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This Is Not My Life


Tania Nolan answers our questions

Tania Nolan will be familiar to many as Angelina from Go Girls - and for her debut in The Hothouse. But in This Is Not My Life she plays Dr Collins, who could be a threat or a friend to Alec Ross...

Tell us a little about how you got involved in this project
Dr Collins was actually the first role I was invited to audition for.  I'd had the pleasure of working with Gavin Strawhan and Rachel Lang while filming season 1 of Go Girls and This Is Not My Life was their next exciting venture.  Casting began early 2009, and I ended up having to send a taped audition from LA, as I was there sussing the place out at the time. Thankfully it was still enough to seal the deal!  I flew back a few months later to begin pre-production, and it was then that I truly realised what a blessing it was to be a part of such an innovative and brilliant show.

Tell us about your character - and how did you get into their mindset?
Dr Collins.  The face of Wellness.  Firm but fair.  She manages the physical, mental and emotional health and happiness of her client's entire family unit.  Natasha is inquisitive, calculating, dedicated, extremely ambitious as well as, well, kinda spooky, right?  This "other worldly" quality was a strong vision for Dr Collins right from the beginning.  We wanted her to be cool yet disarming, un-readable.  Using silence and stillness to control.  Early on in rehearsals with Rob Sarkies and Peter Salmon we came up the ''xray eyes'' idea.  As if she's physically scanning one's every thought.  However, it was important to marry her omonous presence with a strong psychological intent.  Throughout the filming period I did a lot of detailed writing from her perspective, to find her thoughts.  She has very different instincts to my own. There is much more than meets the eye to Dr Collins.  But is her mission in aid of the greater good or for her own personal gain?  You'll just have to wait and see...

What was it about this show which attracted you to get involved?
This role was a great opportunity for me.   Any chance to work being a gift, but especially one that challenges me as an actress.  Dr Collins is a complex little cookie, with a very different personality to my own.  This Is Not My Life is such a well written story. NZ viewers have not seen a show of their own quite like this before.  It was a dream gig which I feel very proud to be a part of.

What was the shooting of this show like?
There was such a great atmosphere on set, and all throughout the production team.  I've never experienced an entire cast and crew loving the scripts like this.  Excitedly chatting about each new episode as scripts were published.  It created such a rich environment to work within.  It felt like a passion piece for all involved.  This is why the show looks and feels so slick and styley!  Most of my filming was within the very cool Wellness set.  I mean literally cold,  I often carried around a little hottie with me, to keep me from shaking.  Oh to suffer for one's art...My scenes where scheduled and shot over  two or three days within each three week block.  I had a lot of prep time in between my shooting days, where I'd then film all my scenes back to back.  Such a tease, it always left me wanting more.

What were the challenges of this show?
Our budget.  Most of the cash needed to be injected in to post production, to achieve the fancy futuristic look and quality of show.  This meant tightening the belt on all other departments of the actual shoot.  There was a lot of kiwi ingenuity going on.  And it paid off!

With a production like this and the filming schedule, was there any room for fun? Were they a good crew to be part of?
Fantastic cast and crew, who were all very talented and dedicated to their work.  And I'm sure there was fun going on after hours, but sady I have to say I wasn't part of it.  Not until the wrap party that is. I went a bit 'method' on it during filming and kept to myself a lot.  Dr Collins is a solo soul and I found myself hibernating both on and off set.  It wasn't a deliberate or planned strategy,  it just surfaced and felt right at the time.  A bit of total immersion if you will!

What was it like being part of a different kind of NZ show like this?
I felt and still feel genuinely stoked to be a part of this show.  Now all I can ask for is that This Is Not My Life gets the viewers it so deserves.  Then we can keep telling the story!

Many of us will recognise you from Go Girls - but Dr Collins is a totally different role - do you relish the variety of roles you're being offered ?
I love it!  Playing a variety of characters is what gets me going as an actress.  With Dr Collins I made a conscious decision to create a contrasting energy to that of Angelina from Go Girls .  Angie is firey, direct, emotional and explosive.  Whereas Dr C is centered, calming and calculating.  Mysterious.  Their similarities lie in the fact that they are both contained and conflicted in ways.  This is shown in their poise and posture, as well the structured style of their hair and clothing.  For me the joy comes from taking a script and expanding on that.  Creating their history, discovering what makes them tick.  Then playing with it,  feeding off the other actors within this make believe land.  Transforming myself completely is very satifying.  However next on my wish list, oddly enough, is to play a character who's more like myself.  I haven't really had the chance yet.  Someone silly, excitable and well, just a tad quirky.  This is me.

Is there any part of Waimoana that you would like to have as part of your own life?
The green lifestyle.  No more plastic bags or excessive packaging.  And bring back glass bottles!! Oh and a PeC would be pretty damn funky.

Was there anything from the Waimoana world that you tried (or succeeded) to take home from the set?
I was gifted one of Dr C's dresses. And her blue bra.  Yes, even that was blue!

What's next for you?
Next for me... I'm filming in NZ until mid Dec 2010, then back to LA for me.  Chasing the dream, auditioning, networking and the like.  Doing my very best to create oportunites for myself.  Hey, I'd rather die trying,  than never knowing!

Don't forget you can watch episodes of This Is Not My Life free here!