Weekend Herald - Canvas


- Sarah Daniell sarah.daniell@nzme.co.nz

A sharp southerly cuts like a cold blade. Ruthless. But the sun is out and so are we — filming on the south coast of Poneke for a new show, called Cover Story.

The colour of the sea here oscillates between hostile and mesmerisin­g, jewel-like — depending on the weather. But that day, it is so blue, it reminds me of the Rita Angus painting of Island Bay fishing boats, tied up at the shore.

The light here is always mesmerisin­g. The wind here sometimes punches you in the face.

We’re further around the coast, beyond Owhiro Bay. Rocky and wild. I’ve been diving here many times, because ... the paua. But that day, the film crew colonise the rocky landscape with their mountains of gear, lights; and they shout orders: “And ... action.”

I have a small role that involves me getting out of a car, slamming the door and saying something I can’t remember. I just remember the tension. One of the stars of the show is Simone Kessell and I know many of the people working on it because, well, this is Wellington. And when they call wrap, we head to La Luna on Manners St and get messed up and play pool.

Cover Story is about journalist­s, and now, more years later than I care to calculate, the journalist who once wanted to be an actor is messaging the star of one the biggest deals on Neon.

“Kia ora e hoa it’s Sarah D from Aotearoa!” I’d messaged Simone Kessell in early December last year, after I’d heard she was to star in season 2 of the savagely dark and brilliant Yellowjack­ets. I was keen to get in a bid for a cover story. But she’s in the big Hollywood machine now, and I didn’t expect a reply.

“Thanks for your lovely note ... yes, I’m open to publicity ... thanks again and Merry Christmas.”

Kessell, who got her first break in a show called Cover Story is, this week, our cover story. Kessell has joined “bro” Melanie Lynskey on Yellowjack­ets. She talks to Joanna Mathers about leaving home, coming back, falling in love, family, and a whole lot of everything else in between.

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