It’s not when she walks down the street that Gold Logie nominee Essie Davis notices how her much-loved character, Phryne Fisher, has turned her life upside down.
Davis, the star of ABC TV’s global hit Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, says she’s barely recognised in public.
“Occasionally, if I’m in Melbourne at the supermarket, someone might look at me a bit too long and be embarrassed,” she says.
“I don’t know if it’s people’s incredible politeness. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not very glamorously dressed most of the time.”
Life has changed in other ways for Davis since Miss Fisher first hit Australian television screens in 2012.
With a string of impressive film and TV credits, the Tasmanian-born actor has always been busy – just not this busy.
Most recently, Davis has been in Paris promoting the French release of the series.
“(Phryne Fisher) has changed my life quite a lot but in ways that I can’t really describe, mostly to do with motherhood, I guess,” Davis tells AAP.
“Sometimes she’s the bane of my existence and sometimes she’s just a great, wonderful place to escape to.
“I can’t really answer that except to say people around the world love her.”
With discussions under way about a third series of the 1920s crime show, there could be no let-up for the 43-year-old.
Davis, who is based in London, has two projects that will hit screens in May, both far removed from the light touch of Miss Fisher.
She’ll return home to Hobart this week for the Australian premiere of new film The Babadook, which is garnering festival awards and rave reviews for first-time feature writer-director Jennifer Kent.
In May, Davis’s portrayal of Caitlin Thomas will air on the BBC in a teledrama made to commemorate the centenary of the birth of troubled Welsh poet and writer Dylan Thomas.
The Babadook is the spooky story of a mother dealing with the death of her husband, who was killed on the day their son is born.
The boy, now six and played by newcomer Noah Wiseman, is terrified by a storybook monster that may or may not be real.
Davis and Kent were at NIDA together in the 1990s, and it was this that first attracted the actor to the project.
“(Kent) asked me to read it and I read it and went, ‘Holy shit, man, what is this?’,” Davis jokes.
But she also wanted to be part of a project she says is like no other Australian film.
“It feels much more European,” she says.
“It’s got a very beautifully designed pallette, which is quite unusual.
“It’s had phenomenal reviews. I think it will be a classic.”
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance festival in January. The audience reaction ranged from screams to tears, but all in a positive way.
“It’s about sleep deprivation and about repressed grief and being a parent, maybe about mental illness,” Davis says.
“It’s also ‘There’s a monster in the cupboard wanting to get out’.”
* The Babadook has its Australian premiere at Hobart’s State Cinema on May 1. It opens nationally on May 22.