As Brenda Chenowith, the smart-cookie female lead of Six Feet Under,
Oscar-winner Rachel Griffiths has finally made it into the showbiz
major-league. But it took some pretty gruelling sex-scenes to get there, and
now she's dealing with every celebrity's nightmare, her first stalker. David
Spedding speaks exclusively to everyone's favourite bad girl.
Well well, Rachel. Series two of Six Feet Under shows you
being a very naughty girl indeed…
[laughs] That's so typically British of you! Everyone else starts out with the
subtle questions, but no, the British go straight for the sex angle, right in
Well it's a pretty extraordinary journey your character goes on - random sex
with complete strangers.
That's very true. But it wasn't 'fun' sex. Well OK, it starts out with a sort
of mischievous element, but then it goes to a place that's downright
dangerous. It wasn't like a girl having a good time, orgasming in a kind of
great joyful way. There were obviously very painful scenes in there.
It's something we've not seen seriously discussed on TV before, this whole
female sexual addiction thing.
That's true. And it's all a little strange. You know, it's where sex is kind
of being used to numb pain you know, and there's nothing pretty about it: you
see a girl putting herself in a position where she doesn't even know the
person she's having sex with. I mean, she could be getting into a car with
Fred West! It's kind of dangerous to the soul and, therefore, very self
How does an actress put herself into those shoes?
Well like you said, it's something that's we've not really been presented with
and it's certainly not something that I could connect with. So I couldn't draw
on any personal experience, and no female friend that I talked to about it has
had that kind of experience. Most of my friends are more likely to have
romantic addictions than sexual addictions. You know, "This one's the one"
type of addictions or, you know, kind of compulsive monogamy where every one
is the one. Believe me, I have friends that fall in love, like, five times a
So where did you find the inspiration?
Actually, the best feedback I got was from gay men who have anonymous sex. And
I had such a wide response about why men do that. But in the end, I just kind
of did it and let the audience fill in the dots… it's not something, to be
honest, I truly understood.
You only recently got married - it must have been quite tough for your husband
to see his new wife being, well, such a slut. Even if it was only pretend…
Actually he was fine with it, and if anything it made the process easier. I
don't want to sound smug, but our relationship is so solid and I feel so
supported. He's an artist too. and we definitely have discussed how much
braver you feel as artists when you have such a solid base to come back to. If
you're single, I think it takes much longer to let go of some of the places
that we go on the show whereas, if you come home to, you know, your beautiful
wife, your beautiful husband, just seeing them instantly… [beams] oh, well
you are happy. you have a great life. and that stuff's not real. But if
you're by yourself, the feelings can linger.
How are you handling the whole fame thing? You're in a show that goes out all
over the world now.
Yeah, and that's pretty strange. But the work is still bigger than the, you
know, celebrity. I really hate that word, actually. The fact is, I go to work
at 5:00 a.m. and go home at 7:00pm. I drive myself, there aren't any limos. So
basically it's still all very real and the job is so much bigger than this
little bit of stardust sprinkled around the outside. Having said that, I was,
stalked home the other day for the first time ever by a big black car, and it
totally freaked me out.
Erk - what happened?
Oh, it just, like, crawled behind me; and then it went past me, and then it
waited for me, you know, stopping and starting. To start with I couldn't work
out if it was a photographer or something, and then he went past me. and then
he was crawling behind me about 50 meters away.
It was bloody terrifying! And no one was home on the street where I
lived. Finally, I saw a tradesman, and I went over and said, "I'm being
followed." And still this car was, like, hovering with the engine
still running. It was like one of those scary hitchhiker movies, you
know? Eventually it left and I just ran home. I was shaking by that
time. I just shut the door behind me and said, "Andrew, I’ve just been
followed." And I’ll tell you this much, it's a good thing we don’t
have a gun in the house because Andrew was like, “OK, where is he…”
Bless. That's what husbands are for, isn't it?
You'll forgive me saying, but you do seem utterly, disgustingly loved up…
[laughs] Well of course I am! Marriage is wonderful and definitely
transformative. I was already in love, and I knew I'd spend the rest of my
life with Andrew. But the actual ceremony is an event that was probably more
transformative than I imagined. It's like a gate that you kind of walk through
and yes, you do feel a little bit different on the other side.
Six Feet Under series 2 starts on Channel 4, Sunday (May 25th), 10pm.