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Watch this space: Celia Pacquola on the up and up

Utopia star Celia Pacquola is throwing herself in the deep end again by co-writing and starring in upcoming ABC comedy series Rosehaven.

Celia Pacquola

Stand-up comedian. Star of Utopia. Scene-stealer in The Beautiful Lie. And now AACTA award-winner. If there’s a ‘One to Watch’ list Celia Pacquola should be at the top of it.

Pacquola walked away from the 5th AACTA Industry Awards on 30 November with a shiny golden statuette – having won Best Performance in a Television Comedy for her part in the hilarious second series of ABC satire Utopia (if you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go watch it. Now).

Fast-talking and witty, Pacquola says she was “terrified” working with comedy heroes Rob Sitch and Working Dog on season 1 of Utopia last year.

“(They) are just huge idols for anyone who’s ever been interested in comedy in the last 20 years and we didn’t know if people would like it, but when the first series was received so well, coming back was like having a bit of a reunion, knowing your character a bit better,” Pacquola says, switching to humour without missing a beat.

“We all got a promotion – I started wearing jackets, I got an office and a surname. I’m now Natalie Russell (instead of Nat) so moving up in the world.”

The AACTA Award has capped off a huge year for Pacquola. She also starred in The Beautiful Lie (“It was the first serious dramatic acting I’ve ever done”) and not even a week before the AACTAs, it was revealed she and Utopia alumni Luke McGregor will be making their own comedy series Rosehaven.

“Luke and I started hanging out a lot and realised we quite like working with each other, so we’re writing a sitcom which is set and will be filming entirely in rural Tasmania,” Pacquola says.

“I know, don’t be jealous. Some people go to Hawaii, LA… no, no (we’re going to) Tasmania.”

While Rosehaven hasn’t started filming yet, Pacquola hopes the cameras will start rolling on it in the next year.

“They’re very different characters from Hugh and Nat who we played in Utopia,” she says.

“(They’re) best mates taking on the world. It’s pretty much a buddy comedy.

“It’s us as total best mates, being rad in Tasmania… It’s art imitating life, except in Tasmania, because I live in Melbourne.”