When Wanted began in 2016 the characters of Lola Buckley (Rebecca Gibney) and Chelsea Babbage (Geraldine Hakewill) were thrown together as 2 virtuous strangers in the middle of a crime caper.
By Season 3 much has transpired pushing the two their limits.
“Season 3 is about becoming outlaws and embracing that and deciding they’re not going back. They’re not going back to the lives they thought they wanted. Big time,” Rebecca Gibney explains.
“There’s no turning back because of the things they do in Season 3. Unless it becomes Orange is the New Black meets Wentworth. But that’s not going to happen. Wentworth has done incredibly well so we’re not going to try and compete with that!”
Gibney is co-creator and executive producer of the Seven series her company R&R Productions produced with Matchbox Pictures. In just two seasons the series has filmed in Sydney, rural Queensland, Thailand and New Zealand, but Season 3 shifts to South Australia.
“It’s putting women into situations that are so often inhabited by male characters.”
Its mix of female-led action and drama even landed it an International Emmy nomination.
“We try not to take ourselves too seriously. We’re on the run. It’s fun. It’s a rollicking adventure with drama and a bit of black humour. That was always the intention, with the tone,” she continues.
“It’s putting ordinary women in extraordinary situations. Would they happen in real life? Who knows? Maybe not. The point is as long as you’re having fun, and on the edge of your seat. It’s putting women into situations that are so often inhabited by male characters.
“It’s about trying to navigate a friendship, while trying to stay alive. And one that is entirely unlikely given the differences in the two characters.”
“We’ll let the audience figure out which ones are bad and which are good.”
Season 3 picks up after the arrest of Lola & Chelsea in NZ but with the introduction of new characters.
“With Season 3 we decided that it’s always a bit lecherous to have a couple of bad guys after them, so let’s throw in a couple of women. We’ll let the audience figure out which ones are bad and which are good.
“Hence we have the incredible Kerry Fox and the equally-amazing Kate Box join the cast. They are both phenomenal.
“(Lola & Chelsea are) in prison on remand waiting to be charged with a string of offences. But what they don’t know is they’ve also buried the body of Morrison (Anthony Phelan) who was shot in Season 2.
“Something happens in prison which then forces them on the run again so with a bunch of people after them, for various reasons.”
After interest from the South Australian Film Corporation, shooting took place in the Flinders Ranges, McLaren Vale, Riverland and Adelaide Hills.
“We knew the location as we were plotting, but we’ve realised what’s important is to go to the location and then plot. We plotted certain things and then went to South Australia and realised they weren’t going to work,” Gibney notes.
“South Australia has offered up such incredible locations.”
“Having said that, South Australia has offered up such incredible locations. Jocelyn Moorhouse, who is such a cinematic director, has done some epic episodes. They’re so visual it’s a bit Morricone and Tarantino, in a way. It’s like a gunfight at the OK Corral!
“SAFC made it easy to shoot there, offering all sorts of incentives and the people are awesome. The studios are first class.”
But acting and producing is no pushover, with Gibney conceding the demands of performing and the vast demands of producing were a challenge to juggle.
“I didn’t separate them very well so I got quite tired, going home to watch rushes and comment on edits or music. I’d be asleep thinking about a song that could go over a certain scene.
“I look at some of my performances and think ‘If I hadn’t been thinking about You Spin Me Right Round Baby and focussed on my performance it might have been a bit better!’ But that’s what happens when you wear 2 hats.”
Rising star Geraldine Hakewill returns as Chelsea Babbage with Gibney remaining a fervent fan.
“She’s an enigma. She has the body of a supermodel, the face of an angel, the brain of an Einstein, she was dux at her school, and she is a triple threat: singing, dancing, acting. But more importantly she’s just a really good human. Kind, funny and never throws tantrums.
“She’s a great person to have on set. I’m very lucky to have her in my life, and I always will, regardless of whether we do a Season 4.”
“We like the whole idea of Robin Hood-slash-Butch Cassidy”
As to how long a ‘chase’ series can realistically last, Gibney remains optimistic.
“It was always about creating characters that could be on the run but not necessarily forever. We like the whole idea of Robin Hood-slash-Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid vibe,” Gibney explains.
“They find a group of women in trouble and they decide they have to help them, which is the core of where the show could potentially go on.”
Should that happen expect yet another new backdrop for the adventures of Lola & Chelsea.
“Western Australia has been touted for the next one!” she smiles.
Wanted airs 8:30pm Mondays on Seven.