When the Wentworth cast reassemble at the top of each season for a group table read, it’s then that they learn what’s in store for their characters from Script Producer Marcia Gardner and Series Producer Pino Amenta.
Bernard Curry reveals, “We all sit around a big boardroom table and Marcia and Pino tell the story from start to finish, right through. It takes about an hour and a half.
“But that’s the point at which we are all fans of the show. The moment where everyone goes ‘Holy shit!’ It’s a great journey for us to go on because we know that’s what we’re going to be committing to for the next eight months of our life.”
“This season for Jake is about him continuing his redemption in the eyes of Vera”
So what can fans expect from this season for Officer Jake Stewart? He won’t say specifically, but teases, “I think this season for Jake is about him continuing his redemption in the eyes of Vera. I don’t think there is ever any real expectation in his eyes he’s going to get back with Vera, but that she will allow him to be a father figure in (baby) Grace’s life.
“I think that’s the end game for Jake: he’s going to prove to her that he is worthy.
“But in true Jake-style there will be some slip up, some transgression that happens, of course.”
“It’s like a family atmosphere”
Filming for 2020 episodes was completed some time ago, and production recently restarted on 2021 episodes after halting for COVID restrictions. Shooting on the Foxtel series benefits greatly from having their own expansive site in Newport, west of Melbourne.
“It’s like a family atmosphere,” Curry explains.
“You’ve got the sets, the studio, the production office, the editors …they are usually in an editing studio somewhere in South Melbourne. You’ve got the financial people, the writers’ room and the art department. Basically everybody is here on campus. So whenever we have lunch for the crew, everybody comes down.”
Indeed, the Wentworth cast are a tight-knit bunch, even finding room for humour in between intense filming scenes.
“You kind of have to because it’s the antidote to what goes on,” Curry says.
“Susie Porter’s just a riot. She’s so much fun to hang out with. When you’re working with such high calibre actors, you can literally just be sitting there pissing yourself laughing and they call ‘Action!’ and you’re on.
“Jane Hall said to me the other day, ‘I can’t believe I’m here. This is my favourite show.’
“Nobody’s going to allow you to fail”
“She was actually pretty nervous and I said, ‘You know what, don’t worry about it? Everybody’s here to make sure that everybody else does the best work and it’s a generous, and open environment. Nobody’s going to allow you to fail. So don’t feel like that that’s even an option. It allows us to become better actors to step up to everybody’s level, and it is a true ensemble cast.”
Also joining the series this season is Kate Box, Zoe Terakes, Vivienne Awosoga, Marta Dusseldorp, Peter O’Brien, Kevin Harrington and Tom Wren.
“I’m able to divorce myself from the character”
And although Curry is facing more volatile storylines for Jake, he doesn’t have any problem in switching off at the end of the day.
“I don’t feel like I do. I have my family to go back to. I have two kids that are kind of crazy, a wife at home and we just got a new puppy a week ago.
“But there’s no choice. You might do some really intense scenes, you drive home, and then you’re putting kids in the bath.
“I’m able to divorce myself from the character, as opposed to being the character. When we arrive here, we’re actors, then you get to set and then you become a character.
“That’s how I do it.”
Wentworth returns 8:30pm Tuesday July 28 on FOX Showcase.