Aussie Harriet Dyer couldn’t believe her luck when she landed a lead role in a new NBC psychic medium drama, The InBetween.
The former Love Child actress tried her luck in auditions at the competitive Pilot season and it paid off. Big time.
“I was just this Australian girl who wandered in and gave it a swing, and they liked it. It’s like a unicorn, a hole in one… first pilot season and I got a role and it’s going ahead. That doesn’t happen much anymore so I’m pinching myself,” she tells TV Tonight.
“It’s a rather annoying story for people who have been in LA a little while.”
Dyer stars as Cassie Bedford, who has visions, both past and future future, sometimes encountering unsettled spirits who need her help. She reluctantly uses her powers to assist her father, Det. Tom Hackett (Paul Blackthorne), and his new partner, former FBI Agent Damien Asante (Justin Cornwell) to solve cases.
The series comes from writerMoira Kirland (Castle, Madam Secretary, Medium) and debuted in the US last month.
“She’s a normal young woman who works at bar, with a degree that she never uses and she doesn’t know what she wants to do. But alongside all that she sees these spirits,” Dyer explains.
“Through the research I did it kind of comes through around 15 so by 25 she’s pretty well-versed in the other side of things but trying to live her life as a young woman. I think it can be a very isolating situation, though.
“Nobody else knows what she’s going through, very few believe it and you don’t want to be labelled as crazy.
“You just want to be treated as normal. So for Cassie there are very few people that she trusts and lets in.
“She’s a dichotomy of open and closed. She’s struggling with the tension between who she is and whether she wants to be a medium or not.”
Dyer encountered a real medium, unplanned, at a convention in the US who had a surprising impact on her and was positive about her on screen portrayal.
“She enjoyed that my portrayal of a medium was quite casual, because that’s what it’s like. She doesn’t see a spirit and drop her coffee cup. It’s just ‘Oh yes, you again,'” she continues.
“I didn’t tell her that I didn’t believe because I didn’t want to offend her. I just said I wasn’t very spiritual.
“She disagreed and said ‘I think you are spiritual and I can see that in you.’ I don’t have many people who have passed away but she saw someone with me, that she couldn’t have known about.
“It was so bang on and bizarro…. Now I’m a believer. It was that simple.
“I just walked away with a different appreciation of what a medium is, and what life is as well.
“This isn’t the end… that’s a good feeling.
“It’s an age-old question: is there something after this?
“That’s why the show is enjoyable. It makes us feel better about life and therefore, death.”
Dyer, who recently appeared on Matt Okine comedy The Other Guy, was also impressed by the scale of US filming versus Australian production. She admits to not knowing she had her own stand-in.
“I kept seeing this girl dressed quite similarly to me, and she looked a lot like me. When I was shooting the first scenes she was watching me rehearse and writing it down. I thought ‘If I get fired does she step in?’” she recalls.
“I had to ask ‘Who’s that girl who keep looking at me?’
“The biggest difference is the budget and size. They have bigger toys and more time. There’s not that feeling of ‘If we don’t get this in the next 30 seconds it will ruin the episode.’
“In Australia you shoot in a house in Leichardt and wait for the planes, but there you have beautiful custom-built sets that are replicas. Even the kitchen sink works, it’s incredible.
“We have less money in Australia but there is just as much heart.”
Having recently filmed a second season of The Other Guy for Stan, Dyer is now publicising The InBetween in the US, looking forward to a break and awaiting news of a second season from NBC.
“If I can keep changing it up between the countries and the styles then I will really think I’ve actualised a dream.”
The InBetween premieres 8:30pm Wednesday on Universal.