LUCKY may be the name of Tim Minchin’s character in new Foxtel eight-part series Upright, but it is also the way his 19-year-old co-star Milly Alcock felt about working opposite the Perth talent in the role of Meg.
“He’s delightful to work with and I was lucky I got to spend three months in a car with Tim,” Alcock, of Sydney, said.
“It would have been a very different story if I’d had to spend three months in a car filming across the Nullarbor Plain with someone who I didn’t like.
“I can wholeheartedly say that he’s so genuine, smart and deserves all of the credit that he gets. I learnt a lot about the industry from him.”
Upright follows the story of misfits Lucky (Minchin) and Meg (Alcock) who have a collision in the Australian outback resulting in a wild road trip.
Family misfit Lucky is trying to drive home to Perth to visit his dying mother, transporting his only valuable possession, an upright piano, while Meg is running away from her own family struggle.
“It’s about our journey and it’s sad, funny, makes you want to cry and laugh and it’s real,” Alcock said.
“There’s no bull**** with it which is really refreshing. Good people do bad things and bad people do good things and I think that’s what the cusp of the story is about.
“Everyone is human and we all make mistakes.”
Alcock, who made her television debut at 14 on Wonderland, said she also felt fortunate to have the opportunity to play a three-dimensional character like Meg.
“Her range is really incredible,” she said.
“She’s this foul-tongued, young country girl who does things that seem a bit radical but are usually for the right reasons.
“She definitely puts herself out there and is very selfless and quite protective of Lucky. We see her mask come on and off when he’s around and when he’s not around.
“Meg is a mystery and we don’t really uncover her full story and why she’s doing what she’s doing until the end. She definitely has some qualities I wish I had. I’m not similar to her but wish I could be a bit more like her.”
Alcock said battling flies and the heat while filming was worth it for the payoff of seeing more of her home country than she could have ever imagined.
“I wouldn’t have had the desire to go across the Nullarbor at this age and was fortunate to see a world of beautiful places like the salt lake,” she said.
“Katie Milwright our director of photography, and the first female DOP I’ve worked with, did an outstanding job of capturing the Australian landscape. Just seeing Australia was an eye-opening experience for me.”
Directed by Matthew Saville, Upright was written by Minchin, Leon Ford and Kate Mulvany, with Minchin also executive producer and composer.
Unsurprisingly, music plays a big part in the show’s storytelling and although Alcock does not play an instrument, she did make her own playlist to get in Meg’s headspace.
“I tried to learn how to play the drums once but I have a very athletic family and music wasn’t a very big part of my life growing up,” she said.
“I can’t play piano and Tim is ridiculously talented, so I feel like if I started it would just be embarrassing.”
Stream all episodes of Upright from 5.30pm (AWST) on Sunday, December 1 on Foxtel or watch the double episode premiere on Fox Showcase.