Offspring veterans reunite in new Aussie drama
LIVING in a share house is a rite of passage for many young adults.
But the new Aussie drama Five Bedrooms takes the concept to a not-so-far-fetched extreme.
The series centres on five singles who meet at a wedding. The idea of pooling their collective borrowing power to get a leg up in the Melbourne property market is jokingly suggested, but they go through with it - co-investing in a multi-million-dollar property.
The "commune" of misfits, as they're known on their street, come from different walks of life. There's uptight lawyer and divorcee Liz, her best friend Harry - a 30-year-old doctor who's scared to come out to his Indian mother - knockabout tradie Ben, real estate agent Lachlan and hopeless romantic Ainsley (plus the involvement of Ainsley's friend and former landlord Heather).
"We went out to dinner the first week (of filming) and I remember looking around thinking I would not expect to see us at a dinner table together, let alone a house," Kat Stewart, who plays Liz, says during a visit to the show's Melbourne set.
"You've got these five people and two are women over 40. We are not a cookie-cutter, traditional cast.
"This show is about so much more than just sharing in your 20s... this is a huge risk and act of faith in such a chaotic and spur-of-the-moment way. It feels very current and timely, and the idea was inspired by real life."
The role has reunited Stewart with Offspring writers Michael Lucas and Christine Bartlett.
"I was conscious and I'm sure they were conscious that I would play someone different (to Billie in Offspring)," she says.
"Liz has got courage and vulnerability, characteristics Billie had in spades, but Billie didn't have filters and Liz has filters with a capital F.
"Liz has a lot of status anxiety. She's very appropriate and she cares about how she's been perceived by other people."
Working with Stewart was a deciding factor for Stephen Peacocke. The former Home and Away heartthrob plays happy-go-lucky tradie Ben in his first Aussie TV role in two years.
"I remember when I initially auditioned and got the role and my wife said 'Is Kat Stewart doing it?'," he says.
"I said 'Yeah' and she said 'Well you've got to do it because everything she does is so good'."
Unlike her beloved Offspring character, Stewart understands Liz will be a tough nut to crack emotionally.
"The challenge is for her to open up with these other people," she says.
"It might take the audience a bit longer to warm up to her than the other characters, but from my perspective she's been a delicious challenge."
Five Bedrooms premieres tonight at 8.30pm on Ten/WIN.