Young actor on to a winner
HAVING more than a million viewers tune in to your TV acting debut is the stuff of dreams, and that dream came true for Melissa Bergland.
The musician and comedian-turned-actor stars in Seven’s new family comedy/drama Winners & Losers, which attracted 1.6 million viewers in its first week and solidified its popularity with 1.56 million viewers this past week, according to OzTam.
“This is technically my first paid acting job,” said Bergland, who was in the final round of auditions for Hairspray The Musical when she was cast in Winners & Losers.
“I had a small stint on Underbelly Files and then I went into production for this.
“Everything before that was community productions and musical theatre – just little one-line guest spots in really low-budget things.”
Bergland plays Jenny Gross, who reunites with her three best high school mates at their 10-year reunion.
The 27-year-old character, who still lives at home, has changed the least out of the group, which is rounded out by Virginia Gay, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith and Melanie Vallejo.
“She’s very comfortable and blissfully naïve about a lot of things,” Bergland said.
“But I think it’s really fascinating and good that she starts off with that kind of attitude and then takes an interesting trajectory throughout the season.
“We get to see her learn and make mistakes. She does a lot of growing up after reconnecting with the girls.”
So what does she think about her new job?
“It’s crazy and it’s hectic and incredible fun,” she said.
“I can see how people in the industry would get really stressed if they weren’t working with a cast and crew who were so loving and supportive.
“We’re tired but kind of happy in our tiredness, and us four girls have really bonded.”
Her on-screen family is played by Francis Greensland (dad), Jack Pearson (brother), Sarah Grace (sister) and comedian Denise Scott (mum).
Bergland says as the series continues the Gross clan will play a more prominent role in the storyline.
“Each of the four girls have their offsiders,” she said.
“For Frances, it’s her Jonathan; for Sophie, it’s Dr Doug; for Bec, it’s her fiance; and for Jenny, it’s her entire family.
“They bring something really important to the show – that family element and real heart.”
Winners & Losers airs Tuesdays at 8.30pm on the Seven Network.