The Secret Life of Us: articles

series 4 cast

NEW life… the cast get to know one another in the new season of The Secret Life of Us

Breath of fresh air

A down-to-earth Brisbane girl is moving in on St Kilda’s cool set, writes Louise Crossen

Brooke Harman isn’t a household name… yet. But the young Brisbane actor will soon be a familiar face thanks to a starring role in The Secret Life of Us.

The show’s fourth season kicked off last night, and producers have brought in a raft of new talent after several series regulars called it quits last year. There were whispers the show wouldn’t be renewed, but Ten insists the revamped line-up is part of a “a new lease on Secret Life”.

Harman plays Bree, a bubbly hairdressing apprentice who shacks up with Evan and Kelly in sunny St Kilda. She is described in the press release as “a highly contagious virus, spreading everywhere and infiltrating everything”.

But “in a good way”, according to Harman.

“I think Bree is a breath of fresh air—both to Kel and Evan and the show,” she says.

“She’s very honest and open about her views on life—she can be a bit full on.” In a good way, naturally.

At 18, Harman is the youngest actor on set, but she’s already a screen veteran, making two feature films before graduating from high school. She juggled homework with roles opposite Guy Pearce (Til Human Voices Wake Us), Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom (Ned Kelly). It’s an impressive CV, but Harman remains unaffected.

“Things like Ned Kelly were so awesome,” she says. “The scale of it was amazing—we had a huge cast and humungous crew.

“And I got to work with people like Heath and Orlando.”

After finishing Grade 12 (something she describes as “a humungous relief”), Harman headed to LA. She was there to kick back and visit relatives, but Hollywood’s siren call proved too strong, and it wasn’t long before she was taking meetings and auditions.

“I just wanted to check out the scene over there,” she says.

“But it was actually a bit overwhelming—the industry is huge. I think it’s best to stay in Australia for a while.”

Probably not a bad idea, especially if you’ve just landed a role in one of Australia’s hottest TV series. Although if you believe Harman, she came close to missing out on the part.

“It was one of those ones where I wanted it really bad,” she says.

“I did my first audition while I was over in the States, and it didn’t go very well, so I kind of lost hope. But somehow I got a callback, I flew to Melbourne to do my second audition, and I got it. I couldn’t believe it at first.”

She has been putting in long days on set since she arrived in Melbourne, but says it doesn’t feel like work. “We have the nicest cast and crew. There are no egos on set—it’s all fun and games,” she says.

“Last week I was at a foil rehearsal, learning to look like a real hairdresser.

“I love all that stuff, so it wasn’t exactly a stretch. My bathroom at home looks exactly like Bree’s, so you could say we share an interest.”

The unassuming Harman has been warned about the price of fame.

“Sammy (Samuel Johnson) told me that I shouldn’t go into shopping centres any more—and that just broke my heart!” she says.

By Louise Crossen
February 19, 2004
The Courier Mail