‘I’ve learnt to be re­silient’

The life lessons Love Child has taught Jes­sica Marais

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By TIF­FANY DUNK

LOVE Child stars some of Aus­tralia’s finest ac­tors. And they’ve won a swag of awards be­tween them.

But it’s the lit­tlest peo­ple on set who get the big­gest re­ac­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Aussie drama’s head­liner Jes­sica Marais.

“The ba­bies’ per­for­mances get ev­ery­one, they are the stars of the show,” she says.

“Even the cam­era guys just melt. You see all these burly guys with grips and electrics stand­ing around and goo-ing and gah-ing at the screen, it’s just great.”

It brings back plenty of fond mem­o­ries for Marais, whose daugh­ter Scout (with ex-fi­ance James Ste­wart) re­cently turned four.

“The best part is just hold­ing them and smelling their lit­tle heads,” she says of the ba­bies who pop­u­late the ward of the show’s fic­tional Kings Cross Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

“It makes you re­alise how quickly time goes, be­cause they just grow so quickly.

“I’m al­ways amazed at these peo­ple who are so gen­er­ous with giv­ing us their ba­bies (to film) day in and day out. I couldn’t imag­ine tak­ing Scout to a film set when she was that tiny.”

Sea­son three sees Marais shar­ing a whole lot more screen time with these tiny co-stars.

Her char­ac­ter, Joan, is sin­gle­hand­edly rais­ing jailed hubby Jim’s son while also at­tempt­ing to com­plete her res­i­dency at the hos­pi­tal.

“She’s in quite a pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion with try­ing to hang on and pro­tect her re­la­tion­ship with Jim (Matt Le Nevez) and learn­ing how to be a mother to James,” says Marais.

“And it’s quite a com­plex thing be­cause he’s not ac­tu­ally her child.”

All of the women in the show will face big changes this year, Marais says, as they learn to fend for them­selves af­ter Stan­ton House’s clo­sure.

It brings a new di­men­sion to the show and al­lows the strength of the fe­male char­ac­ters – and the women who play them – to shine.

Un­like dra­mas of yes­ter­year, where the women in the cast play ei­ther moth­ers or love in­ter­ests, Love Child’s main fo­cus is on friend­ship, with a healthy dose of striv­ing to start a ca­reer.

It’s what Marais loves most about the show and keeps her com­ing back sea­son af­ter sea­son.

In ad­di­tion, she says, there’s the lure of the lessons she takes from these fic­tional fe­males, es­pe­cially the one she plays.

“With Joan, what I re­ally love about her is her strength and want to do bet­ter and to do the right thing,” Marais says.

“Of­ten she doesn’t, she does the wrong thing, but she’s al­ways will­ing to keep try­ing and keep fight­ing. Her re­silience is quite in­cred­i­ble – I take so much from it.”

For some­one who has been the cen­tre of plenty of ru­mours and gos­sip dur­ing her ca­reer and weath­ered a very pub­lic breakup from the fa­ther of her child, that re­silience has come in handy.

“Ob­vi­ously there are parts of your­self that are present in ev­ery char­ac­ter you play, but I’ve learnt from Joan’s re­silience quite a lot, she’s re­ally helped me,” Marais ad­mits.

LOVE CHILD

MON­DAY, 8.30PM, NINE

Oh, baby: LoveChild stars Matt Le Nevez and Jes­sica Marais.

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