Offspring romance ready to reward
Asher Keddie says viewers who have been waiting for Nina & Patrick to mature have been heard.
The drama about Nina Proudman and her ‘messy’ family have been taken to the hearts of Australian audiences, along with its star Asher Keddie.
Viewers have become invested in its flawed characters, and taken to social media to root for the hapless romance between Nina and Patrick (Matthew LeNevez). In its fourth season, Keddie wants them to be rewarded for their loyalty.
“I wanted Nina to stop fixing everything for everybody else, as we’ve seen her do for 3 series. I wanted her to stop looking after everybody else all of the time and, however self-indulgent she may be, I do think as a personality she puts everybody else first. I wanted her to look after herself and see how confronting that was for her,” she explains.
“I liked that she was getting pregnant so that she would have to allow people to take care of her. She’s never really done that, I don’t think.
“The difference this series is that she and Patrick are very much committed to having a mature relationship, with more equilibrium between them because they are going to be parents.
“One might assume it might not be as full as much chaos as previous seasons. Not true. I think a lot of comedy and conflict have been raised in this series because of the pregnancy.”
In a show of support, last month Keddie even won the Gold Logie ahead of serious competition, without the show having aired directly before the voting period.
“It was incredible. I really got such a shock when they read my called out my name,” she recalls.
“I didn’t expect anything…. I watched my speech back and realised how overwhelmed I actually was. That’s a tricky thing, making a speech for a big award like that.”
Surely she had something prepared just in case?
“I will be honest and say because I was working so hard I literally didn’t have time to think about it. My head was so full, I was working such long days. I didn’t even have a dress organised until the weekend. That’s how invested in the shoot I was.
“Some of the characters I’ve played have not always been likeable. Or (are) difficult. Like Julia, for instance, in Love My Way.
“I think it’s a very cool commitment from the audience to have supported me for so long and to give me this kind of reward. Absolutely beautiful.”
All of the Offspring cast is returning this season, including Garry McDonald as Nina’s birth father, Phillip Noonan.
“He’s incredible. I get very excited when I get to do a scene with Garry. I skip to it because I just think he’s unreal!” she smiles.
“It was nice working with Garry this year because as a character Phillip becomes quite protective of Nina. The family rip her to shreds really, she’s pretty judged. Or she’s put on a pedestal as the centre of attention whether she likes it or not.
“Phillip becomes quite protective of her choices and very supportive, so it was really nice working with him.”
This year Offspring also adds two new characters, counsellor Lawrence (Ido Drent) and registrar Eloise Ward (Caren Pistorius). In a show of strength that is rare in Australian television, last year TEN boldly gave the greenlight to two more seasons -a move that has allowed writers to chart a season in the confidence of a 2014 resolution.
“I think creative team this whole show has always felt at liberty to create what we want, and supported by this network,” says Keddie.
“So it’s always had a sense of freedom about it and always developed organically because of it. But because we knew the 5th season was there, I think the writers had an even more sense of freedom.”
Keddie even concedes a certain April Fool’s gag about fake changes to TEN management and Offspring being “axed” alarmed her family into thinking the show was over.
“Oh my God. Your April Fool’s thing. It was so good. I was in hysterics reading that!” she laughs.
“My father heard it (on ABC) and called me and said, ‘Oh darling. Have you spoken with your producers in the last couple of days? It’s all over the radio!’”
Apologies Mr. Keddie….
During her break between seasons, Asher Keddie is hoping to spend some time developing new projects as part of her ambition to expand in producing. While she won’t yet reveal those new projects, she’s content to remain as actor with the demanding Offspring.
“I have a very collaborative position within the creative team and they very generously allow me to be involved in the scripts before we shoot them. I work so many hours playing this role, I couldn’t possibly take on anything else in this show,” she says.
“But I feel ready to take the next leap and the only way I can do that is for the creative development to become even more challenging for me.
“I want to challenge myself further and stretch myself further. I’m craving a new learning curve.
“I’m very excited about the possibility of playing new and diverse roles as an actor, in personalities or genres I haven’t explored before.
“There are a couple of projects I’m looking at at the moment. I guess I will use a little bit of the break between Series 4 and 5 to commit a little bit more to looking at those projects and seeing whether I can bring them to fruition.”
So what kind of television does she see herself making should she wear a Producer hat?
“What I feel really happy about, in terms of Australian drama, is that we’ve moved away from the more-formulaic show to something a little more free-form, which is the kind of thing that I like to watch. Because it’s not formulaic it’s more ‘surprising’ to me, the drama that we’re making now. I’m really happy that we’re moving towards a more courageous style of writing in this country.
“They’re the kind of shows I want to watch, where I’m surprised, I go on a rollercoaster every episode and I don’t need a cliffhanger. I just want to watch really great drama in the lives of characters that I think are really interesting and compelling.
“And I feel like I’m working on a drama like that in this country and I feel like more are being produced,” she says.
“So that excites me.”
Offspring airs 8:30 Wednesdays on TEN.