Adele Perovic (Hani Parande)

Interview: Adele Perovic talks series two of ABC TV’s The Code, amazing normality and what makes her tick

Aussie actress Adele Perovic stars in the political thriller series from ABC, The Code and since showing her true acting grit in the first series, returns for a second.

Perovic began first took acting classes at the age of five, before studying drama during high school and majoring in Theatre Arts at University in Toowoomba, Queensland. After University, Adele got the role of Eva Lee in the short lived TV series Slide in 2011 and then went onto greater things such as the movie Fell in 2014 and now the ABC TV series The Code.

We recently caught up with Adele to get to know her a little better, and we ask about her thoughts on some of the scary subject matter her character Hani comes across in The Code series and how scary it really is in West Papua, one of the show’s settings. We find out what makes Adele smile and what makes her tick. We also discover her favourite movies, TV shows and whether or not Adele plays video games.

I first wanted to congratulate your show on the huge win at the Australian Writers’ Guild’s 49th Annual Awards. The Code has now actually made history winning twice in a row now for the major award.

Yes, thank you so much, I love how Aussie it sounds too – nicknamed ‘ AWGIE’.

The Code has become quite the favourite Aussie cult hit as of late. With so many other shows available now and great shows being cancelled all the time, did you think The Code would make it back for a second outing?

I guess because it was so successful the first time around, we sort of felt it would be. But with the first one’s plot being so complicated, we were like, can we do that again? Can Shelley (Shelley Birse – Writer & Creator) do that again? But she did and in a very short space of time which was pretty amazing.

Your character of Hani Parande whom is now with the character of Jesse Banks (played by Ashley Zukerman) in The Code, really came through to me as a sort of protector in the first series. Someone that ended up looking out for him and falling for him of course. What I love, as with most TV shows and even books, is it’s down to interpretation. What is your take on Hani as a character and why you think Hani and Jessie ended up together?

When you’re playing someone that is duplicitous, especially in the first season, it’s kind of hard to figure out how much do you play on either side of being that kind of double sided character and we came to the conclusion that she had always had a crush on him from afar and that this is her opportunity to get closer to him.

Seeing someone that’s not neurotypical in a neurotypical world, having someone to support his differences is a strong choice for a writer to make. What I also love about Hani is she is kind of motivated by her own personal factors in a very different way to Jessie. Hani and her parents are sort of refugees, but she has a loving family and other things that Jessie doesn’t have. I like the gaps in their relationship, like when Hani realises Jessie doesn’t have certain stuff and Jessie realises that she has things that he doesn’t have. It’s an interesting space to be able to look around. I guess Hani is very privileged also, when Jessie isn’t and that works in very well to the plot.

I loved how they don’t overplay or focus too much on Jessie and his mental disability, it wasn’t a major problem when Hani falls for him and they never bring it to the forefront as being a major issue. Just focus on the character, know he has these issues and move on.

Yeah, that he is allowed to be different. Obviously there are some issues being with someone that is not neurotypical, but I like how this is celebrated here.

The subject matter of series two revolves around child abduction and human trafficking. Was it a scary thing to bring to the screen and what were your thoughts when you read the script?

That it was incredibly intense. The child abduction was frightening to read. But, learning about West Papua, I actually found that the most horrifying actually. Also meeting the activists that helped and worked on the show. Knowing there is this real present danger for activists in West Papua. It is an intense situation partly because Australia benefits from Indonesia being in West Papua with mining interests. It was a very intense place to exist in and an intense topic to be putting on Australian television. I am very proud to have been a part of it all.

The most stand out for me was meeting the West Papua activists Ronny Kareni (who plays Theo in The Code) and his wife Sixta, it was a personal highlight for me.

Adele's highlight, meeting West papua Actvist Ronny Kareni
Adele’s highlight, meeting West Papua Actvist Ronny Kareni

A slightly different question here, your character of Hani seems to be pretty well set with how she copes with stress and just comfortable in who she is. But she can get angry too. What makes you tick in real life? What makes you angry the most?

Oh god, so many things. I am quite an angry person really. Hani and I share this characteristic because we are both so ideological. Things like the government and policies I think are just stupid like Australia’s relationship to different countries of the world. So many things, probably everything makes me angry in some way.

What makes you smile? That is probably a harder question.

Strange people, unique people. Strange and unexpected stories make me smile. Weird and flawed people. People who don’t get what they want I think, like unsuccessful people are the most interesting.

Do you and the cast get together outside of filming The Code?

Yeah we do. It’s a little hard because we are all kind of split. Ash (Ashley Zukerman) works a lot in the states and his partner is from Holland so he is there a lot as well. Dan Spielman has kind of been back and forth from New York with his wife Yael Stone to Australia. When they are around and in the same continent we hang out when we can.

What are some of your favourite movies?

My favourite would be a Romanian film that is called Four Months, Three Weeks & Two Days which is about a young woman trying to get an abortion in the Ceausescu regime in the 80’s.

My most recent favourite was Kelly Reichardt’s new film Certain Women. Not even the whole movie was the reason, mainly the ending, because it had some of the most incredible acting I have ever seen.

Do you have any favourite TV shows?

I have so many, I am into TV more than I am film. I just finished Mr Robot which is very akin to The Code with ‘hacking’ as well. HBO’s Insecure is great as well, loving that. I also just watched Fleabag which is this new BBC show. My all-time favourite though? Shit? I can’t choose, maybe I won’t choose. I will just pause on that one.

Any other actors you look up to and would love to work with in the future?

Lily Gladstone (Certain Women) who is from the Pacific North West, I believe she is going to get much bigger now that she has been in this film. She is such a wonderful actor I would love to work with somebody like her. To be honest, I love working with normal people, like what we talked about before, not so successful people. I feel like regular people are so much more interesting than a lot of the big time stars.

What’s your stance on gaming? Do you play any or even smartphone apps?

You know what? I don’t. I did just start tutoring this Chinese girl called Sue and she has been showing me all these hectic games that she plays and it is cool, so maybe I will try get into some of that, but no. I am very interested in those kind of worlds though. I did play Dungeons and Dragons the other day though. It was so cool; I am into it. Maybe I will start with the low-fi version of gaming and go from there.

What’s coming up for you next and any word on The Code series three?

No word on series three just yet, we will see what happens. It would be great to do it all again. I am just trying to work on my own stuff at the moment. We shall see how all that goes.

Thank you again for your time Adele. I love your work and I really do hope we see you for a series three of The Code.

The Code Series 1 & 2 are now available on DVD and digitally.