Back on the block
THE GIRLS ARE BACK INSIDE WENTWORTH DETENTION CENTRE FOR THE REIMAGINING OF PRISONER
Wednesday, 8.30pm SoHo
PORTRAYING one of the most iconic inmates from a 1980’s television show was never going to be an easy task.
So Danielle Cormack (pictured) decided the best way to step into the prison overalls of Bea Smith, was to forget everything that made the Cell Block H character such a hit.
She says she put herself through a ‘‘psychological divorce’’ in order to give it her all for Wentworth the remake of the jail drama, and it was a move that paid off for the actor.
‘‘When I was invited to audition for the role I was really apprehensive – I didn’t see myself as Bea,’’ Cormack says.
‘‘When I talked to the producers it became apparent that Wentworth was going to be a completely different project (to Prisoner).’’
The actor is no stranger to taking on the part of a woman whose life has been touched by crime – the actor gave a star turn as the
‘‘I would encourage people to see Wentworth as having a gentle nod to Prisoner’’
formidable and feisty sly grog queen Kate Leigh in Underbelly: Razor .
The challenge with Leigh was to draw on the past – now Cormack had to do the opposite with Smith and completely ignore what had been 40 years before.
‘‘I didn’t have to worry about trying to fill anyone’s shoes,’’ she said. ‘‘ I could build this Bea from the ground up. ‘‘It was a case of going through a psychological divorce. I could put that ( Prisoner) aside. I didn’t have to reference it – Bea Smith from 40 years ago. I would encourage people to see Wentworth as having a gentle nod to Prisoner then let it go.’’ Wentworth, the 21st century version of Prisoner Cell Block H is a ‘‘reimagining’’ of the original show, rather than a remake.
Cormack’s series tells the story of what made the characters the people they were in the successful 1980s drama.
She says: ‘‘We’re meeting this Bea Smith at a different time.
‘‘Bea has put up with a lot at home. She stays in that horribly volatile relationship because of her daughter. She thinks that is the right thing to do. Then she makes a really bad choice that is borne out of deep stress and now she has landed in deep s--t.’’