Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Shot at the big time in US

WHEN you think of method acting - of really becoming one with the character - you think of names like Brando, Pacino and Nicholson.

It may seem a stretch to add Rachael Carpani to that illustrious list.

But the former McLeod's Daughters actor, can be congratulated on the research she put into her latest role as a master rum blender on the American TV drama Cane.

Yep, she consumed a lot of rum.

"I hadn't drunk rum before I did the role," Carpani says.

"I thought I should taste it, so I bought a couple of bottles and had a few sips at night and I started to like it. I definitely learnt the difference between good and bad rum."

The 27-year-old actor has traded in her riding gear from McLeod's Daughters for a five-episode run on Cane, playing rum blender Terry Greenway opposite high-profile US actor Jimmy Smits.

Carpani describes Terry as a feisty lass from a fictional Australian rum company called Harbour One, who joins the Duque's distillery.

While Carpani did get the chance to sample some fine Cuban rums while she was on set, what she is actually consuming on camera is a long way from strong rum.

"It was coloured water," she reveals.

"I don't know what that colouring was, but after three hours of drinking that stuff, I felt sick."

Carpani has a chuckle at the notion that a 20-something who chooses to dress up like "Barbie" could be a master rum blender.

"I spent a long time on the computer before I left for LA, Googling what a rum blender actually did," she says.

"I'm assuming most blenders are over 45 years old.

"But the Duques were supposed to be thrown by her arrival. They were meant to find it ludicrous.

"So I embraced the fact she looked nothing like a rum blender."

The role is a coup for Carpani, given that it's her first US gig since leaving McLeod's Daughters last year. But it's also something of an achievement that she is playing an Australian in a big-budget US show.

While there are plenty of Aussie actors portraying Americans in Hollywood, being allowed to use your own accent isn't so common and can be compared with Emilie de Ravin's appearance as Claire on the landmark series Lost.

"It is rare (to play an Aussie). I was really lucky," Carpani says.

"But I think that, for the role, being Australian had that air of mystery about it. She was from the other side of the world."

Carpani - who is dividing her time between Australia and LA, since leaving McLeod's - recalls her frantic dash to the set in Los Angeles for her first day of filming.

"I shot the audition in Australia during the week. On Friday night, I was told I may have to leave for LA on the Sunday and on Monday I went straight into make-up on set."

And there was no chance of easing into the role, as Carpani's first scenes called for lengthy dialogue.

"I remember being on the plane trying to memorise my lines and thinking, 'I'm not going to be able to do this. I'm going to get fired as soon as I get there'. But I always think that."

Because of the US writers' strike, Carpani's gig on Cane was cut short.

The upside is that it has given her a chance to spend more time to seek out work opportunities in Australia.

While there are rumours Carpani might star in a new Aussie drama, there's also speculation she may reprise her role as Jodi for the final season of McLeod's - but she is keeping mum on both fronts.

"I can't say anything. I have heard the rumours, but I don't know myself. Personally, it would be lovely (to do McLeod's)," she says.

"It was such a wonderful five years of my life. They were my early 20s that I spent down in Adelaide on McLeod's. I was very lucky to get five years of stable work."

January 08, 2008
The Courier Mail