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EXCLUSIVE: The stars of Stan's Eden Bebe Bettencourt and Sophie Wilde reveal why sex positivity was integral to the show

''It is about empowerment and characters claiming their pleasure.''

By Faye Couros
The Stan original series Eden is an intense mystery with an eerie and unsettling mood enhanced by its luscious but boundless New South Wales northern rivers setting.
The inherent darkness that entangles the show is skilfully navigated by its stars Bebe Bettencourt, 25, who plays the unpredictable Hedwig and Sophie Wilde, 23, who plays talented Scout.
Eden follows different characters as they attempt to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of a young woman.
But various chains of devastating events, deeds and decisions are exposed within the community of the idyllic coastal town that must deal with its consequences.
Bebe (left) plays Hedwig and Sophie (right) plays Scout. Supplied
In the lead up to Eden's release, TV Week spoke to Bebe and Sophie about the show.
Despite the gruelling and unnerving subject matter, that feeling didn't translate to life on set, and Bebe and Sophie say they made some hilarious memories while filming.
It's like that old saying if you don't laugh, you will cry, so it's unsurprising that the girls were able to find levity between scenes.
"I think because the content is so intense and what we were shooting is so intense, we actually in-between shooting had a lot of laughs because I think it was important to lighten the mood," recalls Bebe.
The chemistry between Bebe and Sophie on-screen is wondrously enigmatic, and that cannot be superficially created.
Instead, it's a vibe that must be fostered through a natural connection.
This was the case for Sophie and Bebe, who quickly found solace within their friendship, and they even got on so well that the crew wasn't always so game for their energetic antics.
In eloquent tangent, the actors start to bounce off each other as they recount a lighthearted on-set story that got them into a bit of trouble.
The girls got on famously on set. Supplied
"One time, there was a beach party scene and Bebe and I rock up to set with a UE Boom and pumped music, " Sophie starts telling the story.
Bebe quips in, "Like pumping."
"Tunes were playing, we were dancing, and everyone was like 'shut up'," continues Sophie.
Then Bebe chimes in to finish off the anecdote, "And everyone was like, 'Cool, so do you guys want to work or…?' And we were like, 'yeah man, it's a party, whooo!' It was really fun."
Eden is a show that doesn't use diversity to virtue signal but rather to reflect the world we occupy and experience.
The show explores diversity within sexuality throughout its episodes, but it refrains from posing those intimate moments through a salacious or vulgar light.
Essentially, this was done to evoke the notion that sex cannot be defined or controlled to fit a narrow perception of what it should look like.
"I know that talking to the writers, they really wanted to make the show sex-positive, and so I think that is a really important part of the narrative.
"Tunes were playing, we were dancing, and everyone was like 'shut up'." Supplied
"Being quite open about sex and having heterosexual or homosexual sex represented on screen, without judgement or anything," says Sophie.
There is much debate about the validity of sex scenes that serve no purpose to the plot or the characters.
In Eden, sex is focused on the characters and their relationships with intimacy, which offers more depth to those scenes.
"It is about empowerment and characters claiming their pleasure rather than it being expositional, or just for the purpose of sex," says Bebe.
With her defining platinum blonde and 70s style hair, Bebe plays her character, Hedwig, without hesitation.
The character is unpredictable, mysterious and intriguing, but her darkness lends itself to an uncomfortable viewing.
However, Bebe found that although there is something unexplained about her, she is still a multifaceted girl with an infectious lightness even though she has found herself in a tricky situation.
"Being quite open about sex and having heterosexual or homosexual sex represented on screen, without judgement or anything." Supplied
"It was intense. I think Hedwig is quite heavy, but she doesn't really show it, but she is also really fun. There is something about her that is fun, cheeky, despite everything she has been through and everything she has going on, she really tries to enjoy life and live it to the fullest," describes Bebe.
Playing a character isn't always a visceral experience for actors, because after all, it is a job, but this role was an exploration of self that moved Bebe.
"It's therapeutic because she allowed me to go places, that perhaps, in my real life I am afraid to go or wouldn't normally, she really allowed me to explore the darker parts of myself," Bebe reveals.
Watching Hedwig in Eden, it is easy to imagine that she may have been portrayed as a manic pixie dream girl if she was written a few years ago.
This is when a female character is reduced into an existence that serves a male character, which helps him learn essential life lessons, and she rarely has agency or depth.
Bebe explains that it was important to her before filming began that she stepped as far away from that trope as possible.
Sophie felt a kin ship with her character. Supplied
"I really was just hell-bent on making that not the case, and making sure she was human, and she was grounded, and you usually get to see the manic pixie daydream through the lens of a man or through the lenses of other people. So it is really great as well that we can see her perspective," says Bebe.
While Bebe was challenged to explore her inner self as Hedwig, Sophie felt a kinship with her character Scout.
Scout has come back to her hometown after leaving to peruse music, and there is a sense she feels unsure about where she fits in.
"There is this naivety to Scout at the start of this story, and I think she goes through this coming of age journey throughout and I definitely related to that.
"I feel like I have been quite passive and polite and trying to be sweet and a people pleaser, and I think Scout comes home, and that is who she is, so yeah, I feel like I connected to her in a lot of ways," says Sophie.
The Stan Original Series Eden premieres June 11, only on Stan – sign up via this link.

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