Ahead of the ABC’s anthology Fires, Torv spoke to Guardian Australia about her nonlinear career – and the traumas compounding around us.
If every memorable actor has a signature, Australian actor Anna Torv’s would have to be her voice. To quote a friend after watching The Newsreader, “I really wish she would do a recording for one of those meditation apps.”
In the ABC series, which aired its first season finale on Sunday, Torv wields this voice with a theatre actor’s precision as Helen Norville: an 80s news anchor whose composure behind the desk has drawn comparisons to Jana Wendt.
“I did a couple of sessions with a beautiful person they’d brought in to teach the newsreading,” Torv says. “But what I learned is that the phrasing, and all that kind of stuff, comes purely through the autocue. (more…)
Inspired by true events, FIRES is a serialised anthology about the experiences of everyday people at the front line of the devastating fires of the 2019-2020 Australian summer.
Filmed in Melbourne and regional Victoria earlier this year, the series honours the experiences of the many people affected by these fires. It acknowledges the losses suffered and the ways people came together in the face of a devastating natural disaster.
Beneath the unfathomable scale of the fires and behind the images and the headlines were thousands of stories of people directly affected by the fires. Stories of heartbreak and loss, heroism, humanity, and community.
The series begins in Queensland in September 2019, at the start of the fire season, and continues as the fires make their deadly march south, burning out of control through NSW and Victoria until February 2020. Each episode is set in a different location as the fires spread and build to a terrifying onslaught across the country through Christmas and New Year.
As the fires grow in intensity and ferocity and threaten different communities, new characters appear, whose stories reflect the breadth of experience during Australia’s black summer. Through the episodes we meet volunteer firefighters, families who have lost homes, livelihoods and loved ones, people who have to make agonising decisions about whether to stay or flee; those escaping homes and once idyllic holiday destinations; and others who find themselves responsible for the lives of friends and strangers.
FIRES is co-created by Belinda Chayko and Tony Ayres. Chayko (Safe Harbour, Stateless) was also showrunner and lead writer, alongside Jacqueline Perske (The Cry), Mirrah Foulkes (Judy and Punch), Steven McGregor (Mystery Road) and Anya Beyersdorf (Eden). The series is produced by Elisa Argenzio (Lambs of God), with executive producers Tony Ayres (Stateless, The Slap, Glitch), Andrea Denholm (Wrong Kind of Black, How to Stay Married), Liz Watts (The King, True History of the Kelly Gang. Directors on the series are Michael Rymer (Hannibal, Picnic at Hanging Rock), Ana Kokkinos (Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Hunting) and Kim Mordaunt (Wakefield, The Rocket).
Production credits: The series is produced by Tony Ayres Productions (TAP), which is backed by NBCUniversal International Studios and Matchbox Pictures, for the ABC. Major production investment from Screen Australia in association with ABC, with support from Film Victoria through the Victorian Screen Incentive and Regional Location Assistance Fund. Distribution is handled by NBCUniversal Global Distribution. ABC Executive Producers: Sally Riley and Brett Sleigh.
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Filming is underway in Melbourne and regional Victoria on the six-part anthology drama FIRES. Starring an international rollcall of Australian talent, the series is inspired by extraordinary accounts from people who survived the catastrophic fire season in Australia of late 2019 and early 2020.
Produced by Tony Ayres Productions (TAP), FIRES impressive cast includes Eliza Scanlen (Babyteeth, Sharp Objects), Sam Worthington (Avatar, Hacksaw Ridge), Richard Roxburgh (The Crown, Rake), Sullivan Stapleton (Blindspot, Animal Kingdom), Miranda Otto (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Homeland), Hunter Page-Lochard (Harrow, Cleverman), Anna Torv (Mindhunter, Secret City), Kate Box (Stateless, Wentworth), Helana Sawires (Stateless, Ali’s Wedding), Daniel Henshall (Defending Jacob, Lambs of God) and Noni Hazlehurst (A Place to Call Home, Ladies in Black). They are joined by exciting newcomers Ameshol Ajang, Stacy Clausen and Nyawuda Chuol in a true ensemble cast.