Robbie Magasiva: Wentworth women work harder


He’s surrounded by a predominantly female ensemble, but Wentworth‘s Robbie Magasiva says female actors work harder than men.

“The only thing that sticks out for me, if I’m being honest, is that women work a little bit harder than male actors,” he says.

“And I think these women have to. Nicole de Silva, Danielle Cormack, Celia Ireland… they are basically mapping a story arc across the whole season. So they are constantly working. That’s why the show is so successful.”

Now in his fourth season of the Foxtel hit series, Magasiva is Wentworth‘s longest-standing male principal. Socratis Otto joined in season two while Aaron Jeffery departed after 3 seasons.

“When Aaron did McLeod’s Daughters there was a moment when the women started to turn on each other. So we were waiting for it, but it hasn’t happened once. These are women are frickin’ hard workers and they honour the script.”

“When I did the audition the character was an Aussie”

As Deputy Governor Will Jackson, Magasiva joined the series following a successful career in New Zealand, in film and TV projects including Stickmen, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Power Rangers and Shortland Street.

Wentworth came out of nowhere for me. When I did the audition the character was an Aussie. I put something down on tape and they liked it. But I never thought of Australia as a market for me. I thought I’d go for the the US. I didn’t think I’d get a chance here,” he says.

It was his high school drama teacher who suggested Magasiva try his luck at showbiz with a local commercial. He got the gig and was pleasantly surprised with the trappings of film work.

“I turned up and there was all this food on set! I looked at the table that people were eating off and I asked the Unit guy ‘Is that for free?’ And he said ‘Help yourself,’ and I just went to town!” he laughs.

“So I thought ‘Man I have to get more of the jobs for the free food.’”

“It’s weird being recognised in Australia.”

Wentworth has become steady work for Magasiva and scoring an acting nomination from the Monte Carlo TV Festival.

“I didn’t even know that award existed. I guess it means I am doing something right!” he reflects.

“It was great to be recognised, and I got a free trip to Monte Carlo with Danielle Cormack.

“But it’s weird being recognised in Australia. When I first came here nobody knew who I was, then at the end of Season 1 people started looking at me twice. Now they say ‘You’re that guy off Wentworth’ or some even call me ‘Will Jackson.’

“I get mistaken for All Blacks a lot, which I don’t mind!”

In his fourth season Magasiva films the majority of his scenes with Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack), Vera Bennett (Kate Atkinson) and Kaz Proctor (Tammy McIntosh).

“I miss working with Pamela (Rabe), but I have less to do with her this year,” he continues.”

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride from Season 1 following the death of Meg and finding out who did it. Season 4 is the first time Will enjoys his job without anything else. Everything is put to rest and there’s none of the emotional baggage.”

Wentworth airs 8:30pm Tuesdays on SoHo.

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