Golden girl Gibney falls for the Southern Downs
THERE'S one thing the Southern Downs can be sure of - we haven't seen the last of Rebecca Gibney.
The Gold Logie winning actress has opened up on her love of the region - from the rolling hills of Killarney to the wineries and granite boulders of Stanthorpe.
For Gibney the wide open scenery and country town feel of the Southern Downs went hand-in-hand with her vision for the new TV series Wanted.
The television star not only has a lead role in Wanted, she's also the creator and an executive producer.
Since it's debut last week, the series has become the number one drama on Australian television.
For 10 weeks, Gibney and the Wanted crew filmed the series in 60 different locations.
Of all the Wanted film locations across the country, it was Stanthorpe that swept Gibney away.
From hiking in Girraween National Park to multiple visits to wineries and cafes, the actress fell in love with Stanthorpe.
"I had the best message I've ever had with Tara in Stanthorpe - she was awesome," she said.
"When were there we always found a place with great coffee, great food and there was the added benefit of the wineries.
"It certainly won't be my last visit to Stanthorpe."
Warwick, Killarney, Allora, Clifton, and Sandy Creek also form a large part of the backdrop for Wanted.
In Tuesday night's episode viewers got their first glimpse of the Southern Downs.
Killarney Hotel, the Granite Court Motel and the Warwick Railway Station all made a star appearance in the episode.
For viewers, it's just the beginning of the Southern Downs scenery.
"Next week's episode you will see a lot more of Warwick," Gibney said.
"In next week's episode the girls get lost and leave their car and head into the bush."
The actress said the Southern Downs scenery fit perfectly with Wanted.
"We wanted a very unique look," she said.
"Warwick has the fantastic wide open spaces and amazing rock formations.
"It's kind of got an ever changing landscape - particularly around Killarney and Queen Mary Falls with the rolling green hills."
It wasn't just the scenery that left an impression on the Wanted crew.
Gibney said the hospitality was awesome.
"Everyone bent over backwards - they'd keep restaurants and bars open for us when we were working late," she said.
"We were working long hours and to have that home away from home feeling was great."
The Wanted crew wrapped up on the Southern Downs with only the best impression of the local hospitality and fans.
Gibney said she found a big difference between country fans and those in the city.
"Country folk are a different breed - they're a lot more open and welcoming," she said.
"People were always welcoming - opening their shops and streets for us, wanting to be extras.
"In the country it feels like everyone relies very much on the community."
Wherever the film crew went on the Southern Downs they drew a crowd, with eager fans keen to get a glimpse and the ever sought after selfie with the stars.
"They were really there to see Steve," Gibney laughed.
"I knew there'd be a certain interest (in the towns).
"Steve Peacocke has an enormous following."
Putting together her star cast for Wanted wasn't too much of a challenge for the Gold Logie winner.
Gibney had already worked alongside Ryan Corr in Packed to the Rafters.
Steve Peacocke, who Gibney called "the loveliest man on the planet", didn't take much convincing either.
But it's newcomer Geraldine Hakewill (who plays Chelsea) that Gibney has worked closest with.
"We've definitely formed a friendship," Gibney said.
"We were just really lucky to get -we're very lucky with the case we put together.
"She (Hakewill) and I have amazing chemistry and get on incredibly well - she will be a huge star."
Away from filming Wanted, Gibney had a massive 2015.
She starred alongside big name stars such as Kate Winslet, Hugo Weaving and Liam Hemsworth in the acclaimed film The Dressmaker.
"Liam was very down to earth and Kate was hilarious - very open," she said.
"A lot of the rest of the cast I'd worked with before, which made it a fun experience - like a party."
Compared to her other projects though, Wanted was a big undertaking.
Gibney's worked on film sets with massive budgets, but nothing compared to the fact paced, on the move production of Wanted.
One of the highlights for the actress was the challenge of playing her character, Lola.
"The key to longevity as an actress is reinventing yourself - it's important to constantly try different roles," she said.
"I love Lola, I think she's sassy and brave but she's got secrets.
"I think it's great have that complexity in a character."
Wanted fans may not have seen the last of Lola and Chelsea when the series wraps up.
Gibney has teased the idea of the dramatic duo returning for a second season.
She also hinted filming may return to the region.
"You can never say never," said.
"We just have to figure out where the girls are going next.
"You never know, they might be just around the corner."
Wanted is on Channel 7 on Tuesday nights at 9pm.