Acorn TV’s Recipes for Love and Murder
, which is based on the book series by Sally Andrew and was adapted for television by Karen Jeynes, takes place in a small town in South Africa. When a woman who writes advice columnist Tannie Maria (Maria Doyle Kennedy) ends up murdered, Maria and her colleague, journalist Jessie September, played by Kylie Fisher, partner up to find answers, against police advice. Can they track down the killer before it’s too late? Recipes for Love and Murder
was the first big role for costar Fisher, who spoke recently with SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview. The star didn’t read the book until after doing her role research so she could create her own version. “I kind of didn't want to initially read it,” said Fisher, “because the book is different to the adaptation, and I didn't want to get a preconceived notion of the character from the book. So, as we were doing filming, I was reading the book, and I was like, ‘This is what [Sally Andrew] says about the character, and this is what Karen’s written. Where does my understanding of the character also meet with these two versions of the story?”
The actress also pulled from her real life to find Jessie. “I identify with Jessie and the fact that we're both from the same racial background as well,” she told the site. “I didn't grow up in a small town; I grew up in Dubai, but my family is from South Africa, and we came back every single year.”
“I love that she empowered,” she added. “She's educated; she's smart. She knows what she wants. So, that was kind of the similarities that I saw between myself and Jessie.”
Fisher also added that she based part of the character on journalist Christiane Amanpour.
Jessie is always pushing to find the truth, but that can get her and Maria into spots of danger. “I think she has such a thirst for knowledge and for knowing her environment and really, for fighting for her community,” said Fisher. “I think with her youth, maybe her ignorance, she doesn't know when to say no…and she doesn't always know her boundaries.”
“She wants to find the answers,” she added. “She wants to write about it, but for her community as well. This community needs answers.”
All the danger of course also meant stunt training, which the actress enjoyed, saying that it was “fun” and “exciting” learning to ride a moped for the series.
Of course, there is also the “recipe” element to the series, as Maria bakes quite a bit, which was a positive for Fisher. “The best part of my job was being the taste tester, both on screen and off!” said the actress.
She got along well with her costar Doyle Kennedy, calling her a “dream” to work with, adding that she was a generous performer that she learned a lot from. “I think one of the most important lessons she taught me was to always listen,” explained Fisher. “That's kind of something that we forget, because we're in our own head about lines or about presence or about scene or emotions, and she was just like, ‘You'll know when a scene is off, when it doesn't sound right.’…From that point, it felt like a big shift in my acting, because I was like, ‘She's right. You actually do hear when something feels offbeat.’ ”
For much more, from whether Fisher herself would make a good detective, to how she got the role, and everything in between, read the full transcript below, and be sure to watch Recipes for Love and Murder
, now streaming on Acorn TV.
SCIFI VISION: At least going by Internet Movie Database, I know what isn't always right, but is this your first role, or at least your first big role? KYLIE FISHER:
This is my first big role. I've been in other supporting roles, both in film, and theater, mostly, that's what I studied. So, I was mostly in the theater scene, but this is my first main role. It must be though shocking, going from that to getting a lead role. How did that happen?
I graduated on the day of our national lockdown of 2020, but I got an agent in 2019…I'm fortunate enough to be signed to an agency that has the right connections. [The casting agent] was like, “I think this would be the best role for you to audition for. Just have fun.” Yeah, I basically went through the process of auditioning. I read the script, and the story jumps off the page. Karen has really done a fantastic job in her writing. So, it was exciting. Then, the process went from there, from auditioning to callbacks, and I was just like, “fingers crossed toes crossed, arms crossed” that I would do it. Were you familiar with the book at all beforehand? I assume at least since you got the part you've probably read it.
I've read the book now. I wasn't familiar with it when we first started, which is exciting, because then I could do my research, and I could base the character off of it. I kind of didn't want to initially read it, because the book is different to the adaptation, and I didn't want to get a preconceived notion of the character from the book. So, as we were doing filming, I was reading the book, and I was like, “This is what [Andrew] says about the character, and this is what Karen’s written. Where does my understanding of the character also meet with these two versions of the story?” Other than the book and the script, was there anywhere else that you sort of drew inspiration from, either from your own life or just elsewhere in general?
It was mainly my own life. I identify with Jessie and the fact that we're both from the same racial background as well. I didn't grow up in a small town; I grew up in Dubai, but my family is from South Africa, and we came back every single year.
I love that she empowered. She's educated; she's smart. She knows what she wants. So, that was kind of the similarities that I saw between myself and Jessie. [There was that] and additional actor research of the journalist I based her on, Christiane Amanpour, how like she carries herself in interviews. So, just filling in the gaps and coloring in the story was fun research to do on my end. The series actually films in South Africa, right? So, that must have been fun, getting to go back there to do the filming?
Yes. I'm based in Cape Town, and the shooting of Recipes for Love and Murder
was based in Cape Town and Prince Albert. The landscaping is based in Prince Albert, which is beautiful. It’s a small town in the Karoo, and it's just the perfect backdrop, for the coloring and the cinematography and the people. It's very similar to the book. The book is actually based in Ladismith, which is not too far from where we actually shot the series. Both of the characters are, but, I guess, out of the two of you, Jessie is more of the detective of the two. In your real life, do you like puzzles and things like that, and do you think that you would make a good detective?
I think I would. I love true crime. I love a good true crime documentary and special and the Reddit threads of what's happened, like unsolved mysteries. I think I'd make a good detective, but similarly to Jessie, I think I'd be too invested where I'd get ahead of myself and someone would have to just be like, “Okay, step back. Know your boundaries.” [laughs]
So, I think we have those similarities, but I hope I'd make a good detective. Can you, without spoiling, tease a little bit about how your character sometimes gets both of them into a bit of trouble with her zest for finding the answer?
Yes, I think she has such a thirst for knowledge and for knowing her environment and really, for fighting for her community. I think with her youth, maybe her ignorance, she doesn't know when to say no. So, I think I without spoiling it, she doesn't know when to say no, and she doesn't always know her boundaries, as you see in the first few episodes. She is going at it; she wants to find the answers. She wants to write about it, but for her community as well. This community needs answers, and it's one of her own. Can you talk a bit about her relationship with Regardt (Arno Greeff)?
Jessie’s relationship with Regardt, they start off as friends, and I think through the budding friendship and the true understanding for who they are as people, I think they're the only people that really see each other, and not only the expectations that everyone else has for them. So, it kind of makes it easy. There's not an explanation that has to be given every time that they confide in each other. So, yeah, it's a very beautiful budding friendship that we see unfold. She’s a little more, I’d say, guarded, I guess, with their heart than he is. Because it seems like at the beginning, he's all for it. She's not as much.
he's guns blazing, and she's like, “No.” [laughs] You just made me think of the scene at the very beginning. Did you really learn how to ride the moped for the show?
I did. In pre-production we had to do stunt training, and that was a part of my stunt training, because I've never been on a moped before. I'm still in the process of getting my license, which can just tell you [laughs]
where I am with driving on roads, so it was fun. It was exciting. And I had to learn it two weeks prior to shooting so that I was comfortable with it. So, everything you see when you see me like riding into frame, it's actually me riding into the frame or riding off. That’s cool. It sounds like fun. Did you get a lot of other sorts of stunts and fighting stuff? And do you enjoy that kind of thing?
I do. I like a challenge, and it felt like a welcomed challenge as well. Yes, as the series…develops, I do. It does get a lot more physical for me and my character, and that was a part of the stunts training that we did in pre-production, and it was exciting. It was fun. I think that's the great thing with storytelling is you kind of get to be a new character each time, and I enjoyed that she doesn't have too many frills. She's just ready to get into it. Can you talk a bit about working with Maria?
Maria is a dream to work with, and I'm not just saying that to toot her horn; she genuinely is. And she's such a generous performer. I think that's how I would describe it. When [I was] onscreen with her, I was just a sponge watching her and observing her. I think that that was the greatest lesson for me being a newcomer, learning from my peers and the people that I was acting alongside. So, just half of the time I'm just there in awe…I've learned a lot acting-wise. I think one of the most important lessons she taught me was to always listen. That's kind of something that we forget, because we're in our own head about lines or about presence or about scene or emotions, and she was just like, “You'll know when a scene is off, when it doesn't sound right.” And because she's a musician, that made all the sense in the world. And from that point, it felt like a big shift in my acting, because I was like, “She's right. You actually do hear when something feels offbeat.” When I interviewed Maria, she was telling me how she learned actually to make a lot of the food. I mean, I assume you do in some of the scenes at least, but did you get to try a lot of the food, and do you have a favorite of the recipes?
Oh, my goodness, the best part of my job [laughs]
was being the taste tester, both on screen and off. My favorite…So, there is a raspberry sorbet that is put into a lemon [cupcake] and the pink peppercorn, and then there's chocolate drizzled on it. It is an interesting combination on paper, but in person, wow, life changing….It explodes in your mouth. It literally is like, “What's happening?” It was brilliant. And the chocolate cake? Oh wow. Yeah, the chocolate cake looked really good.
That could smooth over any problems in real life, honestly. [laughs] If you have to eat them in the scene though, I mean, I know it tastes good, but I would think that sometimes that would become difficult, if you have to keep doing take after take. I mean, it's not all sweet, but in this case, we're talking about something sweet. Does that ever get hard to keep doing?
It gets so messy. And there's an actual technique behind eating. You can't take big bites, because if you're speaking; you can't have food flying all over. You're cognizant of how you're holding the food, what you're showcasing. And because this food is so heavily integrated into this [series], it's so important to capture the food. So, it felt like [there is] a real technique to it. You can never take big bites. [There’s] always water on hand, always - I know this doesn't sound great, but a spit bucket if, you know, you're on take five and [need it]…Yeah, after like the first three bites, you can't keep consuming it, or you're just going to be so full, and it's not going to be enjoyable if you keep having to do it from different angles. So, tiny bites a lot of water and a split bucket. Other than that, what did you find the most challenging for you overall?
I think, honestly, it was a very pleasant time shooting it. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with the people that I got to work with. They were kind; they were generous - from every department. So, it was really a pleasant, enjoyable stay.
I think, for me, what was the challenge was the three weeks in Prince Albert and being on location. It was my first time being submerged in the process, so I kind of had to personally make sure that Kylie on the side was okay so that I could sustain my energy. I think that was a lesson that I had to learn. So, maybe just navigating that was difficult, because I was like, “Okay, cool. We still need to make sure your body is okay, make sure you’re eating great, and make sure you're okay, and you have your moments of peace.” Because it can sometimes get really all-consuming if you just lose yourself in it. Long hours too.
Yeah, exactly. And just making sure that you see your friends and you sleep well. Sleeping is actually a big, big part. You talk about seeing your friends, but if you did this [during the pandemic] that probably did not work out as well, seeing people as often as you'd like, at least, I'm assuming.
You know, it was very restricted, and we wore masks on set and everything. Most of my friends are actors that I went to university with, and I would ask them, “Are you comfortable with meeting up? I've been around a lot of people.” We shot it last year, at the end of the year, so COVID restrictions were easing, but it was also the beginning of Omicron, and the panic started to surge again. Yeah, I'm grateful that I had understanding friends and friends that wanted to check in on me and be like, “Are you okay?” You know, “You're doing fine. You're still sustaining yourself.” So, it was good. It was good having understanding people and being able to see them when I felt comfortable, and they felt comfortable. Hopefully that will continue to get better. We're about out of time, but I wanted to ask, and I know this can be hard, but can you describe her in three words?
She is determined. She is bossy. I’d say she’s bossy, and I hope people see her heart for the community. I don't know how to put that into one word, but I think she has a really big heart for people. She just may not be able to show it in the ways that everyone expects, and I think it makes her a [well]-rounded person and character.