Antonia Prebble warns Westside fans of Rita shock

Antonia Prebble as Rita West in Westside
Antonia Prebble as Rita West in Westside

Fans of Westside are set for a shock as Rita's past catches up with her in the next episode, says star Antonia Prebble.

The West family matriarch will be celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary in Sunday's episode before it's interrupted by people she hasn't seen for years.

"I think the audience is going to be really shocked," says Prebble.

"They're going to be really surprised in what they find out about Rita. We meet some people who were very significant in her life and we see Rita very shaken up by it. By the end of the episode, you'll have a much greater understanding of why she is the complex person that she is."

The upcoming episode adds even more to what fans have learnt about Rita, whose time behind bars at the end of season one changed her.

"[Jail] changed her in terms of her sensibilities towards other women. She's more generous to the plight of other women," says Prebble.

"Before she went into jail, she was pretty much out for herself all the time. But after having spent time with other women inside who have been hard done by, by the men in their lives or patriarchal society, she's become a bit of a feminist. Now, she really wants to help women."

Prebble is thrilled to return to the West family after starring as Rita's daughter Loretta West in Outrageous Fortune - but not just for expanding on the legacy of the Wests.

"I love '80s fashion! I've always been a fan of shoulder pads and onesies and sparkles," says Prebble.

"I've been wearing clothes like that for a long time. People often think I'm wearing costumes, but in fact they're just my clothes."

Westside and Outrageous Fortune are just two of the nearly two dozen projects Prebble has on her CV.

Among her other work was the lead role in White Lies, New Zealand's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.

"White Lies was the most challenging project I've ever done," says Prebble, reiterating what she told Newshub about the role in 2013.

"I'm most proud of that film because it was just so challenging. It was very intense. I feel like I grew a lot through the process of that. It was a wonderful thing to be a part of."

As for what she'd like to work on next, Prebble has her sights set on Europe.

"It's a dream of mine to work in France one day," says Prebble, who can speak French.

"I would absolutely love to do that. I lived in Paris while studying acting a few years ago, so it's a pipe dream. I don't know if it'll ever happen but I'd love to be able to work in France, playing a French character."

The fifth episode of Westside's second season is broadcast on TV3 this Sunday at 8:30pm.