Article on Jenni Baird by Parade in 2017 about the tv serie a place to call home
Beautiful period dramas can be addictive, especially when there’s an evil force that keeps you glued to the screen. Lucky for us, actress Jenni Bairdknows exactly how to channel the best-dressed villain in the acclaimed Australian drama A Place to Call Home.
I caught up with Baird to find out more about Regina Standish, the fascinating character we love to hate, and what’s in store for her and the drama as Season 5 begins in the United States.
While some actors might long to play a good guy after diving so deeply into the world of “mean,” Baird loves the challenges and wardrobe that come with Regina. “I’d be happily typecast for the rest of my career,” chuckles Baird.
Being fictionally evil has certainly allowed Baird to go places she would otherwise never consider going. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had,” notes the actress who offers up the crazy laundry list of Regina’s demons and misdeeds. “She paid someone to beat her up. She got a drug habit. She took savage revenge on people. She’s poisoned people. Shot them in the face. She’s been strangled. She’s smashed glass on multiple occasions. She wears amazing outfits. She always looks super glamorous. I don’t really think you could get much better,” says Baird about portraying a crazy, complicated, extremely flawed, multidimensional character in the spotlight.
Of course she’s normal and nice, but what might surprise people about Baird? She’s also about as far from Standish’s straight-faced demeanor as you can imagine. The actress is the first one to appreciate a laugh and a joke. “I’m a bit of a contradiction in that way,” she notes.
“I love socializing with everybody at work. So when I’m doing her really dark stuff, I have to kind of step outside of my zone–my happy zone–for a bit, which is always a shock for the crew around me. They’re so used to me having a laugh all the time.”
As Season 5 begins, the show jumps to 1958 with costume and production design changes following suit. Baird believe this will introduce fans to a “new temperature and a slightly different tempo.”
“Obviously everyone’s changed in that four-year period. And I would say that Regina has changed possibly the most because I think she has been through something incredibly traumatic since we’ve seen her last.”
Baird won’t reveal any Season 5 spoilers, but tosses me this teaser: “It’s going to be quite startling I think for the fans. And it was so interesting for me as as an actor to be given that challenge.”
So who would she like to play on the drama if she couldn’t be the Queen of Mean? “If I couldn’t play Regina, I would probably really enjoy Sarah (played by Marta Dusseldorp)—because she’s like the Luke Skywalker to my Darth Vader,” explains Baird with a laugh.