Back on the block


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


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.’’

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