Carla Cametti PD: articles

Diana Glenn finds satisfaction in playing Carla

DIANA Glenn may have missed out on an AFI Award, but she still walked away a winner at last month's ceremony.

The Sydney-born actress, who once struggled to convince casting agents she was good enough for lead roles, was nominated for her revealing turn as a sex worker in the pay-TV series Satisfaction.

While she lost to Underbelly's Kat Stewart, any doubts Glenn had about her career were soon put to rest.

"The highlight of the AFIs was running into my first agent," she explains. "She has since closed the agency, but has continued to look after Bud Tingwell, who was always her long-time client.

"She said to me: 'Would you come and say hi to Bud, who's a really big fan?'

"I just thought: Bud Tingwell is a fan? That has made my life. He is a national treasure, so that was such a treat."

Tingwell isn't the only one who thinks highly of Glenn, who bagged three sought-after television roles after returning from an unsuccessful stint in Los Angeles.

"I've been quite greedy in terms of work," Glenn says of Satisfaction, the short-lived drama Canal Road and new SBS detective series Carla Cametti PD.

"It's been a wonderful, wonderful two years. I've not stopped working and it's been all very different jobs."

Playing Carla

Glenn plays the title character in Carla, a sexy, six-part whodunit based in Melbourne co-starring Vince Colosimo, Sullivan Stapleton and Nicole Da Silva.

"Carla was my dream character in many ways," Glenn says. "She's so much fun and has so much sass. I just loved that you've got this kind of adventure story, which is headed by a female character, and there's also these lovely comic moments and a bit of romance.

"I genuinely love this show. Even if it wasn't me playing Carla I would want to watch it because I think she's gorgeous."

Integral to the series is Carla's Italian family, although Glenn (who is half-Greek, not Italian) says the producers didn't want viewers to draw comparisons with that other Melbourne-based crime series.

"They made a distinct decision to show a different side of the Italian world, because Underbelly has been so popular," she says.

"They wanted to make it very much inner city or suburban, which is just as rich and rings just as true. You still get to see all the things we love about Melbourne . . . all the little alleys and cafes. That kind of culture is depicted beautifully in this."


The Victorian capital is probably the closest thing Glenn can call to home after spending much of her life on the move.

"Dad often had his own business, so we just moved constantly," she says. "I was never anywhere for more than two or three years. We lived at one point just out of Byron Bay, when my parents decided to be avocado farmers, which was a very strange departure from accountancy and engineering.

"As an adult I can't seem to sit still either."

Glenn managed to get halfway through an arts degree at university, majoring in languages, before deciding to relocate to Paris.

"I ended up living next door to (British actress) Kate Beckinsale, which was hilarious," she says.

"We became friends and I got this tiny role, which I think got cut out of some Belgium film she was doing at the time.

"But I remember the first time I went to a theatre and the first time I stepped on to a film set, and both were just magical.

"It was just a world that I couldn't get enough of so I came back to Australia and made a decision that that's what I wanted to do professionally, but didn't really know how to do it and my parents being engineers and accountants and part-time avocado farmers had no idea either so I just started working in theatre."

Bit parts in State Coroner and Neighbours followed, but Glenn soon grew frustrated with being unable to break through.

"I had a year of always being the second choice and I was so disheartened and wanted to give it up."

Encouraged by her then boyfriend, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She made a video tape in which she spliced herself into scenes with the cast of her favourite show, The Secret Life of Us, and sent it to the producers.

Breaking through

The gamble worked and she won the role of Jemima in the cult series.

"When I actually got the job, I just felt like I'd completely cheated my way in. I was petrified," she says.

"Fortunately, it was OK and they asked me back and just because of the popularity of that show I did step up a notch in terms of . . . you know, the casting agency hadn't ever noticed me before, so I think that was when things began to change."

Glenn says she might even give Hollywood another crack this year.

"It's always nice to go to the US when you've been working. You kind of feel less . . . desperate," she says.

"There's a little bit more strut in your stride when you walk into the audition."

Carla Cametti PD, SBS, Thursday, 8.30pm

By Erica Thompson
January 06, 2009
The Courier-Mail