James: I’ve known Ada for almost 20 years. My very first job was on a show called Breakers that Ada was also in. So we had an easier place to begin from than you sometimes do meeting someone brand-new. And when I did think about it, it was quite an obvious move to bring the two characters together. There’s a bunch of similarities there.
There was a very funny brief interlude between Leah and Justin last year when Justin had a couple of drinks too many…
Ada: Justin had had a fight with Willow (Sarah Roberts) and was a bit drunk and came on to Leah, but Leah just laughed it off. At the time, she thought “Hey buddy, you’ve got no chance here!”
Justin: I think that was the producers and the writers testing the waters! [Laughs]
It was such a fun day, that day.
The romance between Leah and Justin begins almost as a “friends with benefits” relationship…
Ada: Yes, that’s exactly what
it is, and I think it’s a great storyline. Leah is still young, her son is in another country, she’s had a couple of failed marriages, and she’s never really put herself first. Now she’s ready to have a bit of fun with no strings attached. She’s never done this before and I really like that she’s embracing this side of herself. We see Leah in a different light – quite youthful and taking charge.
What’s it like filming love scenes? Is it true to say they’re anything but romantic?
Ada: Oh, they’re not romantic! [Laughs] They’re always a bit awkward, especially in the beginning until you find your groove with the other actor and you talk through things. You just need to make sure that the other person is comfortable, but the more you get to know someone the easier it becomes.
And it is always choreographed.
James: There’s always 20 or 30 people standing around. But we have a good laugh about it, too!
What do your real-life partners think [Ada’s partner Adam Rigby and James’ fiancee Sarah Roberts, who plays Willow on Home and Away]?
Ada: Adam knows it’s just part of the job. It’s part of what we all sign up for, really.
James: It’s just like another day in the office for Sarah, too. And Ada and Sarah get on like a house on fire – they are great pals.
Ada: I don’t tend to have a lot of scenes with Sarah, which is unfortunate because I really love her. She’s such a beautiful soul. She and Jimmy are just really happy and content and it’s such an exciting time for them.
Leah’s had many ill-fated romances over the past two decades. Could she finally find her happy-ever-after with Justin?
Ada: Well, let’s just say that this relationship is different. Leah doesn’t want to take it too seriously. They have a laugh together and Justin brings out this cheeky side to her that no-one has ever brought out. What happens down the track – well, who knows? We’ll have to wait and see.
James: But so far, it seems like a really big win.