Puberty Blues is more than a work of fiction. Released in 1979, and read by Australians in their thousands either as part of the school curriculum or at home, the book was an real eye opener in its day. Not to mention anyone who remembers the movie version in 1983, most will recall the controversy at the time. It was a glimpse into a world of what it meant to be accepted as a teenager in a beachside suburb.
times have changed, and in TV everything old is new again. So comes to our big
screens a new series of Puberty Blues, with a stellar cast, and content that is
as relevant today as it was back in the 1970’s.
follows the lives of two 13-year-old girls from the lower middle class
Sutherland Shire in Sydney.
The girls attempt to create a popular social
status by integrating themselves with the "Greenhill gang" of
1979, the makers of this new reboot plan to stay true to the original novel’s
themes of acceptance, pressure and teenage angst. The cast includes Claudia
Karvan (The Secret Life of Us), Dan Wyllie (Animal Kingdom), and Rodger Corser
mother of one of the lead characters is Susie Porter, one of the hardest
working actresses in the country.
Fresh from her stint on Ten’s ‘Bikie Wars’,
Susie Porter is enjoying revisiting the 1970s and spoke to CityWest's Darren Hallesy from the set of the
show being filmed in New South Wales.
best known for her work in RAN, East West 101 and numerous Aussie films like
Two Hands, Mullet and Idiot Box. But its ‘Bikie Wars’ that has put Porter back
on our screens in a big way.
surprised by the success of ‘Bikie Wars’, if I wasn’t in it I would have
watched it anyway, and when you’re making it you never know how any show is
going to be accepted.
so much work on ABC and SBS that I've learnt to not worry about ratings, but in
saying that it was nice to be involved in a really big show. I had worked with
the director on East West 101, so it was easy for me to get involved in Bikie
Wars,” Porter said.
involvement in Puberty Blues was also an easy decision, with John Edwards and
Imogen Banks at the helm, the people responsible for Offspring, Love My Way and
The Secret Life of Us, joining the production was a no-brainer for Susie.
easily do a dodgy remake of Puberty Blues, but when I heard John and Imogen
were involved I was all over it. The quality of the work that they produce is
amazing, and that was the reason I had no hesitation in joining the show.
definitely gone through a renaissance in this country, just like America has in
the last few years. TV is now so good, while movies seem to be stuck in remakes
of bad 1980's movies.
"I think more people are staying in and watching TV
together more now than they are going to the cinema.
have to look at Packed To The Rafters, Offspring or Underbelly...these are
shows that have made people stay in for a reason. I know that the attitude is
that Aussies don’t go to see home grown movies any more, but they are out
right now, the majority of work for me is coming from TV, not cinema. It seemed
a few years ago you were either a TV or a movie actor, now there's no
So how does
the forty year one old feel about going back to the 1970’s which has been
meticulously recreated for the show?
I was born
in 1971, so I was only eight when this is set, just a little before my time but
I still remember lots of things. Its funny being on set and we are in this
fantastic 1970's house, with a sunken lounge room.
reminds me of the sun soaked kitchens of my childhood, it has really taken me
back to when i was little. All the
stories in Puberty Blues are universal, its the same for kids of any era. Its
about coming of age, the pressures of smoking, trying alcohol, sex...all these
things that normal teenagers do are the same. But back then there was no
internet or social media, and I’m so glad I’m not a teenager today, I wouldn’t
get anything done. I’m glad I grew up when I did.
between 1979 and 2012 is just massive. I still think that I need to go to the
library and get a book out if I want to read it, its a habit I never got out
of. I’m not in that ‘I’ll download it instantly’ mentality yet. I think
that there was an innocence in that time. We seem to know more today because of
things we see online, but honestly I am convinced life was much simpler in the
talked to a friend, you actually met them and talked. Or things like going to
the bank on a Friday to get your cheque cashed. I don’t want to sound cynical
but the influence of the Kardashians for example with their brand names and big
handbags, I find strange. It was an era which was so far removed from all those
filming I think the combination of the wardrobe and what the art department has
done is pretty amazing, so it just comes naturally putting yourself in that
remembers being a teen in the 1980’s, and feels no different about her time as
teenager those depicted in the show.
again, it’s a universal theme. We all remember getting up to mischief and
hiding it from our parents, and that still resonates today. I’m not sure if
there will be the same controversy as 1983 when the film came out, as most
parents (lets be honest), don't know what their kids are up to.
into drugs, I didn't shoplift but I smoked and went out, and my parents smoked
so it wasn't such a big deal for me. I guess in 2012, this show will either
take parents back to that era and recapture their youth which was a really
difficult time for most people as a teen, or it will scare the pants off
is pretty amazing with this show. Just to work with Dan Wyllie again was great,
we did a play together last year, and he's one of the funniest human beings
I've ever met. We did a production of ‘Summer of the Seventeenth Doll’. I love
theatre, I really do, but I've been getting a bit nervous doing shows in front
of a live audience.
to do more live theatre, but I am particular in what play or what character to
play. It does make you work harder, you have to hone your skills and you get
paid alot less, but its not about the money. You are doing it out of love in
many ways, and yet you work so much harder.”
Blues begins Wednesday August 15 on Network Ten.