TWISTS & TURNS
On Wildfire Kieren Hutchison guest-starred as charismatic sports agent Kerry Connelly who turned bad in his last episode, Fairy Tale Ending, to create more drama for the show's leading character Kris Furillo (Genevieve Cortese).
After his stint on Wildfire Kieren starred as Jake Preston, the charming heir of the Monarch Resort and fortune, on the original Lifetime series Monarch Cove. The show is an adaptation of the popular German telenovela Bianca - Path to Happiness.
A telenovela is a special form of television series told from the point of view of the female lead character. Telenovelas have a clearly defined beginning and end and the thoughts of the lead character can be heard in a voice over. The most successful telenovelas are produced in Mexico and Brazil.
Bianca - Path to Happiness had 225 episodes, Lifetime compressed the stories to fit into only 14 episodes, making Monarch Cove a fast paced thrilling show that proved very popular with viewers.
Kieren kindly took the time to answer some questions about his work on both shows.
When you began working on Wildfire, did you expect Kerry to become such an important part of the story?
I was originally contracted for four episodes, so I wasn ’t necessarily expecting to be around for the season. From what I understand, Kerry wasn’t always going to be a love interest for Kris, but once the writers decided to go that way with things there was obviously more reason to keep me around.
Where you surprised by the way Kerry turned out to be?
Absolutely! He was so sneaky even I didn’t know he was going to steal the money. And the guy really should stop trying to fly planes, he’s no good at it….
In the season III premiere Fairy Tale Ending you had to play most of your scenes from the bed. Is it difficult to act from a bed?
It can be difficult when your movements are restricted like that, but on the flip side it was quite a comfortable day at work. We shot all those scenes one after another so I just stayed in bed while they set up the shots. I can’t complain!
Did you enjoy doing the commentary and After the Show Interview for Wildfire?
I did, the commentary was fun ‘cos Nicole and I just felt like we were chatting. Sometimes you forget to speak when you get caught up in watching the screen though, so that takes some getting used to. I think After the Show is a good idea, I like how the show is kind of interactive.
Do you have a favourite scene/moment from Wildfire?
Probably “flying” the plane. I think they did a good job shooting and combining the stock footage with us on the ground. I also like when Kerry meets Dani Davis in the back of the shot at the races - we had a laugh about that.
Jake Preston in Monarch Cove was your first leading role in a while. Was it difficult to get used to the fuller schedule again, especially with shooting four episodes at the same time?
Yeah, that was the hardest I’ve worked on a show in many years! I prefer it though, I love being on set and it’s nice to be in the middle of the action. When you are a guest actor, most of the time your character is there to prop up other character’s storylines. The only reason it’s tough is the early mornings. I’m not a huge fan of getting out of bed.
The story in Monarch Cove moved along at a very fast pace. Was it challenging to have your characters go through so much in such a short time?
It’s funny when you try to remember who your character is married to, who he’s actually in love with, whether or not he knows if he’s the father of the baby etc. Especially when you consider the fact that we shot so many episodes at a time, out of sequence. It kept thing interesting! I’m just glad that my real life is a lot less complicated.
Was it harder to maintain the American accent while in Australia?
That was a nightmare! It’s one thing to do that in the US when everyone around you has the accent you’re trying to do, but when the crew and directors had broad Aussie accents it’s tough for the Kiwi. Scrambles the mind a bit. One of the fundamental problems was that Americans and Aussies say the name “Bianca” differently. The “a” sound is either long or short. So the directors would come up to you right before a shot and say “so, when you say that to Bi-AN-ca…” when I had to remember to say Bi-AH-nca. Not easy. I used to laugh, saying “You’re not helping!”
Did you have the chance to enjoy some of the luxuries of the ‘Monarch Cove’ Resort or were you just there for the filming?
Yeah, the Sheraton was a beautiful place to work. It was fun walking around like I owned the place. The actors had the option of staying there, but most of us chose some long stay apartments close by. When you stay anywhere for longer than a few weeks it doesn’t matter how nice the hotel is, sometimes a kitchen is nice!
Do you have a favourite scene/moment from Monarch Cove?
Driving the Ferrari (I felt like Magnum PI, only shorter) and the scenes in the hotel between Jake and Bianca. It was almost a little movie on it’s own and we had fun finding little moments there.