Michala Banas Upper Middle Bogan Interview
Question: What originally drew you to audition for Upper Middle Bogan?
Michala Banas: Like anything else, I got sent the script and I had a read; originally I was going to audition for a different role but when I read the script Amber was jumping off the page at me and I felt as if that was the role I wanted to audition for. A bit of time passed and I was actually overseas, I sent a tape across to the Director and the Producer and I got the job!
Question: Can you tell us about your character, Amber ?
Michala Banas: I love how upfront Amber is, of course everyone talks about how she burps and swears but there is so much to her including that she is fiercely protective of her family and I really liked that about her. I'm thrilled that I was able to be a part of Upper Middle Bogan.
Question: Amber is different to your other TV characters; was it difficult to relate to the character of Amber or was it just too fun?
Michala Banas: It was too much fun! Like anyone, I swear a little bit, I don't swear like she does though! I really relate to Amber, probably just as much as I relate to other characters I've played. Everything manifestness differently with her than it does with me, Amber is more upfront , straightforward and abrupt than I am as a person but it all comes out of love so I feel like she's not that far off, from me in a lot of ways.
Question: How did you prepare to play Amber?
Michala Banas: I went to the racetrack because I feel like that's such a big part of their life and it's something that at that point I didn't have much of an understanding of and hadn't spent a great deal of time around race cars. I spent some time at Calder Raceway, in Melbourne and got a sense of the place and people there.
In interviews Glenn Robbins talks about how each family has different smells and so the smell of the burning rubber, petrol and the sensory overload because everything is loud and fast was in the preparation.
We had a two week rehearsal period with the families, which was great as we could bond and come towards each other which was very beneficial.
Question: What was it like having Glenn Robbins, play your Dad?
Michala Banas: (laughs) Glenn Robbins is amazing, as soon as I heard Glenn Robbins was playing my Dad and Robyn Malcolm was playing my Mum I was freaking out! I was excited but really nervous, as Upper Middle Bogan was my first comedy and Glenn Robbins is a comedy icon! I was intimidated but then when I met him, he is such a lovely, warm and kind man and he was certainty very supportive and generous because in the first part of rehearsals I was really holding back and didn't want Amber to be annoying or the character that everyone says 'she whinges all the time…" I wanted her to be likeable and I was nervous which made me hold back; Glenn Robbins said to me 'Just go for it! You're a really lovely, warm person and that will shine through. Just go for it with Amber and see what happens". I have him to thank for Amber's forthright attitude. I know how lucky I am to have been given the role of Amber.
Question: Do you think you'll see yourself surrounded by race cars, drag racing or V8's again, soon?
Michala Banas: I hope so; I'm converted (laughs)! Darren Morgan and his family and the Top Fueler did all the racing in Upper Middle Bogan and we hung out with him during filming and he has races coming up that I'm hoping to get to. It's addictive and I now get why people want to go and race, all the time, it's a rush just watching!
Question: Why do you think Aussies loved and will love Upper Middle Bogan?
Michala Banas: With Upper Middle Bogan it's relatable on both sides of the story, there is what some might refer to as the -snobby family' and then there is the -bogan family' but there is certainly not clichés of those two categories. Everyone has a bit of a snob in them and a bit of a bogan in them; I know when I'm at a super fancy restaurant or a big event I feel like a bogan and then when I go somewhere super bogan I feel like a snob (laughs)! You can relate on both sides to both families featured in the show which provides a really nice balance. I think Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler got the balance right of Upper Middle Bogan on so many levels. Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler are known for doing dark quirky comedies and this show has a real family feel about it; I've heard of people watching it with their young children! I've asked parents about Amber's swearing and they reply 'she's always getting in trouble for swearing, it's not like it's glorified" especially because of the swear jar! There is a lot of love in the show which makes it warm and that is certainly a reason to watch, that's for sure!
For the blokes there are fast cars and all that! Everyone likes it, we're winning across the board!
Question: What was the best thing about being on set of Upper Middle Bogan?
Michala Banas: Working with Wayne Hope, Robyn Butler and Tony Martin; they are great people aside from being extremely talented and clever, they're very lovely people to have as Producers, Writers and Directors; you couldn't ask for a better team and everyone has so much respect for them across the board and they're so generous with everyone which makes it feel like everyone is a team opposed to there is the actors over there and the crew is over there and the production team over there – we all felt like we were in it all together, which is a nice feeling.
Question: What's next for you?
Michala Banas: I'm currently touring a play; I'm currently in Taree, NSW and then we are travelling to Gosford and we've been doing Queensland then we're coming back to Melbourne. The play is myself with Max Gillies and Samuel Johnson who is currently riding a unicycle around Australia and the three of us a doing the play whilst he does that, which is unbelievable! We're touring regionally and it's called The Haunting Of Daniel Gartrell. I'm having a blast!
Upper Middle Bogan DVD
Cast: Glenn Robbins, Robyn Nevin, Annie Maynard, Robyn Malcolm, Patrick Brammall, Michala Banas, Lara Robinson
Genre: Drama, Comedy, TV
Running Time: 237 minutes
From the creators of The Librarians and Very Small Business and directed by Wayne Hope and Tony Martin, when an upper middle class woman discovers she is adopted she is shocked to find out she comes from a drag racing family in the outer suburbs.
When Bess Denyar (Annie Maynard), a doctor with a posh mother (Robyn Nevin), an architect husband (Patrick Brammall) and twin 13-year-olds at a private school, finds out that she is adopted, she is stunned. But even more so when she meets her birth parents – Wayne (Glenn Robbins) and Julie Wheeler (Robyn Malcolm).
If that's not enough to digest, Bess also discovers that she has siblings – Amber (Michala Banas), Kayne (Rhys Mitchell) and Brianna (Madeleine Jevic).
The Wheelers head up a drag racing team in the outer suburbs, and are thrilled to discover the daughter they thought they had lost.
Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
Upper Middle Bogan
Interview by Brooke Hunter