Tess Haubrich in ‘Bad Mothers’.
Tess Haubrich jumped at the chance to play a key role in Bad Mothers at very short notice after Jessica Marais was forced to withdraw for health reasons – not least because she had never worked with female directors.
Sian Davies, Catriona McKenzie and Geoff Bennett directed the Nine Network’s ensemble comedy-drama from Jungle Entertainment and Filthy Productions.
“It’s quite shocking that I had never worked on shows with female directors, except on short films,” says Haubrich, whose credits include Pine Gap, Wolf Creek 2, Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, the Jackie Chan starrer Bleeding Steel and the Turner-Roache brothers Nekrotronic.
The Sydney-based actress was told one Friday night that she had won the role of Sarah in Bad Mothers and on the following Monday morning was in Melbourne for the start of two weeks pre-production.
However, she wasn’t there for the full two weeks as she had a prior commitment to go to New Zealand for five days to film a show, yet to be announced, for telco Spark’s streaming service Lightbox.
In the eight-part series which launches at 9 pm on February 18, Sarah’s perfect life as a GP, wife and mother of two is shattered when she discovers her husband, charming chef Anton (Daniel MacPherson) is having an affair. Even worse, her best friend is found murdered and Anton is arrested.
Fighting to prove her husband is innocent, Sarah gets unlikely help from the so-called bad mothers Maddie (Mandy McElhinney), her sister-in-law Danielle (Jessica Tovey) and personal trainer Bindy (Shalom Brune-Franklin).
Melissa George plays Sarah’s friend Charlotte, who is the president of the P&C. It was the first time Tess had worked with so many actresses in the same scenes.
She says: “In the first few episodes Sarah goes through so much I really would not wish that on anyone. I really loved playing her. As a mother she was so strong and puts family first.”
By coincidence, Tess and Dan had played husband and wife in Shane Abbess’ futuristic sci-fi thriller Infini five years ago, so it was easy to rediscover their chemistry.
Filthy Productions’ Gavin Strawhan, who co-created the show with Rachel Lang, was delighted with Tess’ performance. “She is statuesque and looks like a Greek goddess but she brought so many nuances to the role,” he tells IF.
Screen Australia funded the series in association with Film Victoria and support from Create NSW. The international distributor is Red Arrow.
Nine bills the show scripted by Lang, Strawhan, Tim Lee and Sarah Walker and produced by Jungle’s Chloe Rickard and Filthy Productions’ Steven Zanoski as a returnable series – music to the ears of all involved.
“I would love to play Sarah again and be in that cast again,” she says. “I was really excited when this opportunity came up. It was such a change of pace after working so much in the action and sci-fi genres. I never want to be typecast.”