The biggest issue facing the Australian film/TV industry is:
Two things – funding and conservative casting – there are so many exciting creative things going on around Australia in the industry but there isn't enough money to nurture it, and people aren't willing to take risks in casting or story choices.
East West 101 – the best drama series on Australian Television. It's funny, I don't have a huge role but I love being a part of it because it is such a well scripted, challenging show, with great cast, awesome crew and one of the most fun sets I've been on.
Everyone I know who's seen it loves it. I iust want more people to see it, not so much for me, but for what the show represents.
Oh, that's probably not in film. As a doctor, I've made some mistakes, not huge ones, luckily, but any mistake that potentially hurts another human being is always a big one. That's where I always judge myself most harshly, when I'm in the emergency department.
Maybe that makes is easier for me to laugh at myself on set, because those mistakes become more "in perspective".
I remember when I first started on All Saints, I asked one of the leads what he did on set. And I tend to be silly on set, dancing and making funny faces, trying to make people laugh. This did lead to me closing a car door on my dress, and as I went to run away as they called "ACTION", I did a carefully choreographed (NOT) dress rip, and was in my underwear… not my greatest moment.
Worst filmmaking/TV experience:
I once had to stand on a jackhammer and be bounced around as if I was on a pogo stick, but they made a fake one to be safe. Unfortunately, it also wasn't strong enough to lift me off the ground when it vibrated, so I had to fake it.
I was in a harness, tied to ropes on either side, and had to physically lift the jackhammer off the ground with my own arms, pretending to be bouncing around and laughing while people pulled me from side to side.
Suffice to say, it wasn't anywhere near that much fun, and not only did I end up with huge bruises on my legs from where the jackhammer kept hitting me, I also couldn't actually lift my arms past about 45 degrees for the next four days.
Best filmmaking experience:
Shooting The Last One one night, at a bus stop in Glebe. It was pouring with rain, and we were slowly getting flooded. It got to the point where the film crew had to move quite far away to not drown and it really felt like we were just living the moment in a little island oasis, perfectly lit under a fake streetlight at a bus stop in the pouring rain, falling in love.
Classics I would like to remake:
I would love to make a movie version of the legend of Mulan – that is my ultimate dream, to play her, the female chinese warrior! Other favourites include – Singing in the Rain… do you think I could replace Gene? Hehe, only kidding, though that would be an amazing role to play.
The Joy Luck Club… I would love to be in it, because a lot of it is very real in my personal history. Thelma and Louise… because it's the best story about girly friendship ever and I couldn't live without my best friends!
The Colour Purple… an amazing story, and so well cast, it would be hard to reproduce.
Favourite film or TV show of all time:
Can I have two? Never Been Kissed to make me smile and Life as a House to make me cry.
I'd spend my last $20 on:
Icecream!!!!!!!! Lots of it.
If money were no object what would your next film be?
I've actually written a drama set in a hospital about the journey of an intern finding her way. I'd love to see it made – show the world the human side of medicine and doctors. It's meant to be set in Byron Bay, Lismore and Sydney, and there are some great medical scenes, so a bit of budget would be awesome! Either that, or a female ninja assassin drug runner action flick set in Paris!
If I weren't in the film industry, I'd be:
A doctor… which luckily I am. I'm pretty much living the dream 🙂 and terribly thankful everyday.
If a film about your life were made, who would play you?
Gosh, I don't know. Not sure if anyone would want to?
The second series of East West 101 is currently screening on SBS One on Wednesday nights at 8.30pm. The third series will be shown later this year. This article originally appeared in the December-January issue of IF magazine (#138).