THE PERFECT BLEND: Being Liz: A Conversation with Neighbours Newcomer Debbie Lawrance who plays Liz Conway
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 Debra Lawrance about her new role of Liz Conway in Neighbours. We talk about working with Jackie Woodburne who plays her on screen sister Susan and joining the cast of Neighbours...
Note: Interview took place in early July and contains information of storylines that wrapped up in early August.
So I’ll just start off with the easy one. How does it feel to be joining such a well established series?
Fabulous, really good because I’ve got a lot of friends working on it and it’s only 20 minutes from my house.
Right okay great. Obviously you’re joining as Liz Conway, am I right in thinking she’s the matriarch of Elly’s family?
Yeah that’s right, she’s Elly’s mum and Susan’s sister and she’s Bea’s mum as well Ellie’s sister.
So how’s it feel to be joining an already established family dynamic in that sense?
Well I’m an actor, it’s my job to make that work obviously, but also, I mean I know all the actors really well and I know the routines because of my work in Home & Away so it all feels very familiar it’s all been great and Jackie Woodburne has always been a very dear and close friend of mine so it’s just a joy to be able to work with her.
Great. Obviously there’s going to be quite a few harrowing storylines coming up, especially with Finn, Bea and Elly, is there anything that you’re allowed to talk about how you fit into all of that?
Yeah because Liz is such a narcissist like she is really self involved and ego-centric so she doesn’t really think before acting, so she does something really horrendously bad, which I won’t give away because I want the audience to be surprised, it’s like it’s really shocking (laughs), it takes the cake in terms of sort of the worst thing you could do to people really.
But I try to play it as sympathetically because basically she’s walked into a situation where she’s tried to make amends with the girls, they’re quite hostile towards her because of the way she’s treated Bea but then she veers of course a bit and she ends up doing something that alienates them even further so it’ll be really interesting, really good TV.
With joining the Kennedy/Conway family, what’s the atmosphere been like on the street?
Yeah it’s terrific it’s great, because I do a bit of coaching, voice coaching, with the young ones so I know them all really really well and, as I said, I know Jackie really really well and I know Alan Fletcher, because our industry is very small here so you end up knowing absolutely everybody and Colette I’ve work with Colette on Prisoner, and I’ve worked with most of the crew and I’ve worked with all of the producers and all of the directors, so it’s great, it’s like putting on a nice pair of slippers.
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