New Idea (NZ)
12 June 1999
Jodie's Big Break
Kiwi actress Jodie Rimmer has already scored a starring role in a movie - and now Aaron Spelling's knocking on her door!
by Elizabeth Tindall (New Zealand - New Idea 12 June 1999)
Talented kiwi actress Jodie Rimmer always dreamed of playing the lead in a homegrown feature film, and her dream became veality when she made it on the big screen as bad girl Siggy in the local comedy I'll Make you Happy.
That film was Jodie's first major break. but since then she's hit the big time again playing one of the core characters in a pilot (the first trial episode) for a new Aaron Spelling drama filmed at Bethell's Beach.
The vivacious 25-year-old says she was completely 'buzzed out' when she got the call to say she was the only New Zealander to land a part in a pilot made by the man behind Beverly Hills 90210 and numerous other TV series.'lt was really exciting. I was quite blown away. It was like, "What do you mean Aaron Spelling's doing a show at Bethell's Beach?!" Only in New Zealand could something as strange as that happen: says an animated Jodie.
She was 'a bit dubious' about what the pilot was about, but when she read the surreal, slightly scifi script she was realty thrilled.
Jodie's just finished the two-week shoot, and working with showbiz people like Mark Frost, the writer and producer of Twin Peaks. 'Working with the cast and director felt really professional. There was a close feeling between the cast. We went dancing and partying together and it
was great fun.'
They will find out later in the year whether the US television network will back the drama and make it a full series.
'It could be massive - or it could fizzle away into pilot land,' explains Jodie.'I could work for a long time or four months. But it's possible my life could change with the American job.'
The America pilot has brought out ambition in Jodie she never thought she had. 'The thing I love about the American jobs is that they work so smoothly. It's full-on because there are 1400 people behind you who want your job, so you have to be the best at it. I love the pressure of having to be really good and to get it right the first time.'
Jodiel who has loved acting since she started in commercials when she was 12, welcomes the idea of having longterm acting work.'lt could mean that I don't have to waitress any more,' she laughs. But she'll have to wait and see whether the Americains give the show the thumbs up.
I'll Make you Happy was Jodie's first film and she loved every second of playing teenage prostitute Siggy, who thinks up a scam to rip off her pimp.
The biggest buzz was the pressure and responsibility of having the lead. Says Jodie: 'Every day I used to jump out of bed and go, "Yay, I get to make a movie today',then I'd do a little dance and go to work.'
Jodie was immediately drawn to the character Siggy. 'She was very bolshy and strong, but yet she had an emotional surprise twist in the film that was great for me to explore.'
To prepare for the film Jodie spent nights sitting in her parked car on Auckland's K. Rd observing the life of Auckland's red light district.
'I just watched how the prostitutes held themselves and their body language, For me that was enough. I didn't need to speak to anyone because I used my instinct.
Working with famous actors like Michael Hurst, Rena Owen and Jeinnifer Ward-Lealand, was a wonderful experience for Jodie, but it took her a few days to realise she didn't have to wait on them.
'I found myself making them coffee for the first day and pulling out their chairs! Then I realised I didn't really have to do that. The other actors were all very gracious and warm. Everyone was really equal on the set.'
As well as being a thrill, filming I'll Make You Happy was also a traumatic time for Jodie. Her parents were in a serious car accident and were flown to Rotorua Hospital - but she couldn't leave the shoot to be with them.
'It was terrible. I was filming scenes and stopping and talking to dad on the phone from hospital and I'd just be in tears saying,"I love you". Then I'd go back to makeup and they'd touch up my face and I'd go back and shoot a scene.'
Ambitious Jodie has also worked on a number of other successful New Zealand TV productions, including Xena and Young Hercules. She played the core cast character Lilith in Young Hercules for most of last year and loved it.
While working on the set of Xena. Jodie met and became friends with Lucy Lawless and the two have kept in touch.
Jodie has great admiration for the famous Kiwi actress. 'Lucy was very supportive of me. She's generous and kind and we get on well, She's a very happy woman, She's very in love and very blessed - and so down-to-earth. says Jodie.
When it comes to viewing her own work petite Jodie says she cringes. 'I have always had problems with it, especially when it's a close-up. you're on the screen, it's massive and it`s your face.' But when she's watching I'll Make You Happy she can see quite clearly that she's playing someone else. 'I think thats a good thing,' Jodie says.
It's obvious Jodie's chosen the right career. 'I love acting, I love making TV and film and I love theatre. I know what I want from my life, but I'm open to change. I've never wanted to be a huge movie star and I think it's important to roll with what's going on.
One part of the job she finds harrowing is the stress of auditioning and waiting for the call.
'You've got to have a relaxed attitiide about life otherwise you get in trouble like I did a few years ago.
'I got a bit too stressed out. I think it was a self-esteem problem. I used to feel displaced a lot in the world. I didn't quite know where I fitted in. I feel I know myself better now and I can pretty much cope with everything.
Jodie is blissfully happy with her boyfriend Ant. 'He's a genius and he's very funny. He is very supportive of my career. He's the man who makes me laugh my socks off and cooks me a great dinner. I'm very lucky.
'I am very grateful for the fact that I've been blessed with a gift and I'm trying to honour that by doing my best work. My dream is to tell great stories and do justice to that.
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