Hollywood becomes a magic place for Jess

Hollywood becomes a magic place for Jess

Fri September 21, 2012 4:11pm

THE Packed to the Rafters star Jessica Marais, who quit the top-rating family drama last year, has joined a handful of Australian actors with leading roles in Hollywood.

Her new series, Magic City, has been bought by Foxtel and will launch on its SoHo drama channel in November.

It will follow three new US dramas which feature Australian leads: Strike Back (Seven) which stars Sullivan Stapleton, Revolution (Foxtel) with David Lyons and Anna Lise Phillips and 666 Park Avenue (Foxtel), which stars Rachael Taylor.

Magic City is a lavish Mad Men-style period drama set in Miami in the late 1950s and tells the story of the inhabitants of the luxurious (but fictional) Miramar Playa Hotel.

Marais plays sultry Lily Diamond, the wife of mobster Ben Diamond (Danny Huston) in the series. Marais describes her character as ''overtly'' seductive. ''It is a form of power and manipulation,'' she says.

When Magic City launched in the US earlier this year, it met with mixed reviews, though it did win favour with culture bible Vanity Fair, no doubt because of its period setting and luxurious production design.

It also won a fan in the home-town TV critic Glenn Garvin, who described the series in the Miami Herald as ''irresistible television''.

Garvin singled out the show's female actors as its strongest suit. ''All play trophy women in a pre-feminist world, roles that could easily have sunk to bimbomania,'' he writes. ''Yet each of them projects intelligence and frustrated ambition, turning their characters into much more than sexual pawns in a male world.''

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