Love My Way: articles

Love and Other Catastrophes

Love My Way has proven to be the little series that could, winning several awards and an ever-increasing audience.

Focusing on the emotional highs and lows of a makeshift modern family made up of relatives, in-laws, separated spouses, lovers and friends, the drama series is now entering its third year, with central character Frankie Paige, played by Claudia Karvan, slowly overcoming the heartbreak that followed the tragic death of her young daughter at the end of the show's first series. Moving from pay-TV channel W, the series will now have more exposure on movie channel Showtime.

Karvan, who co-created Love My Way, was engaging and forthright as she discussed the challenges of maintaining the show's momentum and maintaining her own balance despite a hectic schedule.

Q: Entering Love My Way's third year, I'm guessing you'd be encountering new challenges. But is there also a sense of security, like you've established yourselves?

A: There are new challenges, I guess, and we do set ourselves some pretty high hurdles to jump over. I won't talk about them in detail because we do deal with them quite swiftly in the first episode of the new series. Hopefully that'll go all right.

Certainly the first time around I was dealing with a mild degree of anxiety, being a creator of the show and a producer and being in it not many producers have to actually front up and promote the thing, so there were a few sweaty moments there.

This time around, I feel like we know the show very well. We're very objective about the second season, and my opinion is that it was slightly too weighty. This time, we've tried to balance the light and the dark and I think we're doing it pretty successfully. But by now we know the characters, we know what parts of their lives we want to explore and we know the strengths of the actors and how much responsibility we can place upon them. The level of collaboration has taken a step up, so there's a lot of creative discussion that is really satisfying.

There were a few despairing days in the early plotting sessions "What the hell do we do with everyone now?" We didn't want to create gratuitous drama; we wanted it to spring organically from the relationships.

So we're exploring Julia's relationship with her family, which we haven't done so much in the past we have her sister arriving, living in the house with Julia and Charlie. We felt like we'd put them through the wringer enough, so we had to introduce an outside source because we couldn't manufacture anymore drama between the two of them alone. Then Frankie's world has expanded with the introduction of Ben Mendelsohn's character Lewis and his son Dylan there's the stepmother/stepson relationship that emerges.

We're still looking for the meaning of family, really. Still playing around with the idea of what families are these day, how people hold them together, how infuriating they are and how satisfying they are.

Q: So the familiarity that the show has built up can be something of a double-edged sword.

A: Yeah, you're aware you can let people down.

People have invested in these characters and you don't want to disappoint them. I felt that more with the second series; with the third series I feel a bit more assured. But we've got a bigger audience than we've ever had, so the show has been a real slow burn in that way. And people are buying the DVDs, so we've definitely got a committed audience, which is nice to know.

Q: You're an actor and a producer on Love My Way. Is there a role you feel more comfortable in?

A: It depends on the question. It depends on the day too. Generally if people want to ask me a production question when I'm on set as an actor they'll bring it up and I'll swap hats.

Q: Still, Love My Way strikes me as a very inclusive production. Everyone seems confident in offering their two cents.

A: On jobs I've done in the past, it's very interesting how the writers will work in isolation and then the director will take over, and there's not a lot of crossover between the two.

That seems to me that it could be a real problem because ideas aren't carried through or explained so a lot can be lost in the mix. But we're happy to talk it over last night we had a meeting until 10.30pm at one of the writers' houses with the directors and producers.

A lot that comes out of that can be really fruitful. The best idea always wins out in the end, and I find that it's a really good way to work.

Q: Do you ever think it'd be easier just to have your character to deal with, though?

A: Oh, of course!

Q: Talking with people associated with the show, there's the impression that Love My Way is lightening up a little with this series.

A: That is the case, and not superficially so. I think we deserved it. I feel like series three is tonally more similar to the first half of series one.

The first one dealt with family, I think these new, blended forms of family that are emerging these days, often for the better. The second series explored whether love can prevail, whether it can survive the terrible blow the characters received.

The third series is slightly more disparate, but it is about the history these characters have shared and how it can keep them together that love does prevail. It's certainly more difficult to put your finger on what the third series is about.

Q: What kinds of challenges face the characters this time around?

A: Lewis's challenge is that he's a bit of a control freak. He's trying to ward off this web of relationships that Frankie has and trying to keep her all to himself. He's probably the most orthodox of the characters, so he doesn't like the history that Frankie has with Charlie and Tom relationships based on history rather than blood.

Tom's journey is to do with not having a sense of place. He's a single guy, no kids, and a lot of disposable income, and there are frustrations and a self-destructive impulse that comes up.

And for Julia and Charlie, it's all about trying to be the super-couple. They're very Sydney, very into career and real estate and the like. And Frankie has met a guy she loves, and she wonders why she loves him when there's all this stuff that gets in the way.

At times it feels like she's pushed to the corners of her own life, so she's struggling to hold onto her old family and her art and her role as a mother, whatever form that takes. There's still anger there, still a feeling of trying to reconcile herself with what she's ended up with. She's trying to appreciate it, move forward, not be bitter and accept love, even if she doesn't seem to trust it. She still has a lot to work through.

Q: You've taken on a lot with this show. Does it ever feel overwhelming?

A: It's amazing how much stress and anxiety can take up your time. If you don't buy into it, you have a lot more time to do things because you don't have this white noise of panic in your head.

It's nice that that has kind of disappeared this time around. It's very pleasant. But I don't know how things I have worked out. I've got two kids now as well. I feel very fulfilled. There's a lot to be said for happiness. It can create a lot of energy.

Love My Way Season Three begins Monday, February 26 at 8.30pm

Source: Rural Press Network

By Guy Davis
February 21, 2007
Milton news