Crashburn: articles

Catherine McClements

Reality TV: Actor Catherine McClements believes her latest venture will strike a chord with viewers. CrashBurn is a 13-part TV series that tells the story of a relationship breakdown. "There are events and circumstances we can all relate to," McClements says.

Catherine has talent to burn

THE camera follows Catherine McClements as she walks down the dimly lit hallway to the kitchen, all the time talking to Sacha Horler, who is resting against the kitchen table.

Horler is lamenting the way men have treated her. McClements, taking toast from the toaster, agrees that males are a weird breed.

The director calls cut and the crew start setting up the next scene.

We are in the Port Melbourne studios where they are filming Ten's new 13-part relationship series, CrashBurn.

McClements plays the passionate, funny Rosie, whose 10-year marriage to Ben has collapsed.

The story opens with Rosie and Ben (Aaron Blabey) seeing a marriage counsellor to try to salvage something out of the wreckage.

Told in flashback, half of each episode is seen through Rosie's eyes and half through Ben's.

McClements believes it's a story that will strike a chord with all people who have been in long-term relationships, married or not.

"Andrew Knight's script rings so true that throughout the series there are events and circumstances we can all relate to," McClements says.

The intensely private actor has been with actor/partner Jacek Koman for some years and the couple have a two-year-old child.

When we first meet Rosie she's in her mid-30s. Recounting the 12 or so years she's known Ben, Rosie blames him for the breakdown of the relationship, but deep down she knows she's equally to blame.

"I think it is these realities and the way they are revealed that will be recognised by viewers," McClements says.

"Rosie is a complex woman. Some may say self-deluded. She was in her early 20s when she met Ben. People change.

"It's as if she was always striving for something, to be someone, but is never quite sure just where it is she wants to finish up.

"In a sense, it's all about ambition, I suppose. What you want to be, what you want to achieve. These are issues familiar to us all."

McClements, since graduating from NIDA in 1985, has become one of our most respected actors, though as a teenager it was a love of Australian history and a desire to be a librarian that most excited her.

It was a bet that started McClements on her acting career.

"I had a wager with a friend that we should both audition for NIDA, but when I got there my friend didn't turn up," she says.

"I went ahead with the audition and got in."

Best known for her role as Goldie in more than 100 episodes of Water Rats alongside Colin Friels, McClements won the 1998 Logie for Most Outstanding Actress.

"I learned so much on Water Rats, not only about acting but also about coping with public recognition," she says.

She also landed an AFI Best Actress Award for her role in the movie, Weekend With Kate.

But some of her finest work was in the terrific telemovie Waiting at the Royal and a guest stint in The Secret Life of Us.

That role, as Evan's older girlfriend, also won her a 2001 Best Actress AFI.

"I've been very fortunate in the diversity of the roles I've been offered," she says.

"We often say that decent roles for women are few and far between, but I can't complain."

She was most recently seen on TV playing the apple of Hugo Weaving's eye in the Ten Network mini-series, After the Deluge.

McClements says the strength of Knight's writing in CrashBurn impressed her.

"Andrew had written Deluge, which was so strong and rich, and the same qualities are inherent in CrashBurn," she says. "So much of what he explores, the exhilaration, frustration, humiliation in a relationship, rings true.

"I've been extremely lucky in my private life, but there's nothing in this series that we all haven't experienced at some time."

By Robert Fidgeon
August 13, 2003
The Herald Sun