As Summer Bay’s newly-engaged couple Chelsea and Colby, Ashleigh Brewer and Tim Franklin have chemistry that lights up the screen. In real life, too, the actors get along like a house on fire.
And that’s the way it’s been from day one.
As the popular stars reveal, they realised instantly they were going to be friends forever. “We’ll always be in contact,” says Tim, 28, who has been with the show for a year. “It’s a rare and beautiful thing in this industry, because actors do pick up and go all the time and you have the tendency of losing each other in the big world. But I do think that we’ll be friends for life.”
Ashleigh, 27, who in real life is in a relationship with her long-term partner Zac, couldn’t agree more.
“I’ve loved every minute of working with Tim,” she says.
“We just have the best time together.”
Aware they’d be sharing almost every scene together, Ashleigh and Tim organised to catch up prior to Ashleigh’s first day on set. “I wanted to meet her for the first time and read over the scripts out of the studio,” says Tim. “As soon as I met her, any feelings of not knowing fell away because she’s just fantastic. She has that energy when she walks into a room.
“We had coffee in Bondi and I bought her some pastries. I think Ash said something like, ‘Oh, you’re a feeder! You’re a carer!’” he adds with a laugh.
“We also exchanged ideas of what we thought our characters’ back-story would be like. Ash’s ideas just paralleled with mine. I think it was so important to have that little life behind the scenes that we have, because the characters have such a rich history together. They were engaged once before.”
Adds Ashleigh: “A lot of time and effort has been put into this storyline, which I am so grateful for. There really hasn’t been a beat missed and it does show the ups and downs of their relationship so well. It’s all very delicately done.”
As Ashleigh and Tim reveal, there are also lots of laughs behind the scenes – something they wouldn’t have any other way.
“It’s so important,” reflects Tim. “It makes all the difference in the world. When you’re working together every day for all those hours, you come home and you’re not really tired because you have had so much fun.”
When it comes to filming romantic scenes, the pair reveal this is also just another part of their work.
“It’s your job not to make it awkward because you’re in a room filled with people,” says Tim.
“You need to search for that honesty in those moments. But with Ash, it’s been so easy because we are so comfortable with one other, so even from the first kiss scene we didn’t have any awkwardness. And there are always a few giggles that accompany them!”
And while the course of true love rarely runs smoothly in the Bay, Ashleigh and Tim certainly hope their alter egos will enjoy their happily-ever-after.
Says Ashleigh: “Colby does challenge Chelsea, as she’s a bit of a square and he’s anything but. She loves that he walks to the beat of his own drum.”
“I do think they’re perfect together,” agrees Tim.
“Chelsea’s more than willing to give Colby a clip over the ear when necessary, which I think Colby needs. And Chelsea is Colby’s chance at a normal life. He comes from such a broken family, so she is his chance of love and happiness.”
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.