ALL care and no responsibility: that’s Claudia Karvan’s motto when it comes to Newton’s Law.
After a punishing year producing Nine’s DoctorDoctor, Karvan was happy to be a gun for hire for the new ABC legal drama.
“Newton’sLaw is my reward for producing DoctorDoctor,” she laughs. “Now I can jump on my lilo with a martini in my hand.”
Taking the lead role in the latest production by Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger – the dynamic duo behind MissFisher’s MurderMysteries – Karvan jokes she is “riding their coat-tails”. Not quite, but the role seems an easier fit for the LoveMy Way and PubertyBlues favourite.
Karvan stars as Josephine Newton, a suburban solicitor who is lured back to the bar by Senior Counsel and old university mate Lewis Hughes SC (Toby Schmitz).
With its lighter tone, Karvan enjoyed being away from her producer pressures and angstridden roles. “Newton’sLaw is escapist and fun, and it is wonderful to see a woman who has authority, emotional intelligence and is unapologetic,” she says. “It is a much sunnier place to inhabit.
“Josephine’s optimistic, she’s not flawed or overwrought and it is a pleasure to play a role like that.”
Karvan adds she would like to be more like her character. “She has a lot to offer women today,” Karvan says. “There is an equilibrium to her and resilience about her that I think we all aspire to.
“When I would go for self-pity or frustration or play for drama in scenes the director, Jennifer Leacey, would push me completely in the other direction, saying, ‘No, this problem isn’t exasperating for Josephine, it is invigorating her’.”
Viewers hoping to see romantic sparks fly between Josephine and Lewis look set to be disappointed.
“Josephine’s relationship with Lewis is really refreshing because it isn’t about playing the physical chemistry or lingering eye contact,” Karvan says.
“Their relationship is built on firing off each other intellectually.”
Newton is much less assured with daughter Lydia (Ella Newton).
Karvan can relate to her character’s plight, raising three children with partner Jeremy Sparks: his daughter Holiday, 26, as well as the couple’s teenage daughter Audrey and 10-year-old son Albie.
“When Josephine’s out in the world she is carving it up, but the minute you get her into a domestic environment … she turns into a domestic slave and someone who can’t win with her daughter,” Karvan says.
“The daughter is running on hormones and being what a teenage daughter should be – pushing the boundaries and pushing buttons.”
Karvan is back in production for season two of DoctorDoctor, but has her fingers crossed Newton’sLaw will find an audience and be a yearly fillip to all that stress.
“I’ll pop into the ABC studios once a year and be Josephine,” she says. “She’s a wonderful creation.” THURSDAY, 6.30PM, FOXTEL’S FX