Gracepoint, same same but different…
Jacki Weaver says the US version of Broadchurch is still worth a look, including with a different ending.
But since Animal Kingdom, she’s been given a second lease of life with lead roles in film and television and two Oscar nominations -a rare opportunity, she admits.
“It wasn’t something that my generation didn’t aspire to because we didn’t really think it was possible. Wendy (Hughes) did go over there for a while and did some good work. But most of us end up wanting to come home again,” she says.
Now she is appearing in Gracepoint, the US adaptation of Broadchurch, as Susan Wright, a local woman with a dark history. The series sees David Tennant reprise his role, joined by Anna Gunn.
“The first episode is pretty much faithful to Broadchurch but then it does diverge quite a lot.
“Some of the American critics are saying it’s shot for shot, but it’s not.
“We had 5 different directors and 2 of them had worked on the original. That wonderful tracking shot in the first episode was in Broadchurch as well. It was so good, why change it? It was the same director and he was determined to do it, so everyone thought ‘Why not?’
“Gracepoint is 10 episodes whereas Broadchurch was 8 so theres’s a little bit more of filling out background and there’s an extra character, so there’s an extra suspect.
“There’s a different ending because they didn’t want to have it spoiled, even though only 1% of Americans saw Broadchurch. So they are remaking it for a bigger audience.”
The series was filmed on the west coast of Canada, at Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
“It’s a long ferry trip from Vancouver and it’s where the capital of British Columbia is, called Victoria. It’s astonishingly beautiful but cold,” she recalls.
“I think they CGI’d something to do with the cliff, but as far as the scenery goes it’s such a beautiful place.”
According to Weaver, even if you loved Broadchurch it’s still possible to enjoy Gracepoint.
“Last night I had a (Broadchurch) refresher and I was interested by the differences. There are quite a lot of scenes done differently and with different dialogue. There’s the idiom and the vernacular you have to take into account when you have people speaking American.
“Even though we speak the same language there’s a big difference.”
With her wealth of stage performances, Weaver has plenty of experience with US accents, a skill which has served her well in her revitalised career.
“I do some better than others. My New York is pretty good but I have most trouble doing that whiny valley girl from LA, which I really hate. It’s like chalk on a blackboard,” she admits.
“Now that I live in LA I hear it more often.
“I’ve always been such a New York snob. I’ve been going to New York for 40 years. I first went there in 1972 as a tourist, just to see shows, and go to museums. I hardly ever had anything to do with LA, it was a one night stopover at the most. But I really do love LA now. It’s like another country from New York.”
Despite her US success, Weaver has managed to fit in Australian performances too, including 2 short films, the feature Last Cab to Darwin and a stage production of Uncle Vanya, which also travelled to New York.
“I’m still thrilled enough with what’s happening to stay there for a while. It seems too good to pass up. I’m about to do a film with James Franco and Blunt Talk with Patrick Stewart.”
She has also completed Equals, filmed in Japan was with Kristian Stewart and Nicholas Hoult.
Weaver has surely come a long way since her film roles in Picnic at Hanging Rock and Caddie and TV roles in Matlock Police and Alvin Purple.
“(Animal Kingdom director) David Michod changed my life. So did Tom Bernard and Michael Barker at Sony Pictures Classics. They were the ones that bought the picture. Then David O. Russell did Silver Linings Playbook,” she says.
“To get the second nomination was like a confirmation that the first one wasn’t a flash in the pan.”
Gracepoint airs 8:30pm Friday on Universal.