‘Wentworth’ star Kate Box shares what’s in store for The Final Sentence


Prison drama Wentworth returns for its final ever episodes this week. Dubbed ‘Teal Tuesday’, fans will have just 10 more episodes of the popular show as it wraps its extended eighth and final season.

The first half of the show’s closing season aired last year, and fans were left with multiple cliff hangers and revelations in the closing episode that aired in 2020.

The final ten episodes that wrap up the adventures of the inmates and guards of Wentworth have been titled The Final Sentence, and having been given a sneak preview of the first two episodes, we can share that the series kicks off with an intense edge-of-your-seat experience.

Season 8 began with a host of new characters coming into the story, suspected terrorist Judy Bryant, new General Manager Ann Reynolds, former cult member Sheila Bausch, and partners in crime Lou Kelly and Reb Keane.

Kate Box, who portrays the former ‘Top Dog’ Lou Kelly says this season her character is front and centre in the action.

“Physically this season, she’s more unpredictable and violent and a bit more imaginative in her form of vigilante justice and she gets a pretty insatiable appetite for power.” Box said as we chatted about what’s in store for her character.

“You see a crueler Lou Kelly this season.” Box said, but her motivations are completely understandable as the power dynamics in the prison shift substantially.

Box shared how much she loves playing the menacing character, who is prone to outbursts of violence.

“I’m in love with her, but I’m not necessarily suggesting she’s the easiest dinner party guest.”

“I just think she’s fiercely loyal. She’s very funny. I think she has a really unique moral codes that she’s sticks really strongly to.” Box said.

“I love her ability to pluck up against authority and stand up for what she thinks is right and wrong. I find that really admirable even though she may be on the wrong side of most people’s moral code. She definitely she definitely sticks to her own.

“I love her spontaneity, I think she’s also really childlike as well in her view of the world. She has a really juvenile sense of humor.”

Box says while Lou Kelly could be viewed as a violent and vindictive person, the character also has a huge capacity to love, and protect those closest to her.

Over the last season viewers of the show have loved the relationship between Lou Kelly and partner Reb Keane, a young transgender man.  It’s a rare depiction of a relationship where one partner is undergoing transition.

“It’s definitely very important, not just for a wider straight audience to witness, but also some of the conversations that Reb and Lou have early on in this season are really, really interesting.

The first episode sees Lou and Reb having a discussion about what their individual identities are in light of Reb’s ongoing gender transition, leading Lou to ask if she’s still a lesbian if her partner is now male.

“I think it’s just really beautiful conversations to have.” Box said, “I think that’s they are pretty valuable.”

Box said she was excited to get onboard the show which has been praised for putting female characters at the centre of the narrative.

“I was really lucky to jump on board a ship that very much had people throwing streamers at it. So it was a pretty buoyant experience in that way.”

“I think the great thing about Wentworth is it doesn’t let up until it finishes. And I think it’s done that every season, and this season is absolutely no exception.”

Box said filming the final episodes was an experience filled with adrenaline.

“Once you’re aware, you’re part of something coming to an end, you were also a part of something that was just rocketing along, so there was massive adrenaline on set.

“I think they just wanted to dig deeper and climb higher and explore greater depths of the characters vulnerability, and their capacity for violence, and their and their loyalties, and what they’re willing to do to survive.

“In terms of the plot, it’s just every page was a constant element of surprise. So I suppose even though you’re working toward an end, you’re definitely not winding anything down. In fact, it’s felt like the opposite.” Box said.

With the final season having been filmed over a year ago Box and the rest of the cast and crew have had to keep a lot of secrets about the show’s final storyline.

“There’s a real there is a thrill in knowing that one of the one of the great joys of the show is the shock factor and that people never saw this coming.

“It’s important and really fun to honor that as well. I just try and keep my mouth shut about it most of the time, because I fear that I will say the wrong thing.” Box said.

So far in her career Box has appeared in many memorable television programs including Rake, Stateless, Nes Norton and Picnic at Hanging Rock. She cites her role on the tele-movie Riot as being a big turning point in her career.

In the film that documents the rise of the gay rights movement in Australia up to the first Mardi Gras protest, Box played real life gay rights activist Marg McCann.

“It was a real changing point in my career playing somebody openly queer, incredibly political, somebody who just fought with every cell of their being, was was a real turning point for me in terms of courage as a human, and courage as an actor.

“I’ve played a lot of straight roles in my life as well, and I think what happened to me when I was playing Marg, is there was just a point where I realised I just been hiding a little bit. And that hiding had perhaps blocked me in my ability to fully access a character.”

“I think that the the courage and the strength that I found in myself playing that character really carried on after that and I felt like I became a better actor because I was able to take out residency in that woman’s life for a little bit. So it was a pretty major turning point for me that I feel very grateful for.” Box said.

Wentworth returns to Fox Showcase at 6.30pm (WA time) on Tuesday 24th August. 

Graeme Watson 

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