Meet New Zealand’s new It Girl. Courtney Abbot charms in her role as the girl most likely to stuff everything up in new Kiwi comedy/mystery 'Girl vs. Boy'.
New Zealand doesn’t have the best reputation for making comedies, (although we’re definitely improving) but what we are good at is making top-notch youth entertainment, with celebrated series’ such as 'The Tribe', 'Being Eve' and 'Reservoir Hill'.
From the Emmy award-winning makers of 'Reservoir Hill', comes a new teen comedy with a mysterious twist, 'Girl vs. Boy'.
The small community of the Bay is thrown into chaos when much loved local glamour couple Tim and Hailey (they even have their own fan club!) break up due to a mysterious misunderstanding set in motion by best friend Maxine, who does what comes naturally to her, and says the perfectly wrong thing at precisely the worst time.
Determined to makes amends for her part in Tim and Hailey’s breakup, Maxine adopts the role of romance sleuth, determined to root out the underlying cause and bring harmony back to the Bay (Seatoun, Wellington does an excellent job masquerading as the gorgeous Bay).
We all know a Maxine; her heart is in the right place but her foot is almost permanently wedged in her mouth.
Slipping into the role of 18 year-old Maxine was easy for 22-year-old Courtney who says she can relate to the lovably flaky nature of her character, but the hardest part was recalling the high school mindset, when every problem becomes a drama, magnified to epic proportions.
"She’s a bit of a goof. She is fantastic to play because I’m similar to her in some aspects, but I just don’t think I get myself into some of the situations that she does, like she just keeps digging that hole. But she’s so much fun, she’s so goofy and loveable at the same time."
With a background in theatre, Maxine is Courtney’s first television role since graduating from UNITEC in 2011 with a Bachelor in Performing and Screen Arts majoring in acting.
As her first paying gig as a TV actress, Courtney says she had to adjust her performance, as stagework demands a different style of acting to television.
"They’re like different ends of the spectrum in terms of acting technique, because it’s just far more subtle with acting on screen."
Courtney originally went to drama school with the intention of becoming a drama teacher. She’s recently been helping the drama department of her former high school, Whakatane’s Trident High, and says the experience has reignited her passion for teaching.While acting on stage is her first love, now that she’s gotten a taste for TV, Courtney is eager to do more, and isn’t ruling out a role on the series that has almost become a rite of passage for New Zealand actors; 'Shortland Street'.
In fact, it’s such an institution of New Zealand drama it’s almost the equivalent of compulsory military service for actors, "you’re doing your service for the entertainment industry of New Zealand" laughs Courtney.
"I feel like that’s an initiation process isn’t it? Everyone has to go through it. Who knows what will happen."
However Courtney’s short-term plans don’t include contributing to the brain drain and heading off for warmer climes and a bigger pay packet. She says she doesn’t have the big Hollywood dream like so many others.
"I really just want to keep working, keep making a good CV for myself in New Zealand before I even think about anywhere else, I’m quite loyal in that way, I don’t really want to just flit off somewhere."
Part of that commitment includes supporting the work of her peers and future actors; she says she wants to see "the next wave" of actors emerge and "more New Zealand talent all over our screens".
"I have a strong passion to change the face of the New Zealand industry.
"I just want to see all the new graduates get on screen, that’s actually my aim."'Boy vs. Girl' airs Sundays on TVOne at 5pm