Westside's Antonia Prebble on the irony of playing a grandmother
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/113239537/-

2019-06-11 06:59:34

Sometimes you can't help but chuckle at the absurdity of a television drama versus real life.

Consider for a moment pregnant Westside actress Antonia Prebble. For the local drama's new season, her character Rita West is a grandmother whose son Wolf – played by Reef Ireland – is in his mid-20s.

Prebble, who is preparing for first-time motherhood, is roughly 10 years older than Ireland.

"The irony has definitely not been lost on me," says Prebble, 35, who is in her third trimester.

"It's so strange being a grandmother (on screen) and having not given birth to my first child yet. It does seem crazy. I kind of just don't think about it that much because if I do I go down this rabbit hole of, 'Oh what does it all mean?'

"Sometimes Reef and I just look at each other and laugh that he's (playing) my son but you just go with it, and because we have been doing it a long time now those relationships and dynamics are really well established. So it is easy to fall into the storyline. But when I take a step back I go, 'Oh my god. This is crazy'."

Prebble's pregnancy hasn't been written into the show but concealed via careful camera angles, costume choices and strategically placed props.

"We found for example wearing jeans and trousers worked a lot better than wearing skirts just because of where they sat on my torso," says Prebble. "People may notice that in terms of tops I do wear a leather jacket in quite a few scenes now. There are a few tricks like that. And I carry my handbag in quite specific ways."

For Westside's fifth and latest season, the show has jumped forward to 1987, the year in which the stockmarket crashed, the All Blacks won the inaugural Rugby World Cup, Lotto tickets went on sale for the first time and an earthquake struck Edgecumbe.

The season also marks the birth of Wolf's oldest daughter Pascalle.

Another notable difference this season is the arrival of actress Jessica Grace Smith (Home And Away), who replaces Australian Ashleigh Cummings in the role of Cheryl West, Rita West's daughter-in-law.

Cummings left Westside to star in a film with Nicole Kidman and in an Amazon Prime Video horror series.

"Obviously we all loved Ashleigh but we are so happy that she's doing so well," says Prebble.

"She's such a star. It was always very clear that her light was going to shine very brightly. We are all so thrilled for her and I cannot wait to see the movie and the TV show that she was filming, which meant that she couldn't do Westside this time.

"But it's great having Jess. I take my hat off to her because it's not an easy thing to do.

"For one, coming into a show that's established but, secondly, playing an iconic character that someone else has already played. It's a really big ask but she's just done it with such grace. I'm very impressed with her."

There have also been some big changes in Prebble's personal life too. She is engaged to her Westside castmate Dan Musgrove (Lefty).

However, it hasn't been smooth sailing for the pair.

"We actually had a really serious house fire last year," says Prebble. "The short story is that we bought a house last year and moved in early October, and then in mid-November there was a freak electrical fire.

"It was a really serious fire which meant that it went through the roof and all down one side of the house. So we've been homeless ever since then and probably won't be back in until November.

"We bought that house with a view to starting a family there. I got pregnant while we were there in those first early weeks so it meant that I was in the depths of morning sickness when it all happened – which had an extra layer of challenge to what was going on.

"I haven't really been able to nest and set up like I would like to.

"So while where we are staying is lovely – we are in an apartment for a few months – it's not our house.  So it's a slightly different feeling, unfortunately, but we're trying to make the best of it."

In a way, it sounds like something ripped straight from the pages of a television drama.

"It really was quite dramatic and continues to be as we figure out insurance and rebuilds and everything," says Prebble.

"It all takes a long time. It hasn't been easy at all I have to say.

"But with these things, what's the alternative? You just have to put one foot in front of the other and do what needs to be done."

Westside, on Three, from Monday, June 17.

Back to the top ^

Related Articles (30)