STILL CALLS AUSTRALIA HOME
Patrick Swayze became a mentor to Travis Fimmel on and off camera, as Guy Davis discovered when he spoke with the young Aussie star of The Beast.
While he may have a high-profi le modelling gig for Calvin Klein and a number of acting roles in Australian and international productions to his name, Travis Fimmel is really just a farm boy at heart.
In fact, one of the main reasons he got in front of the camera in the fi rst place? “ Gotta get more land, mate,” he said.
However, with the way Fimmel’s acting career is gathering speed, he’ll be lucky if he gets to spend much time on his family’s property near Echuca, Victoria.
One of his latest projects is the US crime drama The Beast, premiering this week on ABC2.
In the 13-part series, Fimmel plays Ellis Dove, a rookie FBI agent who’s partnered with veteran undercover operative Charles Barker ( Patrick Swayze).
Barker may be something of a legend in law-enforcement circles but there are some who believe he’s been working undercover so long he has become more like the criminals he’s out to bust.
For Dove, working with the mercurial Barker is a trial-by-fi re, with his renegade mentor often placing him in situations that prove hazardous to his health. Barker may get the job done, but at what cost?
Unfortunately, The Beast has attracted attention for the wrong reasons – Swayze’s battle with cancer became public knowledge while he was shooting the show, and discussion of his illness often overshadowed talk of his performance, widely regarded as one of the fi nest of the actor’s career.
Fimmel is clearly through talking about such topics (“ It’s amazing what you get asked over here,” he said), preferring instead to compliment the co-star who became a good friend during the gruelling shoot in chilly Chicago.
“ I learned a lot from Patrick,” he said. “ He’s a bit of a country boy like me. And I’ve learned as an actor how committed to the work he is and as a man how fearless he is – it was amazing for me to work with an icon like him.”
One doesn’t have to search too hard to see the parallels between the relationships shared by the two actors and their characters on The Beast, with Swayze as mentor to Fimmel on and off the screen.
But the layers of deceit and duplicity the show explores, with Dove being pressured to inform on the possibly rogue Barker, adds a diff erent element to the mix, one Fimmel found interesting to play.
“ Barker’s a hard man to trick,” said Fimmel. “ And if he ever found out that he’s being investigated, I’d be in a lot of danger.
“ I think it really gives my character an opportunity to investigate why are they going to this much eff ort to make me mistrust Barker. If there’s that many people working against him, there must be a good reason for it, you know? So it defi nitely creates some tension.”
Currently fi lming the big-screen thriller The Experiment alongside Oscar winners Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker, Fimmel is making a name for himself in Hollywood.
But he still calls Australia home, and would actually prefer to be spending more time here.
“ I’m only here in America for the work,” he said. “ I’d love to be working in Australia all the time. I actually reckon 90 per cent of Aussie actors would rather be working at home, if they had the opportunity to do it.”
Under the infl uence: Travis Fimmel plays rookie FBI agent Ellis Dove, who is shown the ropes by veteran operative Charles Barker ( played by Patrick Swayze) in The Beast.