Rain Shadow: articles

Victoria Thaine

Women help a thirsty land

PLAYING a country vet in Rain Shadow was always going to be a challenge for Victoria Thaine.

That's because the actor, who grew up by the beach at Coffs Harbour, has never owned a pet dog or cat, let alone spent any time around farm animals.

"Just small things, like picking animals up like I knew how to do it properly, I had to learn those things," Thaine says.

"I did notice when I watched a couple of the episodes back that I do a lot of talking to the animals. I am kind of bluffing that I have some kind of connection to the animals.

"There were a couple of days when I had to do a scene with Gary Sweet, where I had to put his cat into a basket while we were talking and, for the life of me, I couldn't get that cat into the basket.

"The animals were pretty good. There weren't too many bloopers with the animals, and the animal wranglers were fantastic but there is one scene near the end of the show where a couple of actors had to herd a big group of sheep over a hill.

"We discovered that there's skill in keeping sheep going in the right direction, and some clever editing may have made the actors look a bit more skilled than they were on the day."

Rain Shadow tells the story of two bush vets Kate McDonald played by Rachel Ward and Thaine's character, Jill Blake who form an unlikely partnership to help their small farming community survive a crippling drought.

The six-episode series was shot in the Adelaide Hills, around the town of Mt Barker, and Thaine says the location made it easy to get a feel for the story.

"Before the production started I got to do a couple of days' work experience with the local vet who has worked in the area for 30 years," Thaine says.

"I got to meet the farmers and learn a little bit about the hardships that we focus on in the show.

"I just got to soak up the land and that helped me to get into character living in that harsh environment.

"We had a couple of 40-degree-plus days, and we didn't have any shade or cover, and at the end of every day the layer of dust and dirt that came off us all was pretty disgusting . . . The dirt is dusty and sandy and on windy days there was no escape from it."

Thaine, who appeared in The Night We Called It A Day as well as episodes of All Saints and Blue Heelers, says Rain Shadow should appeal to city and country audiences.

"When we live in cities, and are not out there, it's very easy to not understand what is happening in the bush but the ramifications are becoming so widespread," she says.

"What attracted me to Rain Shadow in the first place was it's so rare to have a show that's really about two women and focus on their relationship, two really strong women doing a physical job in a harsh environment."

Rain Shadow, ABC, Sunday 8.30pm

By Sarah Nicholson
October 03, 2007
The Courier-Mail