Anna Torv and Danielle Cormack are featured in the March 2019 issue of Foxtel Magazine! Check out our galleries for the FULL shoot!
ANNA TORV RETURNS — THIS TIME WITH A VERY FAMILIAR NEW PARTNER IN CRIME IN DANIELLE CORMACK — FOR THE LONG-AWAITED SECOND INSTALMENT OF POLITICAL DRAMA SECRET CITY
When Foxtel Original drama Secret City wrapped in 2016, star Anna Torv had just one wish: that it wouldn’t be the last we’d see of her character, plucky political journalist Harriet Dunkley.
“When we finished shooting the first season, I was so hopeful – I had my fingers crossed that we’d get to do it again,” Torv tells Foxtel Insider. “I love everyone who makes it.”
Fast-forward nearly three years and Harriet and co are back in Secret City: Under the Eagle, once again stirring up trouble in the Australian capital.
For Harriet, much has changed since the first season. She’s six months out of jail, about to conclude her parole period and eager to get the hell out of Canberra — for good! But where would be the fun in that?
Fortunately for viewers, it’s only a matter of time before intrigue and scandal pulls her back in. When she’s offered the role of press advisor to independent Adelaide MP Karen Koutoufides (Danielle Cormack) in the wake of a deadly explosion with military links in the politician’s electorate, Harriet’s soon re-entangled in her old life and going toe-to-toe with her former sparring partners.
“It’s a two-year jump and [the producers have] been really great about that,” Torv previews of the sequel season. “We’re still in Canberra, it’s still kind of the same world. Harriet has just finished her parole — she’s been on parole for probably about six months — and she’s looking to get out of Canberra, start a new life and leave all her old ghosts behind. But she gets dragged back in!”
Newcomers including Cormack (Wentworth), Rob Collins (Cleverman) and Don Hany (Picnic at Hanging Rock) keep the story fresh and moving forward.
“It’s been an interesting reshuffle of cast, a nice kind of energy,” Torv enthuses, adding: “It’s not an anthology, not even remotely — it’s still the same world, but watching the show with new people in it injects a different kind of feeling.”
For Cormack, the chance to return “home” to Foxtel following her award-winning stint as beloved Bea Smith in Wentworth was very appealing.
“I’m so excited to be back!” she tells us. “It’s an incredibly solid piece of drama. It’s great to be telling Australian stories from another sector of our community.”
Her strong-willed, liberal character was also a big drawcard.
“Karen Koutoufides is a maverick MP. She’s a mother of two — a solo mother of two, to two different fathers,” Cormack explains. “I don’t think she’s done many things by the book and I think the hardships in her life have inspired her to take political matters into her own hands. She comes to the story by employing Harriet as her press advisor. She’s very passionate about human rights, about standing up for her community — the community she grew up in — and for families living below the line.”
Karen’s gung-ho approach puts many people offside, leading to some rather unflattering nicknames uttered behind her back and to her face, including `The White Knight’ and ‘KKK — the third K’s silent’. But if this tough single mum is bothered, she’s not one to show it.
“I think it’s just because she’s an agitator,” Cormack muses. “The way she gets things done is to be heard, and sometimes you have to yell to be heard. That’s the way she’s got things done and she’s not about to step back and be quiet.”
In Harriet, who’s certainly no stranger to treading on people’s toes in her quest to expose the truth, Karen sees something of a kindred spirit.
“Karen recognises that Harriet is a rule-breaker, so she wants to work with her as a team,” Cormack says. “Harriet knows that world and she thinks outside the box, so to have a working relationship with her… Karen knows she’s going to garner attention by having Harriet on her arm. Not only that, but she knows she’s bloody good at her job.”
Torv begs to differ: “I don’t know how good a media advisor she is! [But] she realises that she may get access to a few things [working for Karen that] she wouldn’t otherwise get access to, so that kind of piques her interest.”
Off screen, the two women couldn’t have got along better, instantly forming a solid friendship based on mutual respect for one another’s work.
“Anna’s just fantastic,” Cormack raves of her co-star. “She’s magnetic to watch. She has wonderful gravitas and she’s an incredibly generous human being. It’s a gift to work with her.”
Of course, a political cover-up isn’t the only thing Harriet is dealing with this time around. When her prison cellmate Mina (Louisa Mignone) asks for her help to facilitate a meeting with Harriet’s old adversary, Federal Attorney-General Catriona Bailey (Jacki Weaver) — who Mina directly blames for her family members’ deaths — Harriet goes against her better judgement. The ramifications are nothing short of deadly.
“Harriet’s someone who’s incapable of not following a lead,” Torv surmises. “When we end this season, I don’t quite know what the next six months will look like for her.”
Cormack adds of the six-part outing: “It’s a very complex drama. The show looks fantastic. I loved watching the story unfold in terms of the first season and I hope the second season follows suit — I’m sure it does.”
BEHIND THE SCENES… WITH THE CAST OF SECRET CITY: UNDER THE EAGLE
The pressure was on during our shoot with Danielle Cormack and Anna Torv, as we assembled the two leads of Secret City sequel Under the Eagle on a sweltering Sydney day.
With only a limited window in which to photograph and interview the pair before they were whisked off to their next engagement, our team worked tirelessly to ensure everything was ready to go.
Following extensive lighting tests, notes were taken and spots were marked on the floor so we could seamlessly move the talent from one set-up to the next — no easy feat in a huge, cliffside mansion!
Luckily for us, Cormack and Torv (pictured from left) were complete and utter professionals — when they weren’t messing around pulling faces, that is! — nailing shot after shot in no time.
The series may mark the first time the two women have worked together, but they clearly formed a tight bond during filming, their natural ease with one another impossible to miss.
“Danielle is just so great in the show,” Torv enthuses of her co-star. “I was really excited to have her on the show because I’d watched her work and I was a big fan of her work.”
CLOTHING CREDITS: Contents, feature and this page: Danielle Cormack wears: Ginger & Smart suit; Escada shirt; Christian Louboutin shoes; Cerrone earrings. Anna Torv wears: Michael Kors dress and trench; Saint Laurent heels.
Credit: Foxtel Magazine March 2019