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"She realises she's raised a misogynist." Asher Keddie's confronting new show The Hunting.

When I stepped onto the set of SBS’s new drama The Hunting it felt like you could cut the air with a knife.

Not just because it was a sweltering hot day in Adelaide and everyone who was not submerged beneath the water of the public pool that was the day’s filming location felt like their head was encased in an oven, but more so the tension that comes with having an important story to tell in just the right way.

Sitting on the edge of the pool in a sleek, dark colored suit that is a stark contrast to the iconic bohemian wardrobe of the beloved Offspring character she played for years is actress Asher Keddie. The scene playing out beside the local pool which has been commanded for the day is an emotional one with newcomer Alex Cusack, the actor who plays Andy, the teenage son of Asher’s character Simone, in the series.

Take a look at the trailer for the new SBS drama The Hunting.

The Hunting traces the lives of  four teenagers, their teachers and their families throughout the lead up to, and then through the aftermath of, a nude teen photo scandal where two high school teachers discover students are sharing explicit photos of their underage friends online, a scandal that involves Andy and his classmate Zoe, who is played by Luca Sardelis.

The series offers up a melting pot of social themes to examine including misogyny, privacy, sexualisation, online exploitation, toxic masculinity and since the story plays out through the eyes of both the teenagers and adults in their lives, it’s quite the balancing act to get it right.

The Hunting looks at the hard-wired behavior of people of our generation who are now raising children, particularly teenagers,” Asher tells me me later in the day when we are seated in her trailer on set. “They are really kind of at sea in a way when trying to raise them with trust and integrity and respect.

“My character Simone has two children, a boy, 16, and a girl, 12, and she has good chemistry with her husband Nick, who is played by Richard Roxburough. Then when this inciting incident occurs with the nude photo scandal, it becomes a really such a complex story and there is nothing black and white about it.

“Simone is a career woman and she really needs a certain degree of control over her home life, because she’s in quite a controlling relationship with her husband.

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“When this incident occurs, it pulls into sharp focus for her just how unhealthy her own family is and namely her relationship with Nick. She realises she is raising a boy who has been embroiled in toxic masculinity and is being enabled by the behaviour of his father.”

While much of The Hunting is centered on the teenage characters as they navigate the fallout of the online exploitation, the storylines of their parents are pulled into equally sharp focus and for Asher, she sometimes found herself grappling with Simone’s choices.

“She’s incredibly uncomfortable when we first meet her, she realises she’s raising a misogynist,” the 44-year-old actress said. “It’s a frightening realisation but it doesn’t mean she’s been ignorant for years, it means she has been surviving in her relationship with Nick and playing the role of the ‘doll’ he wants her to be. He likes to dress her up and choose her clothes.

“These are all things I find extremely difficult to accept in a female state of mind, that you would do this. I understand, of course, wanting to please your partner but I had to really get my head around why she would make some of the choices that she does, why she would acquiesce to Nick’s undermining of her.”

For Asher, who is raising her son Valentino, four, and stepson Luca, nine, with her husband Vincent Fantauzzo, filming The Hunting resonated particularly strongly with her, saying that the conversation around how to raise children to understand respect is an ongoing one in their household.

“I am conscious now of the little boys I am raising, there are things that are important to me so that they grow up as healthy, responsible and respectful men,” she said.

“There are so many hard-wired ideas we’ve grown up with that we’re now realising are unacceptable. I have four and nine year old sons, and the world that they are navigating is vastly different to the one I grew up in. So The Hunting, and the conversations it will inevitably ignite are really necessary, for us to stay on the front foot and to  raise emotionally intelligent, respectful human beings.

“That’s what I have been thinking about a lot, actually, while filming. I think teenagers especially need support and holding, emotionally, from parents and people who are older than them because they are so in the thick of social media.”

The four-part drama series is very much a thought-provoking story of complex characters, and just like Asher Keddie says, is sure to ignite conversations across Australia.

The Hunting premieres on SBS this Thursday at 8.30pm, and will be available on SBS On Demand.

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