Today, more than 25 years later, Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown tell Susan Chenery why they were There was a connection very quickly. Rachel Ward, actress and director, 56, married I find it impossible to have relationships with men in any kind of authority. me laugh, and Bryan Brown did that from the moment we met on the set of The Thorn Birds in Marc Jérusalmi speaks through Chinese portrait with Rachel Ward about which flower she'd be, her marriage with Bryan Brown, and her film.Interview Rachel Ward & Bryan Brown
Her speech is all rounded vowels and fruity language and she has a disconcerting habit of looking away as she talks, down over the top of her glasses to the floorboards or across to the stretch of green that runs down to the harbour.
Her attention snaps back, though, when an unexpected visitor strolls onto the veranda. It's Sam Neill, apologising for the interruption and man-hugging Brown.
- Double or nothing
The actor comes bearing a gift for his old friends - a framed caricature of Brown by Herald artist John Shakespeare, published earlier this year. Look what he gave me," says Brown, holding it up for his wife to see. For locals, the couple are part of the furniture - you might spot them queuing for coffee at Bertoni, getting groceries in Woolies. Ward, who was filmed on this veranda for a video in support of Patrice Newell's Climate Change Coalition before the last election, often grabs her bike from a shed just inside the front gate and pedals up to Balmain shopping village.
They share, he says, "alleged artistic sensibilities" and discuss projects, films they've seen. At Balmain, he says, they host "tremendously great social occasions" attended by a roll-call of luminaries - British actor Richard E. Ward would come to be a saviour of sorts for Campbell, an actor who became a New York nightclub owner in the '80s.
Moving back to Sydney five years ago with her young daughter, Campbell struggled to adjust.
Rachel Ward: What I know about men
Ward invited her to lunch, went out of her way to introduce her to people. I cannot say enough how much I appreciate that.
Every second Friday for the past few years, Ward and a composer friend have left the city for what she calls an "adventure trip" - kayaking, cycling or hiking see box, page What's so extraordinary about Sydney is that in half an hour you can be in some incredible national park.
In an article for The Spectator Australia, published last November, she wrote of lakes, snow-capped mountains and glacial river valleys. And, uncharacteristically, of the shopping: All indications are, that one way or another, Ward has been bowling Brown over since they met on The Thorn Birds set. But the pair's great love affair has been famously fiery - "not just ups and downs but volcanos and tsunamis", declares Waterstreet. A newcomer might find the couple's jousting discomfiting, as during this exchange about the process of writing the Beautiful Kate script: He's always in a position of rightness.
What I do is I give my opinion. I go, 'For me, it's not there yet. While Ward is candid - she once described Brown as "a good root" - he lets only a few personal details slip: That as a child, he had such dreadful stage fright in an eisteddfod that three times he got up on stage, opened his mouth and nothing came out.
No doubt there are times Brown would prefer that nothing came out of his wife's mouth. Lounging on a sofa with her brown boots slung up over the arm, she's talking now about England and how she has come to embrace her privilege, in the most English sense of that word, rather than shunning it as she once did. She's also talking about her father, Peter, and his death early last year.
I don't want anything but it is extraordinary that you can have a family of that many [Ward also has two half-brothers] and the eldest brother was left everything. For nearly four decades, Claire Ward, said to be 's most beautiful debutante, lived with the notoriously louche Lord Lambton in a sprawling 17th-century villa near Siena where they hosted guests including Prince Charles.
Lambton had quit the British parliament in after photographs of him naked in bed with two prostitutes, smoking dope, were published. According to a Daily Mail report, after his death, Claire was forced to leave the Tuscan estate to make way for Lambton's son and returned to England, devastated. Peter and Claire Ward separated when Rachel was young and it seems that her relationship with her father was a distant one - "I mean, I saw him once every 18 months and he wasn't a great communicator.
He was of a time and a certain [place] I always felt for her father. Those things are so affecting, so affecting. When you lose someone early, to survive you cut off certain emotional things For years now, Ward and Brown have mentored troubled young people: Brown is reluctant to talk about it - "You give a bit of help where you can.
And she did - but not before she'd demanded that flesh-heavy photographic plates destined to be used for a New York magazine cover in the early '80s were broken. The most important thing a man can do is to make me laugh, and Bryan Brown did that from the moment we met on the set of The Thorn Birds in He had a real sense of fun, and was very certain of himself without being arrogant. He also had a great body. Our first kiss was on screen and we took it from there.
Because shooting the mini-series took a long time, by the end of it we knew each other extremely well. He proposed one night after a huge fight. I had taught him to play gin rummy and he kept beating me.
I threw the cards on the floor and it was all over. My decision to accept was made on the turn of a sixpence. At times you have to follow your instincts, hold your nose, and jump.
We've been married for 31 years and the reason it works is because I don't let Bryan get away with any shit. Our roles are equal. I also bring in an income, and we worked out a balance to raise Rosie, 29, Matilda, 27 and Joe, We also split the chores. I could never be married to a man who I felt was not taking his share of duties. Bryan is also sensitive and emotional. He is infinitely interested in humanity and has amazing control of his instinctual masculine urges.
He does not let power,ambition or arrogance rule him. That kind of aggression and domination might have been useful in Neanderthal days, but not now. A lot of men don't know what to do with it, and it ends up in very destructive places. I certainly take men on.
Double or nothing
Maybe not when I was young, but I definitely do now. If I am confronted by unacceptable behavior I feel qualified and confident to challenge it. I find it very alienating, which is why I guess I only really enjoy the company of men who are creative. Those who have developed sensitivity and who are really in touch with their feminine side. More info via miff.