Greta Scacchi doesn’t normally do formulaic TV whodunits. But the prospect of working in Australia with her pal Bryan Brown was enough to entice her to sign on to such a series upcoming on Acorn TV.
In “Darby and Joan,” an eight-episode road trip mystery premiering Monday, Aug. 8, the Italian/English actress (“The Player”) stars as Joan Kirkhope, a high-strung London nurse who heads off on a reluctant pilgrimage to the Australian Outback to find out the truth about the death of her husband, who she thought was in Spain.
Setting off in an RV, she crosses paths — almost tragically — with Jack Darby (Brown, “The Thorn Birds”), a retired homicide detective with his own backstory. Finding common ground in their troubled pasts, these polar opposites become traveling partners. Soon, they find themselves drawn into a series of mysteries, for which Joan discovers she has a flair for investigating.
“She’s really in quite a grump,” Scacchi explains. “The carpet’s been taken from under her. I mean, she thought she had a loving, trusted husband and a long relationship that was stable. And everything that she thought was there suddenly is gone because he was lying to her and she has to find out why. And she’s quite angry, really, at feeling betrayed and so insecure and yet she’s not going to give up. …
“And Jack has the same need to put things right,” she continues. “And he’s of course trained; she’s untrained but she’s got a lot of skills as a nurse helping people, and intuition and she’s quick-witted. And together they’re sort of opposites in a way but they make a very good team.”
Filmed in late 2021 in Queensland, the series marks a reunion between the two actors, who last worked together in the 2019 Australian film comedy “Palm Beach.” So when the time to cast Joan, Brown had a name in mind.
“He insists on having me with him because we got on well,” Scacchi explains. “So it was the most flattering thing that has ever happened in my career to have an actor say, ‘It’s gotta be you.’ Especially an actor of his stature.”
“He’s always been Bryan Brown,” she continues. “He’s never put on an accent or anything but he has such charm and such a hold on the camera lens. He can convey a lot with nothing and it was fantastic to watch.”