Marta Dusseldorp explains ‘Wentworth’ character ahead of debut


marta dusseldorp wentworth promo
Photos: Foxtel

Actress Marta Dusseldorp makes her first appearance on Wentworth on this week’s episode.

Dusseldorp (pictured) was announced as a cast member for the long-running prison drama in June. She arrives in the show’s second-last episode of the year, on Tuesday night on Foxtel.

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The Janet King and A Place to Call Home star plays Sheila Bausch, convicted of the murder of nine people at fictional cult True Path.

Queer inmate Lou Kelly and Reb Keane previously met and fell in love while they belonged to the cult.

Dusseldorp told News Corp Sheila’s arrival at the prison “drops a bomb” on the pair.

“There were some Wentworth regulars who said there’s never been a character like Sheila before,” she said.

“I walked into Wentworth, as Sheila, ready to be Top Dog, ready to take over the whole goddamn place.”

Dusseldorp said she had “always adored Wentworth, [but] always been too busy to do it.”

“The diversity and inclusivity of every person in society is represented and nurtured with great stories,” she said.

“I really wanted to show another side on camera that you don’t always have… to be the flawed heroine.

“I really loved jumping into someone that people are going to think ‘Oh no!’ But there are some redeemable features.”

Character’s ‘superiority complex’ is chilling

For the role, Marta researched another cult figure, Ma Anand Sheela, the assistant of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

The pair led a community of “followers” in the USA and were featured in Netflix doco Wild Wild Country.

“I got a real insight into that superiority complex. That ability to be completely vindicated in behaviour and to know that you’ll be taken care of on the other side,” she said.

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“Anything you do or say or enact is fine. You’re doing it for the greater good.

“I found that quite chilling. The most important thing for me always is never to judge the people I play.

“I had to find my belief in Sheila, my understanding of her, and that it all stems from weakness and inauthenticity of not being able to live as a woman who actually loves and desires other women.

“I really wanted to show that complexity. She might be able to find freedom in prison.”

Wentworth’s final episodes will screen next year

Wentworth recently finished filming its 100th and final episode, under COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne.

Dusseldorp said “the air of paranoia and fear and anxiety” due to the safety measures “added to the intensity” on set.

Wentworth has developed a huge queer following over its run and has screened in over 160 countries.

In late 2018, fans mobilised after rumours circulated the show had been cancelled.

Foxtel later confirmed 20 more episodes of the show, split into two halves.

Two more episodes for 2020 will screen this month, before the final ever 10 in 2021.

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