Marshall Law: articles


Lisa walks on wild side

Lisa McCune reluctantly concedes, with a twist of her mouth and a shrug of her shoulders that maybe, just maybe, she is consumed by her characters.

When she was playing Maggie Doyle in Blue Heelers, her life was as well ordered as her character -- she worked hard and diligently, practising her lines each evening, never being part of the social scene, always being Little Miss Perfect.

Now, after a break of almost two years, during which time she's had her son, Archer, now one, she's back on prime time television as Little Miss Imperfect.

Ros Marshall in Marshall Law to be exact, which premieres on Seven next week. Ros is a mess of a young woman who drinks like a fish, picks up men in bars, works as a Crown prosecutor in the Magistrates' Court and whose office is a tip.

As she sits in a dark corner of a restaurant, wolfing down food as though it's been days since she's eaten, McCune announces: "Yes, I was pretty anal at school. Now when I get my script, I don't bother to highlight it with different colours. I just go: cue there, here's what I've got to say.

"Maybe it's a Ros thing, but I am trying to loosen up a bit. There was stuff that I used to be obsessive about but now it's like ... what was I doing?

"Maggie was like that. Yes, maybe that's where I got it from in my 20s, maybe I just fell into the character."

Which is all a bit scary considering McCune is about to head to New York to rehearse for the lead role in the Melbourne stage production of Cabaret.

Sally Bowles takes character development right to the edge, even over it, and conjures up the most unlikely image of Lisa McCune belting out bawdy ballads while high-kicking it from the top of restaurant tables.

For the myriad fans of the Golden Girl who don't want to go that far, there is still the realisation that the lovely Maggie Doyle really is dead and that part of McCune's life is well and truly behind her.

"When I first found out she was leaving Blue Heelers, I fought it," she says.

"I didn't want her to die. I was very upset about it and I thought it was wrong. Now, in retrospect, I think it was a very good thing.

"Hopefully, if I have any talent, people will believe the world of Ros Marshall, they'll be taken to a different place and there won't be any question of that person."

McCune should have no fears that she's unbelievable as Ros Marshall.

There's a perkiness about her, especially in the way she looks up from under perfectly arched eyebrows with either a twinkle of mischief or a dart of anger in her eyes.

There's a smile that lights up a room, a pout that's thunderous and most of all, scruffy hair and clothes that look like they have just tumbled out of the dryer. "Yes, the show is very different, especially for me," she says. "Maggie went straight into the police force from school. Ros has seen much more of the world and, personally, it's great to be a bit older as an actor and playing that sort of character."

Marshall Law is very much character-driven, unlike White Collar Blue which also premieres next week and is more of an action drama. With the plethora of new local TV productions over the past weeks, McCune is obviously intrigued about the competition. She asks about Nine's Young Lions and reference is made to the ABC's MDA, which is also shot in Melbourne.

With all these new shows, Australia's acting, writing and production talent is being put on the line since there are murmurs that there is neither the timeslots nor the money for all to get second chances.

McCune, however, is forever looking forward, with hopes of more theatre work.

"I want to do My Fair Lady, perhaps a couple of Sondheims, then I'd be a happy girl. I love theatre, love it," she says.

"After doing that person in that show for so long, having the Logie popularity that went with that character, it made it hard for me to be taken semi-seriously.

"The theatre has given me a bit more legitimacy. I want a kind of acceptance from my peers, the recognition that I'm not just a flash-in-the-pan TV person."

Marshall Law, Tuesday, Seven, 8.30pm, Wednesday, 8.30pm

August 08, 2002
The Daily Telegraph