she’s ob­vi­ously pulled some great per­for­mances out of peo­ple,’’ she says re­fer­ring to Cam­pion’s work with Hunter in The Pi­ano, which re­sulted in Hunter win­ning a Best Ac­tress Os­car. So what has Cam­pion brought out of Moss? ‘‘The sim­plest way of putting it is she really chal­lenges me,’’ she says.

‘‘She has a great way of mak­ing you ques­tion your­self and mak­ing you chal­lenge your­self and mak­ing you step out­side of your lit­tle box and get out of your habits and do things a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ently.

‘‘But at the same time she’s ac­tu­ally given me a tremen­dous be­lief in my­self and my own in­stincts.

‘‘But I think the main thing . . . is learn­ing how to trust your in­stincts and learn­ing when not to – when they might be wrong and that’s OK. You can do it wrong and it’s fine and you can do it again and make it bet­ter.’’

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