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Face to face with the Stalker!

Guest Jess

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Meet Emily Perry!

Sitting down with Emily Perry you’d have no idea that beneath her bright bubbly exterior and easy laugh, beats the heart of a killer.

Not Emily you understand, but the character that made her infamous in H+A history: the cold and calculating Summer Bay Stalker, Zoë. “Yes, she’s quite far from who I am,” laughs Emily. “I’m quite an upbeat, happy, positive person. Zoë’s not”.

No, ‘happy’ is not the word the springs to mind when describing Eve/Zoë. Having wreaked havoc one year ago on the small town of Summer Bay, residents are shocked to discover what Detective Peter Baker had known for months: Zoë is alive, and she’s coming back. It wasn’t a surprise, however, for Emily to learn she was back in the Bay. “Oh no, I was surprised at all,” she says. “It was such a popular storyline – I didn’t think they’d let me go that easily!”

Like the prophesized phoenix rising from the ashes, Emily returned to the dark side to recreate Zoë. “Zoë was a combination of a real character base, plus deep, dark things in yourself, like anything you don’t like about the world that you feel strongly about,” Emily explains. “When I’m not working as an actress I work as a medical receptionist, so I took some of her physical characteristics from some of the weird patients I’d met!

“Someone so far removed from who you are can be a little easier to play because you can really throw yourself out of yourself into something completely different. It was great to step into different shoes like that.”

Interestingly enough, when she first auditioned - reading with future castmate Chris Hemsworth (Kim) - Emily had no idea that she would be filling two pairs of shoes. “I really liked this character Zoe, I thought she was just a bit of fun,” Emily says with a chuckle. “I just had to audition as the nice nurse - little did I know she turned out to be the stalker!”

Emily was keen to return to the show that saw her public profile increase so dramatically last year. It was the national guessing game that Home and Away played with viewers that not only increased the interactivity of the storyline, making viewers feel more part of the mystery, but also saw Emily stopping for a many a conversation in the street to discuss the show with strangers!

“I was working over in Malaysia and this kid came up to me and said, ‘You were so evil, I hated you!’” she recalls. “I said, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ and he replied, ‘No it was great, I really hated you on Home and Away’. I was like, ‘Oh thank god you’re talking about Home and Away’. He thought it was the best storyline they’d ever had.”

Emily admits there was only one person who actually blurred the line between herself and her evil character: a young girl at a friend’s baby shower. “Someone told her, ‘That’s the stalker from Home and Away’,” Emily giggles. “She was very tentative around me and didn’t want her photo taken with me!”

Onscreen they’re mortal enemies, but when asked to name the actor she had the most fun with, Emily doesn’t hesitate in naming Nick Bishop (Peter). “We had a good laugh,” she says fondly. “He’s a very talented actor and a wonderful teacher - I’d look to him for advice. He’s very funny guy!”

Like many of the cast members of Home and Away, Emily has nothing but glowing praise for the dedicated crew members who work tirelessly behind the scenes every week to produce the show, often working up to 60 hours a week!

“They are an incredible group of people,” she says enthusiastically. “I’ve never experienced a crew who are so positive. As actors, we finish our scene and we go home. These people are packing up equipment, making sure the director’s happy, making sure the lighting guy is OK, and they do that and they come to work and they’re still happy. I'd been working for two weeks and I was invited to a crew member’s birthday party! They’re ingenious, and amazing, amazing people.”

So what does the future hold for Zoë in the Bay – who will she target, who survives and who becomes her prey? Emily is tight-lipped: but is willing to drop one little hint for fans, that Zoë goes out “in a pile of smoke”! Stay tuned to find out more…

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