Marta keeps it real

While film­ing an emo­tion­ally-charged scene of the hit tele­vi­sion show A Place To Call Home, Marta Dus­sel­dorp briefly lost her grip on re­al­ity. SHAN­NON MOL­LOY re­ports

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS -

FOR a mo­ment, in the midst of film­ing an emo­tion­al­ly­charged scene of A Place

To Call Home, ac­tor Marta Dus­sel­dorp ad­mits she lost her grip on re­al­ity and “took things too far”.

Merely talk­ing about it is enough to bring the star to tears, even sev­eral months later. Such is the heavy weight of the plot line and her deep in­vest­ment in her char­ac­ter, Sarah.

Adding to the men­tal jug­gling act is the fact that her real-life hus­band, Ben Win­spear, plays her on­screen one, Rene.

Fans of the hit Fox­tel pe­riod drama were left reel­ing when Rene sud­denly died while re­cov­er­ing from brain surgery.

It was while making that pow­er­ful episode that the line be­tween fact and fic­tion be­came tem­po­rar­ily blurred for Dus­sel­dorp.

“I did one take where I thought it crossed over (into re­al­ity) and I went too far,” she re­calls

“I just really grieved, overly so, per­son­ally, I guess. I took (the per­for­mance) too far. There were ex­tras around me on set who were quite con­fused and con­cerned.”

They didn’t re­alise that the scripted couple was played by an ac­tual one, Dus­sel­dorp ex­plains. “I had to tell them that he’s my hus­band in real life and that I’d just got­ten a bit up­set. But then they were even more wor­ried and it was like, it’s OK – it’s just pre­tend!”

Or­di­nar­ily, the sea­soned per­former re­lies on care­fully- honed tech­niques to keep things in check, but she ad­mits they some­times go out the win­dow.

“You have to be care­ful … you have to have bar­ri­ers. But when you’re work­ing really long weeks and in the midst of it, it can be dif­fi­cult to main­tain the sep­a­ra­tion.

“I even some­times dream I’m in a scene, with light­ing rigs around me and a mi­cro­phone on.”

Even now, while talk­ing about Rene – with whom Sarah only re­cently re­united af­ter years of be­liev­ing he had died in the war – Dus­sel­dorp un­con­sciously slips back into her char­ac­ter’s shoes.

“Los­ing him twice was really hard,” she says, be­fore cor­rect­ing her­self. “Sorry, I didn’t lose him – she did.”

She de­scribes work­ing with Win­spear as a “spe­cial” ex­pe­ri­ence that’s with­out doubt one of the high­lights of her long ca­reer.

But killing off Rene was good for the show and its con­tin­u­ing story – how­ever dif­fi­cult it might be for her char­ac­ter and loyal fans of the couple.

“The ro­bust­ness of sea­son three gave us the op­por­tu­nity to go fur­ther, to go much deeper with the char­ac­ters, and that was thor­oughly re­ward­ing,” Dus­sel­dorp says.

In that vein, the cliffhanger sea­son fi­nale, which airs tonight, doesn’t dis­ap­point. The winds of change blow through Ash Park and there are more than a few lives on the line.

“The (writ­ers and pro­duc­ers) al­ways had in mind that there was an­other sea­son, given Fox­tel com­mit­ted to making two, and that’s dif­fer­ent to what we’ve ever done be­cause we had cer­tainty.” A PLACE TO CALL HOME SEA­SON FI­NALE

SUN­DAY, 7.30PM, SOHO

FAM­ILY AF­FAIR: APlaceToCall

Home star Marta Dus­sel­dorp, above, and left with real-life hus­band Ben Win­spear, who played on-screen hus­band Rene.

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