THE LAST WORD... ‘ I was like, ‘There’s not much around’. And up ’ then this little gem popped
WITH RICK DONALD, WHO PLAYS WOODY IN 800WORDS
“WORKING on (US series) Friends with Better Lives was a rollercoaster, that’s the best way to explain it.
It’s an absolutely full-on experience just to get cast in a pilot. Then you hope it’s good and you wait to see if it gets picked up. And ours did. But even then I was like, ‘Well I’m really happy that Friends with Better Lives got picked up for the season but I hope I’m getting picked up too’. You can’t celebrate until you’re on the floor there, ready to go. The job could still very easily get it taken away from you, even while you’re doing it. People get recast all the time.
I saw on our show, people would come in for table reads and guest episodes and they wouldn’t be there the next day because they hadn’t done a good read.
You know what? It happens every day over there and they don’t even blink. They’ll be like, ‘Is her hair really that short? It was longer in the headshot – no, we’ll get somebody else’. And all of a sudden they’re gone. You’re a chess piece.
We shot 13 episodes and were waiting for the ratings to come in thinking, ‘Are we going to go for a second season?’.
And it looked like we were. They had writers working on the second season. We had confirmation from people it was happening. And then (the US network) cut an hour out of their comedy slot. Two shows got cut and one of them was ours. It was a bit upsetting because it wasn’t necessarily that the show wasn’t working, it was that they didn’t have space for it. It was disappointing but it was also really nice to come home.
It’s a different world over there. I like working, but I didn’t necessarily like the craziness of the LA vibe. Hollywood’s insane. I’m a country kid at heart and I do love Australia so I was happy in a way to come home. The only regret was that I wouldn’t get to work with those people anymore who had become really good friends.
When I got back to Australia, I was like, ‘God, there’s not much around’. And then this little gem 800 Words popped up. I read it and just loved it instantly. I loved the character Woody, I could really relate to the writing.
Growing up I loved shows like Always Greener and SeaChange and I hadn’t seen a lot of that kind of stuff on the telly for a while. Even though 800 Words is obviously different, there are some similarities there.
I knew immediately it was going to be a really good show because it’s rooted in something meaningful. I’m probably more excited about this than I have been about anything in a long time.” 800 WORDS TUESDAY, 8.40PM, SEVEN