Wests’ world:

What next for TV’s most out­ra­geous fam­ily?

The TV Guide - - News -

Don’t ex­pect to see dra­matic wardrobe changes for West­side’s lat­est sea­son.

When the New Zealand com­edy drama aired last year, it was set in 1981 and based around the im­pact of key events such as the Spring­bok tour and the wed­ding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

This time around the show takes place in 1982 and the char­ac­ters’ cos­tumes have been tweaked – but only just.

“My mul­let wig has had a slight hair­cut,” says An­to­nia Preb­ble, who plays fam­ily ma­tri­arch Rita West.

“It’s up­dated a lit­tle bit but I don’t ac­tu­ally know if the view­ers would no­tice that.”

In case you’re not up to speed, chain-smok­ing, potty-mouthed Rita is mar­ried to Ted (David de Lau­tour) and they have a son, Wolf (Reef Ire­land). The Wests break the law to pay the bills and don’t suf­fer fools gladly. For­tu­nately, most of their friends, such as Lefty (Dan Mus­grove) and Phineas (Xavier Ho­ran), are crim­i­nals too.

West­side was con­ceived as the pre­quel to Out­ra­geous For­tune and thanks to its blend of hu­mour and drama, plus its nod to 1970s and 1980s Ki­wiana, the show is now in its third sea­son. West­side also boasts a killer sound­track with episodes of­ten fea­tur­ing mem­o­rable tunes from the likes of Th’ Dudes, Hello Sailor and Sharon O’Neill.

“I think it’s the best one yet,” says Preb­ble of sea­son three.

“It’s re­ally solid in the West world now be­cause we are fo­cus­ing more on the char­ac­ters. With­out hav­ing to con­nect it to any­thing ex­ter­nal, we re­ally are get­ting a far more in­sight­ful look with a lot more depth into their world. We just find out so much more about th­ese char­ac­ters who are both hi­lar­i­ous and dev­as­tat­ing at the same time. It’s fun­nier and darker si­mul­ta­ne­ously.”

“Her ideas about be­ing a woman is to use what women have got in or­der to run the show.” – An­to­nia Preb­ble

One of the big things to hap­pen this sea­son is the ar­rival of Ch­eryl, the char­ac­ter played by Robyn Mal­colm in Out­ra­geous For­tune.

At this stage Preb­ble is sworn to se­crecy about the ac­tress cho­sen to play the young Ch­eryl, the tough-talk­ing woman who will even­tu­ally marry Wolf, but she re­veals fem­i­nism will take front of stage.

“In a way it’s a thread run­ning through­out the se­ries but it’s brought to the fore in some of the later episodes be­tween the women on the show,” she says.

“There are dif­fer­ent ideas about fem­i­nism and what it is to be a fem­i­nist in 1982 as op­posed to what it means to be a fem­i­nist now and Rita, as you might imag­ine, has some quite con­tro­ver­sial ideas about it.

“She says she’s ac­tu­ally not a fem­i­nist. Her ideas about be­ing a woman is to use what women have got in or­der to run the show, but in a quiet way so men don’t know you’re do­ing it.

“There is a lot of dis­cus­sion about the role of women in so­ci­ety in 1982, which is in­ter­est­ing, and also ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity does come up again and I think it’s han­dled re­ally well in a re­ally in­ter­est­ing way.”

Out­side of her West­side work, Preb­ble, 33, leads a busy life.

In be­tween sea­sons two and three she took part in an episode of DNA

De­tec­tives, flew to Mel­bourne to film the first episode of Sis­ters (a drama about three women who, later in life, dis­cover they are re­lated), and had a role in the Pork Pie movie. She also vis­ited Los An­ge­les for pi­lot sea­son.

Preb­ble’s on-screen hus­band David de Lau­tour, who plays Ted, lives in Los An­ge­les. He says he’s just as com­fort­able be­hind the cam­era as he is in front of it.

After West­side sea­son two wrapped, he also im­mersed him­self in his adopted city’s pi­lot sea­son and did a few other pro­jects, in­clud­ing di­rect­ing a mu­sic video for Kiwi pop singer Gin Wig­more.

He also used his di­rect­ing skills on West­side’s lat­est sea­son.

In front of the cam­era he is of­ten filmed with his West­side male mates drink­ing beer at the pub – which isn’t quite as much fun as you might think.

“It’s a non-al­co­holic beer,” says de Lau­tour. “It tastes like beer the first sip but after eight hours of do­ing pub scenes, it starts to taste pretty bad by the end of the day.”

Luck­ily for Preb­ble, her West­side char­ac­ter isn’t a fan of lager.

“Rita’s drink of choice is gin and tonic and in TV-speak that means soda wa­ter so I just get hy­drated.”

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