Danielle Cormack Lives ON

I was almost ready to reconcile myself with the reality that I may not see Danielle Coprmack for a while now that she’s departed from WENTWORTH. However:

Danielle Cormack: A force to be reckoned with

By Corey SinclairSeptember 15, 2016

Danielle Cormack

Danielle Cormack. Image by Darren Tieste.

Danielle Cormack has played an Amazon warrior queen to ‘top dog’ in a women’s prison, but Danielle’s latest role in upcoming mini-series Deep Water offered her a chance to play something a little different.

Deep Water is a four-part crime-thriller series that was inspired by the gay hate crime epidemic that engulfed Sydney in the 80s and 90s.

Cormack portrays Brenda McIntosh, a crime scene investigator who works to help unravel the mystery of the murders – many of which remain unsolved.

“I was attracted to this project for many reasons but mostly because it is a really important story to tell,” she tells the Star Observer.

“All the stars were aligning in terms of this project, the people involved, the timing and of course the character.  I could see her but also her potential and I was granted some license to help form the character on the page.”

It was also an opportunity for Cormack to work closer to her home in Sydney – filming around “beautiful” Bondi in the middle of summer.

But the icing on the cake was working alongside a stellar cast including Orange Is The New Black’s Yael Stone and Game of Thrones’ Noah Taylor, and reuniting with Shawn Seet who directed her as Kate Leigh in Underbelly.

“(Yael and I) had a few brief conversations about Orange is the New Black and Wentworth – I’ve been a big fan of it since it started,” Cormack remembers.

“I was interested to hear what the experience of working on a mostly-female prison drama in the US was like compared to what it was like for us here.”

To prepare for the role of Brenda, Cormack had extensive conversations with an experienced female constable who was able to talk her through the role of a crime scene investigator.

“I was intrigued about her experience within the force as a woman and how over the years that has changed,” she says.

“It’s important with any character I play that the experiences they’ve had are embedded into the character as much as possible, and I’m only able to do that by having the experience myself or researching it.”

Deep Water Preview by a-san2

Cormack relished the role, and found the forensic nature of Brenda’s personality satisfying.

“My observational skills had to be on high alert at all times,” she says with a laugh.

Danielle Cormack in the upcoming mini-series Deep Water. Image by Sean O’Reilly.

When she’s not starring in hit television programs like Wentworth and Rake, Cormack likes to focus her energy on raising funds for charities that help children.

She recently completed a 100km charity walk, and just returned from a trip to Cambodia – where she got to witness firsthand the things money do for the children.

“Leanna (Walsman) and I have been good friends for a long time – especially after we worked together on Wentworth and she said ‘do you want to do this walk?’ Any time someone asks me to help out, it’s usually an emphatic -yes.

Danielle Cormack

“And then I go back and think, ‘Oh wait, what did I just say yes to?’” Cormack says with a laugh.

After describing the 26-hour, 100km trek as an “extremely grueling and challenging experience”, Cormack admits that she would gladly go back to do it again next year.

“I recovered more swiftly than expected – the physical pain left me quickly but the psychological element was another thing,” she says.

“(At the end) it felt like I didn’t really do it, it was just a blur, but my body kept screaming that I definitely did do it.”Now she’s out of prison so to speak, Cormack is on the look out for the next well-written role she can sink her teeth into.

“What interests me is playing characters that are well-formed… exposing all the colour and nuance of their interior world, or the chance to show they have secrets. It’s about creating a full human being, not just an archetypal character, especially as a female because historically females have been there to enable a male character’s journey,” she says.

“In Deep Water, Brenda plays an integral role in terms of relaying facts and exposing the forensics of the story, but she’s not integral to advancing emotional plot. It was a welcomed relief that she was emotionally uncomplicated, but playing someone like Bea Smith, Kate Leigh or Scarlett – the character I played in Rake – the emotional weight of those characters and the complexity of their journey, was a major part in advancing the plot.

“For me, there are so many different factors as to why I choose a role.”

Describing herself as a strong advocate for marriage equality, Cormack says she is flabbergasted that Australia hasn’t honoured everybody the right to marry.

“Growing up in a family where there were never any barriers up against race, sexual orientation or gender, it saddened me when I became old enough to realise there was homophobia, racism and sexism in the world,” she says.

“I champion any movement that supports those who have been marginalised to help them find a voice and to be heard.  For example, it was such an education working closely with Socratis Otto who played Maxine (on Wentworth), and doing more research into transgender and what that means now.

“Thankfully there’s a much needed, louder conversation about unfair discrimination and human rights and helping people understand that journey… for people to be more empathetic and educated – most importantly educated about people’s choices and/or lack of, is the path to acceptance.”

© Star Observer 2015 |


About the Author Corey Sinclair

Corey Sinclair is Star Observer’s editor-in-chief. Originally from Newcastle, Corey spent five years living in the Northern Territory reporting on issues impacting remote Australia, with a particular focus on the LGBTQI and Aboriginal communities. He returned to Sydney in 2015.

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