Friday, September 26, 2014

Lisa Chappell

Today I'm going to learn about Lisa Chappell. She might be a Kiwi instead of an Aussie. But since she was one of the stars of a popular Australian TV show, I'm going to consider her sort of-Australian...or at least Australian enough for my blog.

I was going to say she's an honorary Australian. But since I'm not Australian myself, I don't think it's in my jurisdiction to bestow that honor upon anyone.  

Lisa Chappell was on McLeod's Daughters for its first three seasons. Then she decided to leave, and the result was that Claire McLeod and a car fell down a cliff. 

Actors can really cause heartbreak and trauma when they decide to leave a show. Today I was thinking about the Doctor and Rose Tyler. If the Doctor can travel in time, why can't he just go back to the past and be with Rose Tyler before she was sent to a parallel universe. In the past, wouldn't she exist in her original universe. I sat there wondering, why wouldn't that work? What's the big scientific explanation. And then it came to me. There's one simple answer. Billie Piper didn't want to be on Dr. Who anymore.

On Claire McLeod's death certificate, the cause of death shouldn't read "Catastrophic injuries caused by motor vehicle accident". It should read, "Actress decided she didn't want to play the part anymore".

Maybe we're all just characters in TV shows, on a parallel universe, and we die when the actors playing us decide they want to work on other projects.

I've read that one of the reasons Chappell left the show is she felt she was too different from Claire McLeod. It's made me wonder if by too different, she actually means she didn't like Claire. Or she couldn't relate to Claire. Maybe it was a struggle to find her inner Claire.

If I'm, by chance, right about her being unable to relate to Claire, we have that in common. I'm not a big Claire fan. I don't go for that tough, salt-of-the-earth woman.  I might not be interpreting salt-of-the-earth right. But for me it's the type of woman who gets things done; doesn't show much emotion; doesn't take bullshit from others; and is never neurotic.  She's a worker, not a dreamer.

I prefer the women like me—.the ones who frequently worry, frequently feel guilty, and are often lost in a daydream.  I remember reading that Chappell likes to daydream. Or at least she does it a lot.

So I think Lisa Chappell is more my type of woman than Claire McLeod.  I look forward to learning about her.  

I'm going to start with her bio page on IMDb.  

They say she was born in New Zealand, on October 18, 1968.  She's about four years older than me.

She was married to a man named Chris Taylor. She met him at her co-star, Rachael Carpani's 21st birthday party. The marriage lasted from 2001-2005.

Chappell is a vegetarian.  That's something we have in common.

She studied acting at ACA (Actor's Centre Australia)

Blood donation is an important cause for Chappell, and so is The Humour Foundation— a charity that helps put clowns in children's hospitals.  

She writes. She wrote a children's book. She's written songs. I have one or two on my iTunes. I haven't listened to it in a long time. I wonder if any of her songs are on Spotify.  

Well...not that I can see.

Now I'll look at Chappell's filmography. I'll talk about some stuff, but not everything. If I miss something important to you, please leave a comment about it.

Chappell's first screen thing was a 1987 New Zealand TV show called Gloss. IMDb describes it as the New Zealand answer to Dynasty.  So it was a soap opera. The show was on from 1987-1990, but IMDb lists Chappell as being there for only 1987.  

Lord Wiki says the show has not since been rescreened; nor is it available on DVD.  I'm betting then that I won't find it on YouTube.  

Oh...but Lord Wiki is now telling me about a website called NZ On Screen. They provide NZ content to people worldwide.  That's very cool. Lord Wiki says they've had clips from Gloss on it. I'll see if they have anything now.  

I put Gloss in the search thing, and they have a lot of different choices, including a bio video on Chappell. Maybe I'll watch that later.

They have the first episode of Gloss. I'll watch some of that.

Is that Chappell in the credits?! She looks very different.

This show has very interesting music.

Wait. I think maybe that wasn't Chappell in the beginning. I think she's this blond girl, maybe.  She's here at 4:56, but she was also shown before then. I just didn't think it was her.

I'm still not sure.

Okay, at 5:47, it's definitely her. I know because someone calls her Chelsea, and IMDb told me this is the character she plays. I think she's the same blond girl I saw in the earlier scene. So that would have been Chappell as well.

Wait. She also has blue hair. I'll just back up and see if the blond I saw before also has blue hair.  

Nope. She had blond. HOWEVER...She headed into a hair design place. I'm assuming she went there to get blue streaks in her hair.  

Now my brain is finally kicking into action.

I'm going to move on to the next thing. 

From 1990-1991, Chappell was in thirteen episodes of a police drama called Shark in the Park.  I wonder if shark in the park is some kind of kiwi saying.  

Well, I Googled and didn't find anything about that. It sounds like it should be a saying. He's such a shark in the park. Or don't act like a shark in the park.  What would it mean? I have no idea. But where does that title come from? Why would there be a shark in the park? 

Anyway, Chappell played a character named Tanya. 

The NZ On Screen website has an episode of Shark in the Park, but not one of the episodes with Chappell.  I'm seeing the Chappell biography again, though.  I'll probably watch it later, and they might have a clip of Shark in the Park.

In 1993, Chappell was one of the stars of a movie called Desperate Remedies. Lord Wiki says Chappell played a lesbian in the film.  

NZ ON Screen has the trailer and some clips. I'll see if any of them feature Chappell. 

I think I see Chappell in the trailer. She looks very much NOT like Claire McLeod.  I think that's her at :33, but I'm not positive. I think I'm bad at recognizing Lisa Chappell.

I think I saw her at :38.

I keep seeing her. Or what's probably her.

Now I'm watching the first clip which is the beginning of the movie.  

There's a woman in it. I don't think it's Chappell, but I could be wrong.

Here's a scene with Chappell. It begins at 3:00.  Her character is shockingly different from Claire McLeod.

I'm moving ahead now—skipping a few things. And I'm going to stop at 1996 with Jack Brown Genius.  It's a science fiction film. One of the writers is Peter Jackson. 

Lord Wiki says the movie is about an inventor who becomes possessed by a monk.  

NZ On Screen has the trailer

There's a woman in the trailer, but I'm not sure if it's Chapell or someone else. 

From 1996-1998, Chappell was on the show City Life.  It was a drama about single people. Lord Wiki says people said it was New Zealand's answer to Melrose Place.  I've heard something like that twice already today. Can New Zealand make a show without it being compared to an American one? 

Well...twice isn't exactly a pattern yet. 

Lord Wiki says the first episode of City Life featured a kiss between two men.  After that happened there was a major drop in people viewing. I think we are to infer that the kiss was to blame.  Or really homophobia is to blame. 

Chappell played a character named Bronwyn Kellett. She's spoiled and runs an art gallery.

I was going to watch some of the first episode; but that particular item is blocked on the NZ On Screen Site. They have a very friendly and encouraging message though. We're sorry but due to licensing restrictions this clip cannot be viewed outside New Zealand. But, most of NZ On Screen's content can be viewed from anywhere: browse and enjoy!

I wonder why some shows are available to everyone around the world and others are not. Who decides these things?

Chappell started working on McLeod's Daughters in 2001. She was on the show for the first three seasons. Her character died in the second to last episode of season three, but she came back as a ghost in the season finale.

Lord Wiki says the show earned Chappell a Logie award for most popular female actor.

After McLeod's Daughters, Chappell appeared in eight episodes of the last season of Stingers.  She played a character named Megan Walsh. Lord Wiki says Walsh joined the police unit and formed a relationship with Church. Is Church one of the main characters?  

Yes. Lord Wiki confirms that. It seems he was the main character in Stingers.  Megan had a thing with him, but then slept with another guy. And then it ends up that she's corrupt.

In 2007, Chappell starred in a short film called Crossbow. It's available on YouTube, so I'll watch it later.  

Lord Wiki has a lot to say about Crossbow, and I don't often see him talking about short films.  

The movie was directed by David Michod, who'd later go on to direct Animal Kingdom. One of the stars is Joel Edgerton. He seems to be becoming quite a big deal lately.

Crossbow won some awards, including best short film at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

I look forward to watching it. I wonder if I'll like it.

In 2009, Chappell started in Coffin Rock. It's a thriller marketed as being produced by the same folks who produced Wolf Creek.  

Chappell plays a woman who's married to a guy with fertility problems. She tries to solve things by sleeping with a younger man.  I guess she thinks he'll just be the sperm donor. But then it turns out he's psychotic and wants to be a part of her life.

Here's the trailer.  

Young psycho stalker guy looks so familar. Who is he?  

It's Sam Parsonon.  IMDb says he's from Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms.  I just finished watching that today. I didn't recognize Parsonon. But in that show, a lot of the actors were hidden behind facial hair.

What I know Parsonon from is Love My Way. I was actually thinking he might be from that, but I wasn't sure. He played Dylan who was the son of Ben Mendelsohn's character. Dylan might not have been a psycho stalker, but he did seem a bit disturbed at times.  Or maybe not disturbed. I'm starting to remember.....

He did really awful things, mostly on accident. It was kind of pitiful. I think one of the things was he borrowed Frankie's computer, watched porn on it, and ended up accidentally losing Frankie's photos of her recently deceased daughter. It was awful. And I think I despised him for doing it. But it wasn't exactly his fault. I mean he didn't deliberately delete the pictures. But he made a mistake with disastrous results.  

That whole show was so depressing. And I'm off on a total tangent here.

Let me finish watching the trailer.

It looks pretty good. Scary. Creepy. That kind of thing.

It looks like Chappell returned to her native land in 2009. She was on the TV show Cult.  I can't find much about it.

In 2010, Chappell guest-starred on two Australian shows, so I guess she was only back in New Zealand for a short time.

Wait. But then in 2011, she's in a New Zealand TV movie, and the same for 2012.

And the last two things on Chappell's filmography are guest-starring roles in New Zealand TV episodes.

I'm going to take a break; then I'll come back later to do other things.

I'm back!

I think first I'll watch the film about Chappell on NZ On Screen.

Chappell talks about being on Gloss. She says she liked the job so much, she didn't look forward to the weekends. That's very cool. I think it's great when people love their jobs.  

Now Chappell is talking about how her character in Gloss was wealthy, and this was foreign to her because her own family wasn't wealthy. Not only that, she didn't really know of any wealthy people.  Because of this Chappell says she judged her character as being a spoiled, rich bitch

Was the character a spoiled rich bitch? Was it only Chappell who stereotyped the character; or did the writers themselves use a stereotype?

Chappell says she had a big appetite and would eat the props. That's pretty funny.  

Now she's talking about Hercules, which I failed to talk about when looking at IMDb. Chappell says she wasn't interested in the show at first, because it seemed to be all about boobs. But then later she joined the show and it was campy.  She likes fun campy things.

Chappell says she DID like Claire McLeod. Though she feels she was written to be too heroic. Chappell tried to show her as someone that has flaws—has emotional difficulties, puts up walls, etc.

Now she's talking about Cult. Chappell says she has nothing in common with her character on that show. I'm pretty sure I've read something with her saying the same thing about Claire. Maybe Chappell has a hard time relating to a lot of the characters she plays. 

Well, it's probably good that Chappell can't relate to her Cult character. She's a murderer and she tortures people.

Or maybe it's not good. To play a good villain, I imagine it's better if actors can find their dark side. Not that you want them to go out and kill people as research. But I think maybe it's helpful if they can relate to the motivations that lead the character to doing bad things.   

Chappell seems almost snobby towards the characters she plays; and maybe a little high on herself. She talks about how she's different from the Cult girl. She says she's a turn the other cheek and forgive and forget kind of person.  That's lovely. But I think I'd be more intrigued by an actress who said, I would never kill or torture anyone, but I've had times in my life where I was furious at someone and unable to forgive them. And I had fantasies of revenge. 

Claire McLeod is not my type of person; but I'm not sure Lisa Chappell is either. That's not saying much, though. As Lisa Chappell is snobby and picky about the character she plays, I'm picky and snobby about people I know...or learn about. I think I prefer fictional people to most real ones.  

Sometimes I remind myself that the fictional people I love were created by REAL people. And maybe I'd like THOSE real people. But I've come to doubt that. If I had a choice of eating lunch with a creator of a fictional person and watching the fictional person on my TV show, I'd probably enjoy the latter much more.

Now I'm going to watch Crossbow, that short film. 

The beginning consists of 35 seconds of neighborhood exterior shots with nothing happening. In film, I think 35 seconds is a pretty long time. I don't understand artsy films and their need to have these long quiet moments.

Next we have 30 seconds of a teen sitting on a bed listening to people have sex.

Chappell plays the mother of the teen who is also one of the adults having sex. I guess that's the theme of this movie—kids being exposed to the sounds of sex.

Joel Edgerton is the dad.

The story is narrated by another kid who lives in the neighborhood.  Or is he really talking about himself, but pretending it's a neighbor?

No....I'm getting the idea it's another kid. Well, because he says he wanted to have sex with the woman/mother.  Unless, this is some kind of dark incest thing.

The teen isn't just exposed to sex, but also his parents have wild parties. I think, though, that it's less about the sex and parties, and more about the teen being neglected. When I see him, it almost feels like he's invisible in his own house.

Now the teen suddenly has a crossbow. He's turned into Daryl Dixon.  

Oh wow. For the most part, this movie doesn't really impress me. But there's one line that's amazing.  The teen is pointing the crossbow at the cop. The narrator says,  In the few seconds I saw the kid see something in the cop that he wanted. She didn't want to kill him. She really didn't want to kill him. And for the kid, that was probably about as close to love as he had ever gotten.

I think that's beautiful...and incredibly depressing. It's so true, though. As money isn't shared equally in this world, neither is love. Some people get a lot. Some people get hardly enough. Other people get none.

I'm sure a lot of the people starved for love end up deciding to commit suicide. Maybe they'll call up a hotline and for a limited time they're finally given undivided attention. But what happens when the phone call ends?  If they're still alive the next morning, does it all get better? Who is there to love them when the phone call ends?

The teen is shot and now the mother and father are finally showing him some love and attention.

I think we've created this world in which people have to do extreme things in order to escape the feeling of being either hated or unloved. And if they don't do anything drastic or crazy, the sad shit usually continues.  Well...unless they're like Mickey Smith and jump over to a parallel universe. No, never mind. Jumping to another universe is actually quite drastic. My theory still stands.

Now I'm going to watch a 2011 McLeod's Daughter's reunion interview with Chappell and Bridie Carter. 

The video quality isn't so great. But that's okay.

They talk about their start on the show and how they were taken out into the middle of nowhere. Well, it was somewhere...but far away from other places.

Neither Chappell nor Carter were good at riding horses. They joke about how the producers watched them riding and probably regretted hiring them.

Now they're talking about the death. Chappell says she wanted Claire to die, because Claire would have never left the property otherwise. She was really attached to her home. Yeah. That makes sense. It's not like she would have decided to pack up and move to Sydney.  

Chappell and Bridie snuck a peak at the script and were happy to see the death scene. But then when filming it, they had tears. They say there was a lot of real crying.

When I watch a show that makes me get all choked up and the characters are crying, I often wonder if the actor is really crying.  I mean crying because they're feeling sad about the scene too (rather than forcing tears by remembering the death of their pet bunny rabbit).  If the scene is sad enough to make the viewer cry, isn't it possible that it's sad enough for the actors too? 

And then when there are scenes that involve an actor leaving the show...or the show itself is ending,  I really start to suspect the actors are truly sad. 

Here's one of Lisa Chappell's songs. "When Then is Now".  It's one of the ones I have on my iTunes. It's really pretty, but I think some of the lines are corny.  

Or maybe it's just the chorus that's a bit...something. When my teeth stop hurting and the birds stop hissing and the doubts go missing, I'll be free. There's so many bad things we can complain about, and she talks about teeth pain? It seems so random.  I think The Sound of Music did it better with dogs biting and bees stinging.  

The rest of the lyrics are pretty decent.

The song makes me imagine Chappell suffers from chronic teeth pain.  I don't doubt that's painful. It just seems strange to sing about it. I would probably pick head over teeth. Because head can represent both physical pain and emotional pain. often do birds hiss?

This website says parrots hiss.  They do it as a warning. So is Chappell saying she wants parrots to stop using the line of defense? Or is she saying she wants to live in a world in which they don't feel the need to use that line of defense?

Or did she just want hissing so it would rhyme with missing?

Here's another Lisa Chappell song I have on my iTunes. It's called "Love is Now".  I think it's very beautiful and it makes much more sense to me than the other song.  The basic message is, your life might suck right now, but don't worry. Love is coming.  It's one of those messages that might be bullshit; but when I'm feeling down, I cling to the hope it promises. 

Here's a Twitter page for Lisa Chappell. It might be her account. Or it could be a fake one. I'm not positive. She's only following two people, though, and that's often a sign that someone's a real celebrity.  

Chappell's last Tweet was about the movie Boyhood.  She says, amazing film, I not only feel like my creative tank has been filled but my human being tank has too.  I want to see that movie. And you know what. My human tank probably needs to be refilled. I think it's lacking a bit lately.  Although if my humanity is completely drained, maybe I'll magically turn into something cool like a poison dart frog or tortoise.

I'd love to be a Tasmanian Devil.  Although then I'd probably be dealing with more cancer scares...and ones that don't turn out to be just cysts.

Would it be fun to be a gecko?

A cobra! I would like to be a zoo cobra...well, because I don't want to be biting people. At the zoo, I'd just lie around and watch all the people watching me.

A lot of Chappell's Tweets are photos of animals.

On August 31, She tweeted, When in doubt-leave your house. What kind of doubts? Any doubts? What does that mean? I'm often doubting things. If I had to leave the house every time I was in doubt, I'd never be home. And I like being home.

In August, Chappell was in some type of comedy show. She Tweets about that a lot.

Oh! Chappell wrote the show. It's called Bad Day Insurance.

This blog has a review of the play. It's a very positive review. The blogger says, Lisa Chappell is back with another clever comedy that challenges the mind with large themes perfectly tailored down into a small, intimate hour-long performance that may have you laughing for the duration of the show, but leaves you thinking hard in the days after.

As I've said before, it irks me when people use a second-person viewpoint when writing reviews. I don't like being told how I'm supposed to feel or react. However, I give this reviewer some leeway, because she says it MAY have me laughing. She doesn't make it seem like I need to laugh, and not doing so means I'm not fully human (which can be remedied by watching Boyhood).

The play is science fiction and takes place in the future.  It's about women selling insurance to people. Instead of life insurance, car insurance, or home's bad day insurance.

Here we go! Lisa Chapell has her own website.

On this page, she has a showreel.

I don't know what the first scene is from.

I think that's Sally Fletcher in the second scene.

The fourth scene is sad.

On this page of Chappell's site, she has a long list of writing credits.  A few are TV shows and movies. I don't think I saw writing credits on her IMDb filmography, so I'm guessing these are unproduced.

At least some (maybe all?) of her plays are produced. There's a one woman show called Fred.  Here's a review of it. The play sounds really interesting. It involves cannibalism.

This TV show sounds sort of intriguing to me.  Flying High: A pilot who has developed a fear of heights undergoes hypnotherapy before each flight in order to keep his job and unwittingly becomes a drug mule for his hypnotherapist. Although I wonder how they could continue to make it interesting. How would each episode differ from each other?

I love how Chappell describes her screenplays. She says, On screen I’m exploring the fractures of the human heart wrapped up in the arms of magic realism.  Tim Winton's Cloudstreet is like that.

I like magical realism.

Chappell says her plays are usually black comedies. I think I prefer the fractured human heart with magical realism stuff.

Though I like some black comedy.

I like black comedies that have heart. Like BeetleJuice.

I'm not sure if it had a lot of heart, but I also loved Sean of the Dead.


I wrote this whole post about Chappell and I don't feel I really know much about her at least not what's inside. I bet if I saw one of her plays or movies, I'd understand her much more.

I think writers reveal a lot of themselves in their fiction.

I'm wondering now, do I reveal more about myself in this blog or my novels?

Maybe it's the novels.

Fiction is like farting and blaming the baby's diaper or the dog. You reveal things about yourself and then you hide behind the characters you've created.