Rebecca Gibney of Packed to the Rafters fame never gets to be the bad guy.
"I'm always the mum or the therapist," she tells the Herald.
So when Kiwi director Paul Murphy approached her to play a villain in his crime comedy Lowdown Dirty Criminals, she jumped at the chance.
"It's the anti-everything I've ever done. The anti-Jane Halifax, the anti-Julie Rafter, the anti-everything."
Murphy's film tells the story of a pizza delivery boy Freddy (James Rolleston) who wants to pursue a life of crime with his best mate Marvin (Samuel Austin) - until a botched job sees them cross paths with crime boss The Upholsterer (Gibney) and her henchmen Semo (Robbie Magasiva) and Roy (Cohen Holloway).
The role of The Upholsterer was originally written as a male character, as were all the other characters in the film - until it was suggested that the villain be turned into a woman. And it was Gibney who came to mind first.
"I think I just came into [Murphy's] head as the person that no one would expect," she said.
And to help her embody the villain stereotype, she called up leading Kiwi acting coach Miranda Harcourt for some tips.
"She was just phenomenal. She really helped me develop this person and find out what makes her tick.
"While she's kind of over the top and quite big, I also wanted to make sure she's grounded and real - I wanted to be very believable."
Gibney has explored crime in other roles, but combining that with comedy is new for her.
"Playing evil and comedy is new ... I did three years on a sitcom on Australia and I absolutely loved it. There is nothing better than a, making people laugh, and b, laughing yourself. So I think when they say laughter is the best medicine, it really is. And to do something funny, particularly in this day and age - we need a bit of something, you know?"
But the humour doesn't stop the film from getting gritty - there's a reason the villain is called The Upholsterer. And she's not ripping open couches and armchairs.
"Half my family won't be able to see it because they can't stand gore," she admits with a laugh.
"But it's funny gore. It's kind of Tarantino-esque. It's not meant to be serious at all."
And it was hard to keep a straight face on set, she says.
"It's that Kiwi humour, it's really deadpan. And Cohen Holloway is probably the world's funniest man. He and Robbie Magasiva were constantly acting up on set all the time and mucking around with the lines, so we were laughing all the time.
"A lot of the stuff that shows up on screen is actually made up on the spot."
Gibney loved working on a Kiwi project, which she also executive produced.
"I've been trying to do it for years," she says.
She thinks though it's a "uniquely Kiwi" film, it'll appeal to audiences everywhere.
"I think New Zealand is very much on the map at the moment. Everyone wants to live here."
Gibney, who's been "wrangling goats" just before we chat over the phone, is loving the farm life in Dunedin.
"I was really lucky that I was able to come back and just really hunker down with the family and spend some good quality time over lockdown, which was amazing. My son's 16 now and he's at that age where he doesn't really want to hang out with Mum and Dad that much but he was sort of forced to."
And she's keen to stay in New Zealand after 35 years in Australia.
"My son's going to school in Dunedin and he absolutely loves it here and so do we. We've got acreage and we're near the beach.
"I feel like I've come home."
Gibney's set to reprise her role in Packed to the Rafters for Amazon Prime, having just come back from filming in Australia. And she has plans to work on another "exciting" Kiwi production next year.
For now, she hopes people will go along and support a New Zealand film that's been in the works for years.
"[Murphy] has been trying to get this made for so many years and we're finally seeing it - it's really exciting."
Lowdown Dirty Criminals will be in theatres nationwide from August 20.