From supporting role to Wentworth powerhouse
"I was always just tagging along with Franky," says Katrina Milosevic -one of 4 original characters bidding Wentworth farewell.
When she first auditioned for Wentworth in 2012, producers worried Katrina Milosevic might be “too girly, too pretty” for the role of Sue “Boomer” Jenkins.
But Milosevic, who had just toured with Cate Blanchett and the Sydney Theatre Company had director Kevin Carlin in her corner.
“I got the character breakdown and it was something like ‘Boomer is Frankie’s muscle. She’s built like a brick shithouse and not the sharpest tool in the shed.’ And that was kind of it,” she recalls.
“Kevin said ‘Don’t wear any makeup. Rough yourself up'”
“Kevin said ‘Don’t wear any makeup. Rough yourself up and when you come in just give it everything you got.’
“Jacqui Brennan (Linda Miles) was reading opposite me and I did this scene and she was clutching at her ear, saying ‘You were screaming in my ear!’ I just got so lost in the moment. But I got the role.”
Milosevic is one of 4 original cast members -along with Brennan, Kate Atkinson and Robbie Magasiva- bidding farewell to the hit Foxtel series.
Season 8B “The Final Sentence” will wrap up storylines with furious energy, twists and high stakes, and doubtless have frenzied fans on the edge of their seat.
Boomer’s role has grown over the seasons from a loosely-written supporting character to a fan favourite who delivers drama, humour and an unmistakeable but endearing working-class honesty.
“I was always just tagging along with Franky”
“I had dialogue, but none of the stories were centered around me. I was always just tagging along with Franky (Nicole da Silva) but I was contracted for every episode,” she tells TV Tonight.
“I’d done Stingers for a couple of years and Kevin cast me in that as well. He allowed me to fully embrace whatever I wanted to do with the character within the boundaries of the scene, obviously. But I didn’t want to be floating around in the background. I thought it was such a rich world, and I had an opportunity.
“Unlike the other main cast, I wasn’t contracted for a certain amount of seasons. I was contracted for season to season. So when the first season came to an end I said to my agent, ‘I think I need to make this more secure for me and I have to be ready to walk away if this doesn’t go my way.’
“Yes I’ll come back, but only if I’m made main cast.”
“You grab any little bit of control that you can and that was my opportunity. So when it came to negotiating, I said, ‘Yes I’ll come back, but only if I’m made main cast.’ But there was no fight there. They were so lovely.”
Wentworth is a rare production beast with writers and producers on set with cast, originally in Clayton before relocating to Newport, Melbourne. Such collaboration allowed for Milosevic to contribute ideas to producers, such as a storyline involving transgender inmate Maxine (Socratis Otto).
“I said, what happens if Boomer falls in love with the man that Maxine was? What if they find a way to forge some sort of connection? That began the whole storyline of Maxine and Boomer wanting a baby.
“That collaboration doesn’t always happen. So I’m very aware that I was tenacious, but but also they were receptive.”
“The Final Sentence” features Leah Purcell, Pamela Rabe, Kate Atkinson, Robbie Magasiva, Kate Jenkinson, Bernard Curry, Rarriwuy Hick, Susie Porter, Kate Box, Jane Hall, Zoe Terakes, Vivienne Awosoga, David de Lautour, Jacquie Brennan, and guest Marta Dusseldorp.
“What you see this season is a different Boomer”
Milosevic isn’t giving anything away about what it’s in store for the inmates, nor her beloved Sue ‘Boomer’ Jenkins.
“In a nutshell I think what you see this season is a different Boomer. You see glimpses early on, but because of everything over the eight years that she’s been through, you see her make different choices and she chooses happiness. So I’ll just say that and you can wait and see if that works out for her.”
Bidding farewell to a character that affords her such range does not come easy. From a supporting character to one of the show’s favourites, Milosevic grew the role into one of the most dimensional in the rich Wentworth ensemble of actors.
“They get good hair and makeup. So I think it’s pretty bloody even trade off if you ask me!”
Wentworth returns 8:30pm Tuesday on FOX Showcase.