She is one of the most popular women in Australia, but even Logie winner Jess Marais, who has a string of TV hits including Packed to the Rafters, Carlotta and Love Child under her belt, admits she was jittery about taking on her latest role.
In a joint interview with author and CEO Zoë Foster Blake, whose 2014 bestseller The Wrong Girl has been adapted for a new Channel Ten series starring Marais, the 31-year-old actress tells WHO that “I was lucky enough not to audition” for the role of morning-TV producer Lily Woodward. “I don’t think I would have done a very good job! I was certainly flattered when they asked if I would be interested. But thank goodness I didn’t have to audition. I’m terrible at it.”
Despite her rich history in front of the camera, Marais shoves away suggestions she was able to give Foster Blake any pointers on having her work adapted for the small screen. Marais says she was too busy “fangirling” when she met Foster Blake, whose husband Hamish also appears in the show.
And besides, Marais reckons, “I don’t think having worked for a long time means anything. I’m still learning. I never feel like a pro.”
In the series, Marias’s Lily finds herself juggling the attention of two men: her best friend Pete (Ian Meadows) and new co-worker Jack (Rob Collins). The actors who play them did have to audition, and as Foster Blake tells WHO, “I don’t know anything about casting, but I know we got the right guys. [But] Jess made out with them just to double check.”
Replies Marais with a laugh, “Yeah. I just take them off for an hour to a quiet room!”