Before Melbourne comedian and actor Celia Pacquola left for a week-long trip to London, she dropped off a birthday gift to Luke McGregor, her writing and acting partner on the ABC comedy Rosehaven, knowing she wouldn't be in town to mark the occasion.
"It's kind of cruel of me to do it," Pacquola tells WHO, "because he's got OCD, which he is very open about, but he needs to know things. I said, 'I want you to hold on to this to open on your birthday, but I'll still love you if you cave.' And he's like, 'OK, but I hope I don't die before I find out what it is, but if I get sick, you have to call me to tell me what it is!'"
Fortunately, McGregor held on to discover a Ghostbusters-themed present. "It's his favourite movie," Pacquola says, reciting just one of many facts she's committed to memory about her Utopia costar.
"Oh, I know more about him than anyone else in my life," she adds. "Fact! I've never spent this much time with anyone."
That's because she and McGregor have spent three years developing Rosehaven, a comedy based on one man's return — and his best mate's escape — to his rural Tasmanian hometown.
"Just the number of hours where it’s just been us two in a room or a car," Pacquola says, "I just know so many things about that man! I'm so grateful we haven't had a falling out. We've been really lucky we are still friends at the end of it."
Along the way, Pacquola has gotten McGregor hooked on drinking black coffee, making odd eating noises and constructing 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles. McGregor, in turn, has made Pacquola into a Stephen King obsessive.
"It happened a couple years ago when we were in Tassy," Pacquola says. "Luke was telling me about It, the scary movie about the book. We were scouting around town and we went into a second-hand shop and there was a hardbound copy of It for one dollar. I said, 'It's a sign!' I bought it, and read it, and it scared me silly, and now I'm on a mission to read everything he's written."
As for what she and McGregor have created with Rosehaven, Pacquola beams with pride. "It's the best thing Luke and I could have made right now," she says, "and that's really cool."
To hear more from Celia Pacquola, pick up this week's issue of WHO on newsstands everywhere.
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