> Holly Valance
Between 1999 and 2002, one of Neighbours' most popular characters was Flick Scully, played by Holly Valance. After three years at the centre of the action, Holly quit to pursue a music career, and is now making a name for herself in the USA. Here, she chats about playing Flick, her music career and why she hopes never to have to sit on the Neighbours green room couch again...
Prior to Neighbours you were involved in modelling. How did you get involved in that and did it help moving from that career to acting?
I really just wanted to make money from a very young age. Macca's said I had to be 14 and I was impatient. My parents were both models so there wasn't this naive idea about all the glamour, I just knew I could possibly make some cash and see where it led me. Ultimately I got the audition for Neighbours and moved pretty smoothly into acting... well I kinda sucked at the start, but shit, it was my first gig, I had to learn on the job, and fast!
How did you get the role of Felicity Scully?
I auditioned like everyone else. I got asked back a few times and just kept trying my best at what I thought was a very amusing prospect. I giggled with friends at school that I even went for an audition, I stopped giggling when they told me I got it 'cos things were about to get real serious!
Had you been a Neighbours fan before getting the role?
Of course! It was my all time fave when I was younger! I think it was everyone in Australia's!
How would you describe Felicity? Do you miss playing her?
Her intentions were always good but she managed to screw everything up all the time. She was always in trouble but her charm and moaning got her out of it most of the time. Hahaha. I don't really miss playing her, 3 years is a long time to be one character. That's why film is so fun, you get to try on a bunch of different people for 3 months at a time.
The Scully’s replaced the long running Martin family; do you remember feeling pressure to live up to your predecessors on the street?
Never crossed my mind actually. There are always comparisons when newbies come along but I think we were unique enough a family to be memorable anyway.
Which of Flick’s storylines did you enjoy the most and which the least?
I loved stealing Stephanie's man Marc. It was so opposite of what Holly would do so it was fun. It was also hard because for a few months I had a lot of dark stuff to play emotionally and that's tiring.
I probably disliked when I got lost at camp (i think?) and we shot out in the frezzing cold boondocks under rain machines, that royally sucked! I had ice cream head, that's how cold it was! Those days are long and painful, literally. I wish I could say the pay packet made up for it but hey this is Neighbours!!
Felicity had a lot of men in her life and was a bit of a heartbreaker; would you have preferred her to of had more stable relationships?
Mmm she really was a little hussy, innocently enough though. I liked exploring the relationship stuff with Daniel Mac [Joel] and I think we worked well together. I also enjoyed her latest crushes and the different people she was drawn too, and then their demise eventually.
Do you have any backstage stories you could tell us about?
Years on a show like that there are so many. The crew becomes your second family and you certainly see everyone more than your real family but I kept my nose right of trouble. No affairs with fellow cast members, no fighting, just working and having a laugh. I really liked everyone I worked with, I'm still in touch with a lot of people.
Which cast members did you most enjoy working with, and have you stayed in touch with anyone from the show?
I think is just answered part of this but I loved working with Jansen Spencer [Paul] and Jonathon Dutton [Tad]. My abs got a serious work out. They made me laugh so hard we used to get in trouble. Jansen is probably the funniest person I know.
Why did you decide to leave Neighbours?
My contract was up and I had other ventures I wanted to pursue. The trap is getting too comfy there and never leaving, also ruining chances for anyone else to hire you and being typecast. I was young enough that I could take a chance and see what else i could do.
After leaving Neighbours you went into music for a few years but after initial success, the second album’s sales were disappointing. Why do you think that was? Would you one day like to return to music?
I think that's how the music industry works. The second album independently did well, but compared to the 1st album not as well, so it depends how ya look at it. It's a very hard industry and I needed a break. I'd lost some passion and without that you're screwed, a 3rd album ain't gonna make itself. So I got out, I don't miss it and I don't want to make another record in the near future but I wouldn't rule it out altogether.
You’ve spent time living in London and for the last few years have resided in Los Angeles. How do you find life in these cities and do you miss living in Australia?
I'm so in love with LA I could live here forever. I have my home here, great friends and a fantastic team. London was just work work work, I never got to enjoy my time there, it's all a bit of a blur unfortunately. Australia isn't going anywhere, I can go home whenever I miss it, but for what I intend on achieving, living there it would not be possible.
How does TV and film work in Hollywood compare to working on Neighbours?
Ahahaahhaa that's the funniest question. Well on Neighbours 30 of us shared 1 trailer and in the US you get your own. You're paid well and it's a lot more glam. I used to get up off the Neighbours greenroom couch with bites all over me from fleas or god knows what, it was made on tight budget. There's so much dough in America I feel like I'm gonna steal as much of it while I can!!
When we interviewed script producer Luke Devenish in 2004, he said that Flick would be the one character he would love to see come back to Neighbours (“Holly was so utterly terrific and Flick was always a joy to play with in plot”) and in 2006 he also said he was delighted with your enthusiasm for the 2005 cameo. Would you ever consider a return to Neighbours, either for a short guest stint or for a longer spell?
That's really nice to hear, I'm extremely flattered by Luke's comments considering how many actors have a appeared on the show to choose from. It was great fun doing the cameo, I had a giggle seeing myself back on the program. At this point I don't really feel like going back would be a step forward, but if I ever really wanted to get back on the show I'd hope I was welcome and brought something to the table that viewers could enjoy all over again.
What are you working on at the moment?
My latest film Taken (Luc Besson) with Liam Neeson & Maggie Grace just released in France and will soon hit America's shores and that's exciting. Pretty groovy having Liam on my showreel!
Why do you think Neighbours has been such an ongoing success?
Because people get to watch real life situations without the boring bits.
Interview by David. Added on 12th April 2008