The Secret Life of Us: profiles

Claudia Karvan

Claudia Karvan was academically inclined at school, but acting had already become a big part of her life by then. Now she is one of Australia's most highly regarded film actors.

When she was nine years old, a friend's father cast her in a feature film—Molly. Next up was a small role in Philip Noyce's feature, Echoes of Paradise. Then she was cast opposite Judy Davis in High Tide. Claudia was 14 years old.

Claudia's feature credits include Risk, Strange Planet, Paperback Hero, Redheads, Dating The Enemy, Passion, Lust and Revenge, Exile, Heartbreak Kid, Holiday on the River Yarra, Young Flynn and The Big Steal.

For Claudia, The Secret Life of Us is comic and well-written, "utilising a lot of young talented directors and writers" in its dialogue-based style.

"It captures a whole world that exists in Australia that hasn't been seen on TV before. I'm thrilled it's going to be released in the UK.; I think it's a terrific compliment for the English to co-produce something that is usually their forte.

"Having seen This Life, I'm sure there is an audience for The Secret Life of Us. It will be a different perspective on Australia—not your Neighbours or your sunny beaches. It's winter in urban Melbourne and it's often set at night."

Claudia says she and Alex share an ability to get impatient and cranky, but are otherwise entirely dissimilar.

"I hope I'm not as emotionally underdeveloped as she is. Alex is highly diligent and has got to a level in her career path that is unusual for someone of her age and gender. Now she has to deal with areas of her life she has neglected in getting to that position.

"What I love particularly about Alex is that she is so flawed. All the characters do such wonderfully human things and have such great human faults.

"Alex is heavily theorised in feminist ideas and tends to interpret men at work through a misguided sense of feminist theory. Therefore she's inclined to overlook good male traits."

But this is only when it comes to men in power. On the home front, it's different. "She adores Evan and theirs is a fantastic—albeit volatile—relationship."

Claudia has won an Australian Film Institute Award for her work on G. P. (best actress in a television drama) and has been nominated for AFI Awards nine times in all—mostly for her film work. She has won an Action & Adventure Film Festival award for Best Actor (Redheads), an Australian Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Actress (Heartbreak Kid) and a short film she appeared in—Two Girls and a Baby—was acclaimed at Sydney's Mardi Gras Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival.

Claudia says she loves television drama for its immediacy—"the modern-day theatre"—and says the pace of producing a show a week requires her as an actor to be "less precious and more resourceful with my performance".

When she is not at work, Claudia may be found on a yoga mat or a surfboard.