Emily Symons, who plays Marilyn Chambers in the Australian serial, has opened out about why she wasn’t always on board with the narrative.
Symons first appeared on Summer Bay in 1989 as the ditsy hairdresser, and even though she left the show in 1992, she returned for numerous more appearances as the role.
Marilyn was one among the victims of the poison gas assault at Salt in a new subplot that began airing this year, producing behavioral changes that have made her abnormally nasty.
“It was quite a shock when it was first pitched to me and I had to be really talked into it,” the actress told Stuff in a recent interview.
“Obviously, I was ecstatic to get the chance to tell a different Marilyn narrative, but it was a difficult task given Marilyn’s messages of kindness, happiness, and nurturing. Now, all of a sudden, I’m expected to be mean to everyone.”
Marilyn has had a number of run-ins with other characters since the incident, including making a formal complaint against Dr. Logan Bennett (Harley Bonner) and fighting with Irene Roberts (Lynne McGranger). It was difficult for Symons to have the character change so abruptly, he said.
“It starts off quite comical because she suddenly doesn’t have a filter and she’s saying things that she would never normally say,” the actress continued.
“The directors really had to hold my hand because I was like, ‘I can’t say that?’ and they said, ‘No, you have to say it because Marilyn is not herself’,” she added.
“It was very hard, kind of like having an argument with your best friend. I kept saying, ‘I’m really sorry. I’m so, so sorry. I wasn’t allowed to soften it or change it in any way.”
Will Marilyn ever get back to her usual happy-go-lucky self?