Lord of the Rings alum Miranda Otto has been keeping busy. Recently, she was cast as the key guest role in a new Australian TV series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which premieres this Friday at 8:30 PM on ABC1. The show, which is adapted from Australian author Kerry Greenwood’s novels, follows the 1920s adventures of Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis), a justice-fighting private eye who soon discovers a world of cocaine trading and illegal abortions. Otto will play the character of Lydia Andrews, a woman grieving the mysterious death of her husband.
“It’s a show that has a real fun and wit about it,” she says. “The detective genre is not easy because you’ve got to get to a conclusion that is unexpected. The author has spent a lot of time nutting out these characters and cases.”
Next on her agenda is a role in the film adaptation of Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel I, Frankenstein, a modern re-telling of the classic Frankenstein story, in which the hero, Adam Frankenstein (played by Aaron Eckhart), finds himself embroiled in a war between two immortal clans.
“I have started rehearsals and been on set (Melbourne’s Docklands) and the cathedral sets are amazing,” Otto says.
“It’s a whole mythology and world they are creating. The sets, costumes, make-up and hair – everything is non-naturalistic. I am playing the High Queen of the Gargoyles, though I’m not sure what a low queen is.”
Filming for I, Frankenstein is scheduled to be shot in Melbourne over a ten-week period beginning this Monday, February 27 and is expecting a late 2012 release. Other key cast members include Bill Nighy (Underworld), Yvonne Strahovski (Killer Elite), and Socratis Otto (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
Otto’s career has seen a lot of ups and downs since it began 26 years ago. Now one of Australia’s most prolific actresses, she acknowledges that in order to deal with disappointments within the acting business, one has to have a thick skin.
“Acting is a freelance career … you never stop having to prove yourself and fight for work. It’s a career that’s enticing because you go on stage, for example, and people clap. You get that affirmation, but you can’t go into acting for that because it’s really your own self-belief that’s going to get you through. It’s (survival) about how you get through the periods when people aren’t clapping.”
Of balancing work with her family life (she married actor Peter O’Brien in 2003 and gave birth to daughter Darcey in 2005), Otto admits that it’s a bit of a struggle.
“The job has a real impact on your life (as a wife and mother). Some scripts you read and say, ‘I’ve just got to do this’ and you find a way of making it work. Some things you turn down because of the impact on family. Darcey is six now so in some ways that frees you up more, but it’s more difficult travelling.”
“We think about things (acting jobs) a great deal before we commit to them.”