In Showcase’s latest drama, Tangle, it’s hard not to notice the emergence of a new generation of young actors.
Justine Clarke, Ben Mendelsohn and Matt Day, once familiar to us as teenage actors, are all now playing thirty-something adults, and even parents of their own teen characters.
As Justine Clarke told TV Tonight, it’s been a curiosity to all concerned.
“What’s been the most refreshing for all of us is we’re moving into a mature age bracket, watching all these young actors,” she says. “They’ve all been wonderful kids. And it’s quite fast television for them, learning how to make a scene work quickly. These are people who may never have acted before and they’re learning completely on their feet.
“Eva Lazzaro who plays my daughter was 12. She’s great to watch. I think Ben would probably feel the same, and Matt too, we all started when we were kids. So it’s great to watch the next generation come up.”
Clarke has a long history on Aussie television, well known for her role as ‘Roo Stewart’ on Home and Away. Since then she has appeared in Come in Spinner, Wildside, All Saints, Love My Way, The Surgeon and Bastard Boys.
“I did lots of commercials at the age of 7 and by 12 I was making kid’s television, and a couple of films. So I was quite experienced before I got to Home and Away.”
In the ensemble drama Tangle she plays Ally Kovacs, a mother who after 15 years of marriage has become bored with her suburban life.
“She’s an East Malvern mum, with two children,” says Clarke. “She defines herself as a mother. She’s very maternal, responsible, loving and very proud of her successes. She’s helped (husband) Vince and the business to become what it is. But she also has this other side to her.”
Domestic routines are interrupted when her sister Nat (Kat Stewart) returns home from the UK, causing ripples for almost everyone around her.
“Nat’s arrival back provides a few awakenings I suppose,” she says.
“When she arrives she becomes a fly in the ointment. She’s one of the characters who says what she’s thinking. Christine (Catherine McClements) does to a certain extent too.
“But when Nat arrives she gets Ally to thinking. And Ally’s one of those people who starts to go out more, and she’s already got this other world where she speaks to a Russian cosmonaut. It’s a very safe relationship. He’s on a noble pursuit, so she projects onto him all the things she’s lacking.”
The 10 part drama sees two families colliding and connecting, navigating their way through contemporary issue of love, sex, money and politics. Written by Fiona Seres and Tony McNamara, the scripts give the cast plenty of material to work with.
“When I read it I thought it was a much lighter drama. But as soon as I got on set, Jessica Hobbs our director –who is never afraid to go to the deep, dark places- very quickly would suggest that a scene was a lot deeper than that. We could take it a lot further,” she says.
The tension between the two sisters, played by Clarke and Stewart, is one of the show’s best attributes.
“We all feel like we’ve redefined ourselves but when you’re faced with your family you become the same person you were. That tension between the two sisters is there all the time,” she observes.
“You think that it’s all resolved but it never really is. You can spend your whole life having the same issues with family – even though you try your hardest to resolve them they continually come up. So that’s one thing I’ve found quite confronting.”
Tangle airs 8:30pm Thursdays on Showcase.