When the original Halifax f.p. telemovies finished a long run on television in 2002, actress Mavournee Hazel was just 6 years old.
But she got a quick lesson on just how significant the revival was when friends heard she was up for a role in its revival, Halifax: Retribution.
“It was the reactions from my family, my parents and my friend’s parents, who were so excited about it coming back. So the traction came from that, but also, I was excited from an acting point of view to the chance to be working with Rebecca Gibney,” she tells TV Tonight.
“When I saw what the title was I wanted to be involved. I knew how great it was going to be and Rebecca is so passionate about the integrity of the show.
“I’ve definitely been learning very quickly from Rebecca and Claudia (Karvan), they’re both incredible. Every day I’m learning something new from them.
“Every director that’s come on for each of the (filming) blocks has brought something new and they will have such a strong vision for what they want. It’s been an incredible experience.”
Hazel plays 23 year old Zoe, stepdaughter to Jane Halifax (Gibney) and daughter of biological mother Mandy (Karvan).
Hazel, also 23 at the time of filming, finds herself playing a young woman at the centre of a tug of war, following the death of her father (Craig Hall). While Jane Halifax has a sniper on the loose to deal with, Zoe causes friction on the homefront.
“That causes a bit of tension”
“Zoe, on paper, detests the world that Jane’s involved in. Zoe’s a very liberal rocker and Jane is mates with cops. Zoe doesn’t like the law. So that causes a bit of tension,” says Hazel.
“Straight away I wanted to delve into the psyche of that. It’s such an interesting relationship for stepmother and stepdaughter. I really wanted to do that justice for the audience and make it real.
“That push and pull and being torn between wanting, and knowing that you’re hurting them… you can see you’re hurting them, but you can’t help yourself.
“It plays in that space for a lot of the series and hopefully will have a happy ending.”
But the former Neighbours star, who played Piper Willis for three and a half years, notes there are similarities in playing rebellious, unfiltered young women.
“I love playing high intensity, emotional roles”
“I love playing high intensity, emotional roles. I’m a Pisces, so maybe it come naturally. It’s fine line in not letting your work become therapy, but I feel like it’s almost following me in playing angst, hurt, emotional young girls,” she continues.
“But they’re not hysterical or unjustified.
“I’ve always known that acting is what I wanted to do and I had parents who supported that as well. But there was no movie or performance that made me want to do this. I’ve always been a performer and I’ve always loved acting.”
While Adelaide-born Hazel views international roles as a long way off, she is happy to be busy on the local front, and observing Gibney juggling both acting and producing on set.
“She’s so patient and generous. It’s incredibly hard what she’s doing, but she doesn’t make it look hard. So I have a lot of respect,” she admits.
“For now, acting is something that I really want to be focusing on and honing in on and I know I’ve got a lot more to learn. And I want to do that in Australia.
“I want to stay here and be a part of that next chapter for Australian TV and Film.”
Halifax: Retribution airs 8:40pm Tuesdays on Nine.