‘I’ve learnt to be resilient’
The life lessons Love Child has taught Jessica Marais
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.
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Oh, baby: LoveChild stars Matt Le Nevez and Jessica Marais.