Water Rats: articles

Smart Move on Rats

FOURTEEN years ago, Rebecca Smart picked up a Best Actress Logie for her performance as Bryan Brown's daughter in the mini-series The Shiralee.

Big things were predicted for the then 10-year-old, but Smart did not become the overnight teen sensation some predicted.

Fourteen years later, Smart has completed her education and continues to impress in a mix of guest and continuing roles in dramas such as Come in Spinner, Murder Call, Heartbreak High and All Saints, plus the occasional stage shows.

Last year she joined Water Rats as Constable Donna Janevski, the "kid at the desk" who seems to spend most of her time shuffling papers and answering the phones.

But Smart isn't disappointed. Rats is another stepping-stone in building her career.

"Sure, you're always keen to do a bit more, but when I came into the show I knew what I was there for," she says.

"Donna is really a facilitator for the other detectives. Things happen around her."

All that changes next Tuesday when Smart is very much front and centre in a storyline that sees Donna taken hostage by a convicted killer.

"It's the biggest break I've had since joining Rats and it was great to get the opportunity," she says. "It's the episode that allows me to show my progression as an actor."

It is also the episode in which Donna finally gets to share Sen-Constable Matthew Quinn's (Diarmid Heidenreich) bed.

"I guess, in a sense, we're the `young rats' and it's great to be able to develop that side of Matthew and Donna's relationship," Smart says.

"But above all, working on this show allows you to learn from people like Steve (Bisley) and hopefully continue to improve."

Smart says she's "no snob" when it comes to acting. Stage, TV, film—whatever the medium, she's happy to be a part of it.

"I enjoy stage, but it doesn't pay as well as TV," she says, chuckling. "I suppose most actors say they'd love to do movies, but they don't come along very often."

Each production, she says, has its own way of working. Her stint with the teen series Heartbreak High saw Smart, for the first time, dealing with method actors.

"They were into it, but I wasn't. It was hard for me to change after 12 years," she says. "But I'm not saying it wasn't beneficial for me, it just wasn't the way I'd done things.

"Quite often you have to work in ways you don't like, or are unfamiliar with, but that's the way it is. Why should it be different for me?

"If you want to make a living out of this business, you've got to take the good with the bad."

Water Rats, Channel 9, Tuesday, 9.30pm.

Robert Fidgeon
April 25, 2001
The Herald Sun