Samantha Jukes plays Tina, Sam's girlfriend and a hopeless romantic. Lately, she's begun to suspect that Sam is playing the field, which only makes her more clingy. Then just as things go bad, they start to get worse, after Tina wins a staggering amount of money...
Snorting cocaine and throwing lots of money off the top of a Wellington building has all been a huge change for newcomer Samantha Jukes, who up until recently, led a much less eventful life working as a policy analyst at the Ministry of Education.
Not that she's complaining. "It's been just a dream come true to be able to act full-time and act on-screen," she says emphatically. "That's been sensational! But secondly, I thought that the stories this series tells are fantastic. The writing is really good."
Samantha plays Tina on The Insiders Guide to Happiness, Julie's rather flaky younger sister. "In her defence, Tina is a rather lovely person," explains Samantha. "She's very hopeful but also often quite unrealistic and idealistic. She just wants everybody to be happy. And she wants to be happy, and she wants to be loved, and she wants to love everyone. So she's a bit needy&"
"But she definitely changes a lot through the series. She stays lovely but, eventually, as different things happen to her, she gets more guts."
In order to fully embrace the role, Samantha had to research two things: legal drugs and illegal drugs. One of her tasks was to learn how to 'snort' several lines of cocaine. "Yeah, that was quite weird," she recalls "It was actually glucose but I did have to snort quite a lot of it actually. It wasn't my favourite thing in the world to do, as it was quite physically uncomfortable. But I suffered for my art!"
Samantha also did some research on the blood disorder von Willebrands disease, that her character, Tina is affected by. "One of the clotting factors in her blood is missing, so it's almost like a milder form of haemophilia," she explains. "Finding out about all of that was very interesting."
had a lots of scenes with her more experienced co-star Fraser
Brown, who plays her boyfriend, Sam. She found him a delight to
work with, and a great teacher:
"I really enjoyed working with Fraser because he is a really giving guy and a really giving actor," she says.
"I was really inexperienced when I started on this show so I had a lot of questions. And Fraser gave me a lot of time, talking about the acting, about different techniques, taking me through them and stuff. Even if he's reading in lines from off-camera he delivers them at peak performance level, to allow you to really experience the character."
Likewise, she formed a unique bond with another core cast member Sophia Hawthorne, who plays her sister, Julie. "We definitely developed a sisterly connection," says Samantha, "which has been really special. Sophia and I are quite different, but that difference works for us. In some ways Sophia reminds me of my own sister, which helps. She's older, and there are some physical similarities between them."
Like many of the cast, Samantha struggles to sum up in just a few words exactly what The Insiders Guide to Happiness is all about. "I guess it's about the explorations of a bunch of different people who essentially are all after the same thing," she says finally. "Which is to find that place in the world that they can be happy in. And that's really interesting, because I think we all do that in real life."
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