Rich pick­ings

View­ers and crit­ics had mixed feel­ings but, as Filthy Rich re­turns for a sec­ond sea­son, Miriama Smith tells Kerry Har­vey she be­lieves the show will find its feet this year.

The TV Guide - - Testing Times -

When Fisher threw Sa­van­nah off the bal­cony at the end of the first sea­son of Filthy Rich, many thought the se­ries was also a goner.

How­ever, the home-grown drama – with nods to 80s shows such as Dal­las, Dy­nasty and Fal­con Crest – seems to be a sur­vivor.

One of the most ex­pen­sive se­ries filmed in New Zealand, the crit­ics hated it and the re­cep­tion from view­ers was patchy. How­ever, it seems TVNZ has faith, as does New Zealand On Air which coughed up $6.9 mil­lion for a sec­ond se­ries – after shelling out $8.1 mil­lion on the first.

“The net­work has been great,” says Miriama Smith, who stars as Brady True­bridge, the hair­dresser who mar­ried a rich-lis­ter. “I was say­ing to a lot of the younger ac­tors that, as a sea­soned ac­tor, I’ve never re­ally felt so much sup­port from the net­work. “They’ve al­ways let us know from day one that they’re proud of it and to keep do­ing what we’re do­ing. It’s great to know that we’ve got that back­ing.” She be­lieves the se­ries will find its feet this year. “I think that any show in the first se­ries is still try­ing to breathe and stretch its arms and try­ing to know where it lies in the land­scape of tele­vi­sion. Now we know who our fans are, we know who the au­di­ence are and that’s re­ally nice.” Writ­ten by Rachel Lang – who was recog­nised in the Queen’s Birth­day hon­ours for her work on shows such as Out­ra­geous For­tune, West­side, Noth­ing Triv­ial – and Gavin Strawhan (Hyde And Seek, Step Dave), Filthy Rich cen­tres on the se­crets re­vealed after the death of John True­bridge, one

“I think what Brady has is a de­gree of strength. She doesn’t have an MBA or any es­teemed cred­its to her name but she has an in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to cut through the BS and read peo­ple.” – Miriama Smith

of the coun­try’s wealth­i­est men.

Th­ese se­crets in­clude his three il­le­git­i­mate chil­dren – Joe (Alex Tar­rant), Sa­van­nah (Emma Fen­ton), and Garth (Tay­lor Hall) – who are set to share his im­mense for­tune with a hor­ri­fied John Jnr (Josh McKen­zie) and his step­mother Brady (Smith).

Things do not go smoothly and, as sea­son two be­gins, Brady has lost con­trol of the True­bridge Hunt Cor­po­ra­tion. The power now lies in the hands of Fisher (Mike Edward), her once trusted deputy, and John Jnr’s schem­ing mother Vi­vian (Theresa Healey) has taken Brady’s place in the board­room.

“Her driv­ing force this year is tak­ing back con­trol of the com­pany,” Smith says, who will have to bat­tle old en­e­mies as well as new threats.

“We’ve got some neat new char­ac­ters com­ing in – like­able char­ac­ters, chal­leng­ing char­ac­ters, lots of dou­ble-cross­ing. Ev­ery episode has a cli­max. I think our blood pres­sure rises, es­pe­cially when it comes to the read-throughs. It’s like Game Of Thrones; it’s like who is go­ing to die next.”

Smith says de­spite the high drama of Filthy Rich, the se­ries re­flects the way some Ki­wis live.

“The show is very un­apolo­getic, which can shock peo­ple,” she says, “but it’s not our job to in­form or sway peo­ple ... It’s sim­ply to re­flect a part of a so­ci­ety that’s liv­ing and breath­ing in New Zealand.

“I think what Brady has is a de­gree of strength. She doesn’t have an MBA or any es­teemed cred­its to her name but she has an in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to cut through the BS and read peo­ple. She can look them in the eye and tell it like it is.”

Smith be­lieves there is a lit­tle bit of Brady in her.

“I think I have to share some of Brady’s traits to re­ally iden­tify with her. For me it’s not about judg­ing Brady. I might not agree with her and the choices she makes but I have to find out her mo­ti­va­tion,” she says.

“I grew up in Porirua, Ro­torua and Whakare­warewa. I saw women like Brady the whole time run­ning the joint, whether it was marae or the wharenui, I saw so many ex­am­ples of strong women who didn’t nec­es­sary have a mil­lion dol­lars in their bank and that’s where I draw from.”

The clothes – and the heels in par­tic­u­lar – help with Smith’s trans­for­ma­tion to Brady.

“It helps me to be­come Brady be­cause I am so dif­fer­ent to her. My hus­band might ar­gue that be­cause he’s on the fir­ing end some­times but I am quite a dif­fer­ent woman to Brady.

“I put the heels on, the makeup, the power suit and it helps me get into that zone. When I drive back to Bay of Plenty I be­come a yoga teacher, a mum, all those things.”

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