Mandy McElhinney as Gina Rinehart in the mini-series House of Hancock.
Mandy McElhinney as Gina Rinehart in the mini-series House of Hancock. Channel 9

Mandy's out of body experience in House of Hancock

MANDY McElhinney has done it again.

After critically-acclaimed turns playing women's magazine trailblazer Nene King, Kerry Packer's long-suffering personal assistant and a straight-laced hospital matron, the actress dazzles as Gina Rinehart in House of Hancock.

The mini-series, which concludes tomorrow night, sees McElhinney transform into the intensely private mining magnate.

"I love the transformational stuff," she tells APN.

"I love feeling like you're in somebody else's skin."

To look convincing in the role, she wore a full prosthetic mask and padding to play Rinehart in middle-age.

"It was an incredible experience to walk out on to set like that and people knew it was me but you saw no recognition in their eyes," she says.

"It was like walking around in somebody else's skin for a day. It was like having amnesia, looking in the mirror and not being able to see myself."

While House of Hancock has been described as a TV biopic, McElhinney is careful to point out this is her and the writers' interpretation of Rinehart, who had nothing to do with the production.

Yesterday a NSW Supreme Court judge granted Rinehart and her lawyers permission to view the second half of the mini-series ahead of its screening to look for possible defamatory imputations.

"I respect she's a very private person … even in interviews she's very private," McElhinney says.

"So really it's my interpretation of her based on the facts and circumstances of her life. If I'm actually representing what she's like behind closed doors I can't say at all."

McElhinney says understanding Rinehart's childhood and upbringing was key to understanding her as the person who grew up to become the world's richest woman.

"There's some incredible footage of her as a little girl talking about her father," she says.

"It was one of the most powerful pieces of research for me, watching this little girl talk about her father.

"To me it's really a love story between a daughter and father."

House of Hancock part 2 airs tomorrow night at 8.45pm on Channel 9/WIN.

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