The Courier-Mail - QWeekend

Noni Hazlehurst

Actor, 67, Gold Coast

- Interview JANE ARMITSTEAD The End is on Foxtel Original now.

What was it like being able to film The End in your hometown of the Gold Coast?

It was fabulous. It’s the first time I’ve been able to film at home since I moved here (to the hinterland) in 2002. I was able to go home at night after filming for dinner, it was brilliant. I loved it, although I wish it wasn’t summer because it’s a lot hotter down there than it was here in the hinterland. Hopefully more production­s film here; I think we’re an attractive destinatio­n and it’s nice to see the Gold Coast featured. I don’t think it’s been featured enough in our films and TV shows.

What impact has the pandemic had on you?

I’ve had three days’ paid work since March last year. I was doing the return series of my onewoman play, Mother, at QPAC and then we had to cancel the last three performanc­es. Since then, I’ve done a three-day job on a podcast so it’s been grim. Normally, I’m really lucky and I don’t stop. This has been the longest stint out of work I’ve ever had because there’s no work to have. There’s certainly no theatre and everything else was shut down, too. Normally I wouldn’t be home much. But in saying that, primarily I’ve missed my kids. I have one son in LA (William), and the other (Charlie) is in Melbourne. I managed to catch up with him at Christmas. That’s been

the hardest part about it all for me.

How are you feeling about William being in the US with the state of things right

now?

It’s not good. They assure me they are doing the right things and are

safe but the numbers we hear are mind-boggling. Of course, the civil unrest is particular­ly frightenin­g because they have guns. William is a musician so he’s had no work – it’s been pretty tough. We talk several times a week; and with Charlie in Melbourne, we were in touch virtually every day. In many ways, it’s cemented family relationsh­ips … we realised how much we need each other because we don’t have the distractio­ns of our so called “real lives”.

Where do you look for distractio­ns to help you cope in tough times?

Absolutely from nature. I’m lucky to live in a really beautiful spot, I’m on an acre. I’ve been able to watch the wildlife, follow the seasons and be in the garden and do all those sorts of things. I’m not a great fan of city dwelling, I don’t think it does the spirit very much good and, indeed, that’s where the disease has hit the hardest, where people are living in proximity to each other. But really, the highlight of my week has been going to the supermarke­t, which is quite sad.

How has COVID-19 changed your outlook?

It’s forced me and everybody to redefine who they are and what they were doing and what they can do. It curtailed a lot of our freedoms to move around and interact but it’s also made me realise a lot of the interactio­ns I would’ve had in the past weren’t that important.

What are your plans for 2021?

I hope to get more interestin­g work and visit William in LA. A few work projects keep getting put off so I hope they come to fruition. I’ve got a film waiting to be released that I made in 2019. It would be lovely to do another season of The End but I don’t know if that will happen. I just look forward to more opportunit­ies to be with family and get some more interestin­g characters to play. into my loo of choice and some guy answered his phone and began a quite animated phone call, even shouting at the person on the other end of the phone.

“Keep the noise down dude,” I said, under my breath.

It’s just wrong. I mean, I know sometimes the phone is going to ring when you’re in there, man or woman, but you just don’t answer. Whoever is calling can wait a minute or two.

And what do people who answer their phones on the crapper say when asked “What are you up to?” I have a friend who, when he rings, asks: “How are you and where are you?” I’d never want to say “On the thunderbox”. That’d be bad manners.

I don’t know, maybe this is a guy thing. I obviously wouldn’t know what goes on in the ladies, never having been in one. Actually, scratch that, I did go to the ladies once at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. It was a mistake, of course. The loo had no entry door and I just breezed in and looked around for the urinals and wondered why I couldn’t see them. Oops! I got out of there pronto fearing I might be apprehende­d by security. It wasn’t long enough to ascertain if anyone was talking on their mobile.

Anyway, I think there should be a little sign on the wall ... a mobile with a cross through it. Although you shouldn’t need a sign to tell you the bleeding obvious.

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