Stewart won an AFI Award and a Logie for her performance in Underbelly 2008, but is one of several original cast members not to reprise their role in Nine’s Fat Tony & Co.
“It was a hard decision because it’s a character that I hold very close to my heart,” she told TV Tonight.
“In the end there were some logistical issues. But also, seven years ago when I did it we didn’t know much about Roberta Williams. So I did as much research as I could, speaking to police, people who had met her, read through court reports, but she wasn’t the physical media presence that she is now.”
Stewart explained that she was not allowed to meet Williams at the time of the original Underbelly series.
“So it was the best that I could do, using my imagination,” she says.
“Now we know how she walks and talks and so much more about her. So I just thought ‘I can’t come in now that I and Australia know so much more about her, and give the same version.’
“So I would have been starting from scratch and I don’t know that I can do a job that is going to satisfy everybody. I don’t know that I can do that with real integrity.
“I also took heart looking at what Lachy (Hulme) and Rob (Carlton) did with Packer and thought it was really interesting seeing a new, fresh take on a role.
“I don’t like turning down work. It goes against every actor instinct. But it just didn’t feel right.”
In Fat Tony and Co. the role of Williams went to actress Hollie Andrew, performing alongside Gyton Grantley as Carl Williams.
Stewart has also previously worked with Andrew.
“She’s a fantastic girl and she will do an amazing job,” she said.
“I would love to work with those actors and producers again, and it wasn’t an easy decision. But I just felt ‘I can’t do what I did last time, so how is that going to work?'”
“It wasn’t right for me and I just thought I can’t do the same thing.”
“But with that cast and that story, I reckon it will be good.
“I’m totally watching.”