Seven types of anonymity — why actor Leeanna Walsman likes to fly under the star radar
Anna Brain, National TV writer, News Corp Australia Network
April 11, 2017
Leeanna Walsman was a busy woman this past year, just as she’s worked solidly across her two decade-long career in front of the camera.
So why isn’t she a household name?
While her low-key status might be about to change — following her appearance in the ABC’s new psychological thriller, Seven Types of Ambiguity — the 37-year-old says she’s happy to fly under the star radar.
“I just don’t think people are that interested,” she tells Switched On, with a laugh.
“I don’t have any high-profile affairs or controversy.
“That’s nice, actually. I think my work is much more interesting. I’m quite a private person, I have a close-knit group of friends, and even though I love to go to events, maybe I don’t go to as many as I should, I don’t know.”
Keeping her focus on the work, Walsman admits her latest role — playing Anna, a well-to-do woman whose child is abducted — opposite Alex Dimitriades, Hugo Weaving and Xavier Samuel, still left her feeling insecure at times.
“More than anything, this cast is so stellar, you think ‘oh god, I hope I’m not the weakest link’.”
It’s safe to say, her fears are off the mark and her performance a compelling one.
After Anna’s son is taken — and then returned — police examine her past relationship with his kidnapper, Simon (Samuel).
While Walsman doesn’t have children of her own, she drew on universal feelings of pain, love and betrayal for the role.
“With the love that I feel for my niece, and my family, the love that I see my friends feel for their children, I imagine that there wouldn’t be a greater loss. If that’s the case, then it’s about pain and fear. I hope I did a good job.”
She explains: “with acting, clearly actors aren’t all the [people they play], or haven’t experienced all the things that we portray.
“I certainly haven’t been to war, or killed a person, I haven’t done any of those things, but you have recollections of feelings.”
The six-part series is based on a 2003 Elliot Perlman novel of the same name.
Directors Anna Kokkinos (The Time of Our Lives, Head On), Matthew Saville (The Slap, Cloudstreet) and Glendyn Ivin (The Beautiful Lie) employed the same storytelling technique used in The Slap, where each episode is told from the perspective of a different character.
The style is “really honest”, Walsman says, because “it’s how we all walk around, not knowing what other people are thinking.”
Weaving, outstanding as Simon’s psychiatrist Dr Alex Klima, was an intimidating figure for Walsman who had never worked with the acclaimed actor before.
“I guess that’s a good thing, because it means that I still want to give a lot,” she says, adding “… it’s hard not to fall in love with the man. Everything he emanates, everything you are attracted to on screen, whether it’s good or bad, is everything that you get from human to human. It’s not acting, he’s very, very lovely.”
“First time (working) with Hugo, first time with Xavier. I know Alex, but I don’t think we’ve ever worked together before. They’re amazing human beings, incredible.
* Seven Types of Ambiguity, ABC, Thursday, 8.30pm