Joelene Crnogorac had previously worked on The Man From Snowy River before moving on to guest star as Lena in the third series of the successful children’s series Ocean Girl. Joelene spoke to TV Flashback about the highly popular series…
1) How did you become involved with Ocean Girl?
I was asked to audition. It was a similar process – there were a few callbacks, where I read with different cast members, and then I got cast.
2) Had you seen Ocean Girl before joining? Were you happy to be joining such a popular show?
I actually hadn’t seen it before I joined the show. But I was so happy to join the cast, as I was already good friends with some of them. Jeffrey Walker, Marzena Godeki and I, had all previously worked together on Round the Twist. So, I immediately felt comfortable. And we got to film all our location scenes in beautiful Port Douglas. So not much to complain about really!
3) What was it like joining such a young cast? Did having so many young people around make it easier or harder on set?
It was awesome! It was like being on one big, prolonged school camp! There was a real sense of camaraderie and that we were all in it together.
4) What were the difficult or challenging aspects of playing your character?
The one challenge was actually a physical challenge – the production wanted my character to have white hair like her father (Nicholas Bell’s character), so they dyed my hair white blonde, and when I say white I mean WHITE. I mean my hair was high-vis, it almost glowed at night. And because I am naturally a brunette, they had to keep dying and touching up my regrowth. And six months of non-stop bleach on your hair roots, takes a toll! My hair started snapping off, to the point where I had a whole section on the top of my head that was like a cockatoo’s crest.
5) Who did you enjoy working with on set?
I loved working with all my friends. It was so great. But I did really treasure my scenes with Nicholas Bell who played my character’s father. He’s so lovely, generous, and talented, such a professional – that as a young 16 year old actress, I was so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside him and to learn from him. And he’s incredibly funny too. I remember constantly cracking up in scenes with him.
6) Did you have a favourite episode or storyline?
Oh goodness, again it was such a long time ago, I’m foggy on the details! I remember the last episode being quite dramatic for my character as she was trying to stop her evil Dr. father from destroying the world. We had a bunch of crazy special effects as my character stands on a boat trying to stop this big, bad, glowing orb from being dropped into the ocean which would end humanity. We shot the scenes both outside on a boat in the actual ocean, and also in a recreated boat in a studio. It was dramatic and chaotic and I remember getting saturated and having a ton of fun.
7) Were you approached to return for season 4 or were you only ever doing season 3?
I was only ever doing season 3.
8) Why do you think the show was so popular?
Kids, hijinks, and adventure. What’s not to love!
9) What will you treasure most from your time working on Ocean Girl?
Again, it has to be the friendships. The friendships that you make on a film set, have such a unique longevity to them, no matter how much time has passed. It’s definitely the thing I am most grateful for.
10) There’s been talk of a new version of the show, would you consider coming back if asked? Do you think the show could work now?
Haha for sure! I mean, I’m 42 years old now, so not quite sure how they would work that character angle… but hey, I’m open to ideas!
11) What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been living in the U.S. on and off over the years, but have been permanently based out in LA for the last five years now.
You can catch me on Prince of Peoria – a Netflix teen comedy – as the mean-spirited Judge Delphan. I’m also voicing two characters in an upcoming season of the American Girl stop-motion series.
I also recently created a female comedy web-series called ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP, which was released to YouTube earlier this year. It’s “Sex & the City” meets “Entourage”. Only the poverty version. It tells the absurd tales of four striving actresses and their attempts at surviving the fickle world of show business.
The series attracted such an incredible cast, one that I will forever be grateful for: Maddie McCormick (Little Fires Everywhere, Shameless) Kelly Frye (Disney Plus’ Sulphur Springs, Criminal Minds), Michelle Lukes (HBO’s Strike Back, MacGyver) and Allie Leonard (Convenience, General Hospital). And of course, I had to get my mate Ben Geurens in it too, who cameos in a hilarious role.
I mean, it’s no secret that female lead ensemble comedies are an under represented area on our screens, big and small. With ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP we really wanted to grab the bold female comedy baton and run a hard and fast mile with it. There is a great feeling of empowerment to be making our own content and being in control of the narrative, driving the story telling process from beginning to end. And to also be creating opportunities for women both in front of, and behind the camera. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve.
Thanks to Joelene for another great interview. We may have another interview with Joelene coming up in 2021, so keep an eye out. You can catch Joelene in scenes from Ocean Girl below: