Finn verses Xanthe: A Conversation with fan favourite Neighbours Actress Lilly Van der Meer
It’s a TV institution, an essential part of student life, and responsible for launching the careers of some of Australia’s greatest exports: Neighbours brings you a daily slice of suburbia and a guilt-free excuse to twitch the curtains on some of the hottest names in soapland.
In our interview, The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali spoke to Lilly Van der Meer who plays bubbly and fiesta teenager Ianthe Canning on long running soap Neighbours.
We talk about her recent storyline involving the manipulative Finn Kelly and the ramifications of that moving forward and what she’d pitch as a conclusion to that storyline and her on screen and off screen camaraderie with Mavournee Hazel…
Of course for two years you’ve been Xanthe, how’s it been to be working on the show?
It’s been incredible it’s my first professional set that I’ve ever been on and such a fast paced environment, it’s been incredible and I’ve adapted a lot and it’s nice.
You get this sort of comfort of being on a set for so many years that there’s so much room to play on a set like this with a show like this as well so it’s nice to be able to come to the table and be collaborative with everyone on set and it’s nice because different cast members work differently with each other, so every time every day every scene you create this like new dynamic with people, so I’ve learned something everyday on that set whether it’s little or big and I come back the next day with something fresh and a new idea and I’m ready to play and experiment, so it’s been amazing because you don’t get that on many sets.
Yeah absolutely. From speaking to other members of the cast it seems almost like a second family.
Yeah yeah, because we’re there five days a week, 12, 13, 14 hours a day, we know everything abut each other and we spend all year together and we’re at awards together and you’re in each others pockets, it does become like your second family and I guess that’s where the room to play comes from you feel so comfortable in your environment and you feel comfortable with both the cast and the crew that it’s just really nice to have that, it’s definitely like a second family.
Brilliant okay. You obviously have some great on-screen chemistry with Mavournee Hazel who plays Piper, what’s the off set camaraderie like between you two?
Ah. It’s amazing, Mav and I are really close, we’re similar in age so it’s really sweet to have that connection off screen as well as on screen, because I feel that makes the work a lot easier, Mav and I are originally not from Melbourne so we had that to relate to at the start, we’re both really really good friends so it’s really sweet.
Yeah she’s really sweet, I met her last year with Olympia. Alright, so over the last two years you’ve been involved in some quite harrowing and interesting storylines, what’s been your favourite?
All of the Finn storyline I think have been the most compelling for me and challenging, because initially when they pitched that idea and they told us what they where doing it’s quite intriguing, you know, I’d never fallen for a teacher myself in real life so playing that dynamic especially because we where a G-rated show at the time so we couldn’t play that there was a sexual connection at all, so we had to play it as sort of like a soul love and that she fell for his soul and who he was and that was quite interesting to play with the word off the page, to have all that backstory and monologues inside, they where the most challenging, most riveting and fulfilling and seeing that on-screen and seeing people’s reactions to where awesome.
Yeah I had a chance to meet him last year, when he first came on to the show, that was fun. Right, so obviously you’ve got a new storyline coming up with Finn because he’s currently on the show, it’s on the down low at the minute, today’s episode hasn’t aired yet, so I don’t know what happens next. Can you, without giving too much away, talk about the new storyline and how you feel about that going forward?
So Finn comes back and Xanthe has no idea because as you know, he’s pretending to be a man called Patrick and it all comes unraveling and crashing down when she’s doing a scavenger hunt and she’s hit by a car and it comes out that it was Finn who ran her over, so she’s in a coma for a little and just having the permanent struggles with seizures and all of that kind of stuff and so it’s quite a personal set back for her in her life and that’s kind of where we’re at at the moment on-screen I think.
Yeah. In the preview trailer at the end of the episode it shows him the back of a car and you’re having lunch with Piper at the time.
Hmm, saw that yeah.
So obviously one of the most gripping storylines that you where involved with was with Carl and his medical issues and the hiking and all that, What sort of research have you had to do with this new direction with Xanthe that she’s going to become a doctor?
It’s been interesting because I obviously have no idea about the medical profession so going into it I guess there’s just a lot of research and a lot of deciphering what words mean and trying to come to a conclusion where I come across as confident in knowing what I’m talking about but it’s been really nice to have that storyline, it was great because she’s not doing it for any other reason other than the love of saving people and protecting them and knowing that she can help society in one way or another, so its nice to see that purity in that storyline I guess, yeah.
Okay. With the separate storyline, the sort of love triangle between you, Piper and Cassius, hows it been to explore that?
Yeah that’s what I’ve been saying is I think she has already fallen in love with Ben which is sweet so having Cassius, a new guy and she doesn’t know who he is and I guess it’s finding the balance of like when to know when it’s serious between him and Piper and could potentially spring into something with her and him or whether she just needs support and needs a friend and just kind of delving into that and kind of taking her way through her emotions at this stage.
Just finally, over the years there’s been some incredible storylines on Neighbours, if you could pitch something to the writers what would you like for your character to do?
(laughs) I don’t think this will ever happen but I would love, this is in an ideal world, for Finn to come back to Erinsbourough and either Xanthe shoots Finn or Finn shoots Xanthe but there’s some kind of shooting and some kind of conflicted relationship that happens there and some explosive thing that happens in a devastating drama, that’s what I want to pitch. Doubt that would happen (laughs).
(laughs) Thank you so much for your time it’s been incredible, have a good day.
Thank you bye.
Neighbours airs Monday to Friday at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5. Catch up NOW on My5