Asher Keddie is normally cool with the rigorous demands of shooting TV drama. Flipping from humour to serious stuff is all in a day’s work.
But The Cry‘s emotional subject tested her in unexpected ways.
“A glass of wine is needed at the end of a shooting day!” she tells TV Tonight.
“I’m pretty good at flicking the switch but this shoot I have found a little more taxing. Emotionally taxing.
“It is material that is confronting”
“It is material that is confronting and because Jacquelin Perske has written it, it’s really authentic.
“She was like that on Love My Way and everything she has written since.
“You can’t get away with anything that isn’t on point, but that’s great for an actor.
“We’re looking at themes like the psychology of early motherhood. And the myths. There’s stuff that brings up a lot, especially if you are a mother. I had my child 3 years ago and this is confronting.”
The 4 part drama, filmed in both the UK and Australia, has an Aussie writer (Perske) and director (Glendyn Ivin) at the helm.
Victoria star Jenna Coleman plays Joanna, new wife to Aussie ex-pat Alistair (Ewen Leslie), who both visit Australia for a custody battle for teen Chloe (Markella Kavenagh) with ex-wife Alexandra (Keddie). But nobody predicted what would happen next….
“Suffice to say it is fairly confronting material,” Keddie reveals. “It’s been an interesting shoot. Glendyn is very focussed, very gentle. We’re under pressure to get a lot shot and it’s a very complex story. There’s a lot that is non-linear, which is tricky, so everyone is on their toes with the pitch, th tone and jumping back and forth, the flashbacks….
“The characters are very good at lying and very good at being honest when either is required.”
The plot of the psychological drama led to over 6 million British viewers caught up in a guessing game of precisely what unfolded. But Keddie is cautious to avoid spoilers.
“It’s not an easy subject to talk about, and we want to talk about it. But it would be such a shame and very easy to give away something and spoil it.
“It is sit-forward-and-try-and-work-it-out.”
“It is sit-forward-and-try-and-work-it-out. And that’s what we are doing every day as we shoot, so I feel confident that when it hits the screen and Glendyn’s worked his magic it will be lean-forward TV.
“Because it involves children I’m not going to say I find it easy. It’s really moving to read, perform and think about.
“There are moments that are thrilling and quite scary but in an emotional way. An uncomfortable way.”
The cast also includes Alex Dimitriades, Shareena Clanton and Stella Gonet.
Keddie, who was last week announced for SBS drama The Hunting, is also proceeding with her own projects with Matchbox Pictures, allowing her to develop new skills and industry power.
“I’ve got a lot to learn about the business side of producing.”
“We’re getting there. It’s just taking time in between other projects. It’s so tricky to get the people you want on a project when they are really good at what they do, and they have other things to do as well.
“‘What do you mean I’ve gotta wait?'”she laughs.
“I’m learning new ropes. However long I have been in this industry, and however much I know how a set runs, I’ve got a lot to learn about the business side of producing.
“But I feel very buoyed and supported by Matchbox, they are nurturing very well.”
Whilst she remains tight-lipped on the key project, she says she is “open to both”when it comes to a question of being in front or behind the camera.
Meanwhile The Cry is set to keep viewers guessing, including whether her character is virtuous, villainous or something in between.
“Anyone could be a villain. It’s quite a fine line to walk. Each scene we play, as the story unravels. That’s what I feel is really compelling. Apart from the actual content being deeply moving, what’s compelling is the way the story pans out over those 4 hours. I don’t know how she’s done it. The clues along the way.”
So will The Cry require popcorn or tissues?
“Popcorn and tissues and maybe a glass of red.”
The Cry screens 8:30pm Sundays from February 3 on ABC.