Actor Kylie Bracknell makes her return to television for new Netflix drama Irreverent, nearly a decade after her last series, The Gods of Wheat Street on ABC.
So drawn to the role of Piper, a local policewoman in the remote coastal town of ‘Clump’, Bracknell put down one of her best auditions yet -only to learn she had been dropped from early contention.
“I was in complete denial about it,” she tells TV Tonight. “And then within about two weeks later, they gave me a call and said I was back in contention.
“That’s the first time I’ve gone through that process, because this is my first lead in a series, being predominantly a theatre person.
“I think it was between me and one other actor -and I still don’t know who that other actor is!”
The series produced by Matchbox Pictures centres around an American crook (Colin Donnell) who screws up the heist of his life and is forced to hide out in a small Australian reef community in Far North Queensland posing as the new church Reverend.
“It’s a fish out of water series. A dark comedy about a criminal from Chicago who bungles a heist. He is a mediator for the mob and he mucks up pretty bad. He has to flee in order to stay alive and he ends up in Far North Queensland in a place called Clump -which I guess is as far away from Chicago as one can get!”
Clump is dotted with all kinds of quirky characters with well-known faces including PJ Byrne, Briallen Clarke, Tegan Stimson, Ed Oxenbould, Wayne Blair, Russell Dykstra, Calen Tassone, Jason Wilder, Susie Porter, Francis Greenslade, Roz Hammond and Martin Sacks.
Bracknell’s character Piper previously spent time in Brisbane as a detective and is now more than overqualified to be the local town cop.
“But she’s raised in a small town, she understands its quirkiness and people. She’s been raised by a mother who is one of the local nurses, so she’s been brought up with compassion, helping people and a sense of community and contributing to that,” she continues.
“Yet something happened in the city, which caused her to retreat home and either recover or regroup.
“I definitely know that her love of wanting to be a detective is not gone and I don’t think ever will be.”
Filming took place near Mission Beach in Queensland, while Australia was still dealing with the pandemic and border closure. Bracknell says there were benefits in the remoteness of the location for the cast and crew, which spilled into the story.
“It was really smart to start the shoot in a remote location where the internet was sketchy and there was hardly anything to do, because it actually forced us to get to know each other and getting to know the local Djiru people, learning stories about that particular land mass, seascape, the islands. As a First Peoples of this country, the very first thing I like to do is to be welcomed to that place, learn a bit about it, pay my respects, and acknowledge the Country that I’m on,” she explains.
“The production team were really wonderful, they had Leonard Andy, the custodian of that area come and welcome all of us together.
“I took my son and my husband who’s a salt water man from Southwest of WA and he loved being by the sea, even if we couldn’t swim in it because of crocodiles and jellyfish!”
10 episodes launch this week and should it prove successful, Bracknell is optimistic the characters of Clump could return.
“Selfishly I would love to have another season! All of the characters have so much about them that we ought to dive into, a bit deeper. So yes, selfishly, I would like to see it return!”
Irreverent screens Friday December 2 on Netflix.