H2O - Just Add Water: articles

Mermaid power

Heine says the tails are difficult to lift and weigh from 12 to 15 kilograms. The costumes took six months to build, with the tails made from body casts and comprising individually hand-crafted scales. Once in costume, the girls are lifted into the water.

"You basically do have your legs stuck together," Heine says. "Sometimes we just roll down the beach."

Shiff says the actors had to be strong swimmers and "psychologically able to stay and act underwater."

But ask Heine how you go about acting underwater and she giggles: "We've got saltwater in our eyes so we can't see what we're doing - it's pretty hard.".

Unlike Ocean Girl who was an alien, Shiff says he wanted to tell a story about real teenagers.

"The stories emanate from them being normal teenage girls trying to cope with the fact that they're also mermaids," he says.

The show has sold well internationally and a second series has been green-lit. The appeal, Shiff says, is in doing something that has universal themes.

"You need to be pushing buttons with themes around the world: friendship, adventure, growing up and coping with families and boyfriends and girlfriends," he says.

"On top of that you've got the fun that you have if you're going to get a tail when you're touched by water."

Shiff hopes the show will appeal to teenage girls and boys, as well as younger viewers.

"It's aspirational - you've got your 12-year-olds out there thinking, 'What's it like if a boy tries to kiss me?' And it's proactive modelling for girls - girls can do anything."

By Heather Gallagher
July 06, 2006
The Age