East of Everything: articles

When the chemistry is right

WE'VE heard so much about chemistry. Mel and Kochie have it, David and Kim had it from the start, Karl and Jess didn't but Karl and Lisa do.

While chemistry between on-air partners can make or break the ratings when it comes to breakfast and morning television, it's also important when producing Australian drama.

And the newest home-grown series East Of Everything, set to premiere on ABC1 this week, is benefiting from a good on-camera match between its leads Susie Porter and Richard Roxburgh.

"Chemistry is something that you can't fake, and it's just the luck of the draw," Porter says.

"Hopefully Richard and I have good chemistry, he is a very charismatic person. He was not what I expected at all. I hadn't worked with him before, he was a lot more relaxed than I expected and he has a great sense of humour.

"You can have a good laugh about things (with Richard) and I think that helps, we felt like we did have good chemistry."

Roxburgh plays Art Watkins, a travel writer who is forced to leave an assignment in Bhutan and return to the family home at Broken Bay - a fictional version of Byron Bay - when his mother dies.

Porter's character Eve Pritchard is Art's childhood sweetheart who left Broken Bay for the big smoke but returned when she realised that while everyone knew her business, at least they cared about her.

"She definitely has aspects of me," Porter says of her East Of Everything alter-ego.

"When you play a role there are always parts of yourself, there are always a few similarities, but in this character there are a lot.

"Once out of drama school you play slightly less or slightly more versions of yourself. I prefer completely different characters. As an actor it is more of a challenge to be completely different from yourself."

Porter, who has been busy with television since RAN screened in 2006, says she was keen to join East Of Everything because "it ticked all the boxes".

"I loved the writing, the group of people who came on board were amazing -- it was a dream job and you can't do much better than working with Richard, Tom (Long) and Gia (Carides)," she says.

"To have two months in Byron Bay, to have my winter in Byron Bay, was great. I love the sense of community and the physical beauty of the place, I love the fact that you get to know everyone.

"To be filming on the beach and see whales breaking was pretty amazing. I had a nice place to stay, you can get great coffee, there are some great restaurants, and I loved doing the lighthouse walk."

Porter says the "style" of the six-part series was something that also drew her to the production.

"These kind of dramas have the values we would love society to have, it's a way of life we would secretly love to escape into," she says.

"It was one of those jobs that come along and you think, 'how fabulous, I am doing this stuff and getting paid for it'."

By Sarah Nicholson
March 25, 2008
The Courier-Mail