Anna’s hot new wild side
With her publisher breathing doWn her neck – and in her bed – Anna flees to ash park to try to Write her second novel
With her amorous publisher breathing down her neck — and in her bed — the newlook Anna flees to Ash Park, on A Place to Call Home.
“She’s very Marilyn now. We spent 12 hours dying my hair to get it to that Marilyn phase, which is really exciting.”
Anna has a successful career and a gorgeous lover but it’s not enough to mask the pain lingering deep within her soul. And her attempts to bury her heartbreak could threaten everything she’s worked so hard for.
Four years on from splitting up with her first love Gino (Aldo Mignone), Anna (Abby Earl) is a published author with a hit book. She’s also hooked up with her publisher Ed (Matt Day) but it’s not something she’s deeply invested in and almost more of a hindrance as she tries to write her second novel. It’s been a massive struggle for Anna to come up with something to follow the success of her first book. She could have got Ed off her back by publishing her first piece,
Tender Vines, but in an act of self-sabotage Anna destroyed the manuscript.
The fact is Tender Vines speaks to the very heart of Anna’s inner turmoil. She can’t cope with the memories of Gino — both wonderful and brutal — that the novel awakens. Even years after breaking up with her husband because of her inability to have children, Anna hasn’t moved on as much as she pretends.
“She’s kind of layered on this armour to get through life knowing that everyone expects her to be able to provide them with a family and that expectation is quite crippling,” explains Abby Earl, who plays Anna.
“Instead of her being burdened by it she pretends to be liberated and pretends to be quite fabulous — she just keeps filling up her glass and partying. She can’t really sit still with the reality of what’s going on.”
With Anna desperate to keep moving, her casual affair with Ed is starting to make her feel a little claustrophobic. The last thing Anna wants right now is a serious relationship and that seems to be where things with Ed are heading — at least on his part.
Just the thought that her fling might turn into something more is enough to send Anna fleeing the city for the sanctuary of Ash Park. Anna hopes this change of scenery will help her write her new novel and maybe without Ed around she’ll feel less pressure.
But is a stint at home really enough to end Anna’s writer’s block? And could a trip out of town give Ed the hint that she needs space? It’s possible that Anna’s troubles will only manifest more now that she’s back in Inverness and send her spiralling further down a dark path.
The Anna we see in season five is a far cry from the hopeless romantic we knew in the past but Anna’s self-destructive behaviour has been a thrill for Earl to explore as an actor. “She’s quite unrecognisable,” she explains. “The kind of core of her is still there but she’s really wild and that’s always fun to play.
“It’s always more fun to be a little bit dark and a little bit playful and cheeky and sarcastic and rude and so she’s all those really juicy things and the whole family is quite worried about her, which I also love to play,” Earl laughs.
Even Anna’s look has changed dramatically and Earl says there are shades of one of the 1950s’ most glamorous movie stars in her season five costume. “She’s very Marilyn now. We spent 12 hours dying my hair to get it to that Marilyn phase, which is really exciting — I love transforming.
“And she wears very Marilyn-inspired clothes, very tight, figure-hugging, and I wear really drapey [clothes]. I’m at home [in real life] in trackies all the time — my boyfriend’s trackies, really baggy, his jumper, the baggier the better. So for me to be in tight figure-hugging clothes is really exposing but Anna’s incredibly confident and she is kind of shaking what her mamma gave her and living it up so I get to live vicariously through her confidence.”
But nothing excites Earl more about playing Anna than how relatable she is to the audience. Anna’s experiences of divorce and infertility are just as vexing issues today as they were in 1958. More than that though, Anna’s bravery is something Earl tries to learn from and the fact that fans both young and old see themselves in Anna is something she holds dear.
“I try to invest deeply in her because people come up to me and say, ‘Thank you, I saw myself in Anna.’ One time I had this 89-year-old say to me, ‘I was just like you when I was young’ and that meant the world to me.”
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GETTING SERIOUS? Anna and her publisher Ed. He seems to want something more committed but the thought of that makes her want to run away. PLAYFUL DAYS Anna (Abby Earl) is having a casual relationship with Ed (Matt Day). “She pretends to be liberated,”...