Debbie Newby-Ward says her mum doesn’t recognise her any more. Tandi Wright reckons she no longer has any friends. Nicole Whippy has come to accept her cousins calling her by her character’s name, Michelle. Shane Cortese jokes he's had to reintroduce himself to his children. And just last week, actress Katherine Kennard walked into a supermarket and was verbally abused by a complete stranger.
Life has certainly changed for the cast of hit Kiwi TV show Nothing Trivial. It’s been almost two years of gruelling filming schedules and increasingly deepening storylines, and the stars of the popular comedy-drama, based around a pub quiz team, have learned to cope with their characters taking on a life of their own.
“I have had some pretty harsh comments from people come out from this show,” says Katherine, who plays Shane’s character Mac’s cheating wife. “I’ve had upset women come up to me when I’m doing my shopping, saying, ‘You’re that girl who ran off with the arborist! You’re such a b**!’ It’s quite hard to deal with – it’s like, what do you say? There’s no point in me arguing, I guess.”
Along with copping flack for their characters’ misadventures, and spending more time on the set of The Beagle pub than at home with their family and friends, the upside of the show is the extremely close relationship the cast has forged. Not to mention their interactions with some of New Zealand’s top pub quiz teams.
“We got invited to the NZ Pub Quiz Championship,” grins Will Hall. “We’ve been invited to heaps of pub quizzes, actually. I think people thought we’d know the answers. But I think we were a disappointment!” “We came fourth... to last,” laughs Shane.
“I get asked to host a lot of quizzes,” adds Aaron Ward, who plays The Beagle’s quizmaster. “The other week I was hosting one and I didn’t have any questions for one round, so I used a whole pile from the scenes we’d filmed that day. It was very handy!”
As the cast winds down from their successful second season, they’ve been able to reflect on how close they’ve become since starting production last year. “This production is pretty special,” says Shane. “It’s got great heart. We spend so much time together, so we’ve developed pretty strong friendships with each other, and that’s rolled out into the extras as well.”
It’s this closeness that’s enabled the Nothing Trivial actors to get through the increasingly sexual scenes of the second series. “People come up to my partner all the time and ask how he copes with all that!” laughs Tandi.
“Nerida gets asked that a lot too,” adds Shane of his wife and former Dancing with the Stars partner. “But she’s totally fine with it. She understands the closeness and the fact that we’re in character. It’s harder for the people on the outside of the relationship looking in!”
“Shane and I have this thing, ‘You cover this bit on me and I’ll cover this bit on you,’” Tandi grins. “It’s just teamwork!”