Back in the GOOD BOOKS

Todd La­sance is be­ing talked about for all the right rea­sons again, writes Siob­han Duck

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

IF HE hadn’t made it as an ac­tor, Todd La­sance reck­ons he would have been a cop. It seems a strange al­ter­na­tive for some­one who for two years sent teenage girls’ hearts a flut­ter as Sum­mer Bay’s res­i­dent bad boy on Home and Away.

And then there’s the small mat­ter of his run-in with the law that saw him ar­rested for pos­ses­sion of co­caine 14 months ago.

But La­sance says head­lines and type-cast­ing aside, he’s a ‘‘ squeaky-clean’’ and fo­cused guy who counts his fam­ily as his clos­est con­fi­dants.

He says his role on Chan­nel 9’s Un­der­belly tele­movie, Tell Them Lu­cifer Was Here— as a de­tec­tive in­ves­ti­gat­ing the 1998 shoot­ings of Gary Silk and Rod­ney Miller — has given him a chance to ex­plore his fan­tasy ca­reer path in the force ‘‘ with­out the dan­ger’’.

He took the role se­ri­ously — want­ing to do jus­tice to the emo­tions and pro­ce­dure of crime in­ves­ti­ga­tion — es­pe­cially given it is based on a real crime and would be watched by many Vic­to­rian po­lice with first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of the har­row­ing event.

La­sance also hopes his Un­der­belly role will give view­ers a chance to see him in a new light — as more than a soap ac­tor who once got into trou­ble.

He knew, when he took a role on Home and Away, it would po­ten­tially be a dou­bleedged sword.

‘‘ I knew the fact that I had done Home and Away would al­ways be ref­er­enced, no mat­ter what I ended up do­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘ I also knew that be­cause of the show’s pop­u­lar­ity there would be no­to­ri­ety that comes with it.

‘‘ You kind of ex­pect it (fame) will hap­pen to some de­gree. It’s part of the job. But if you don’t want peo­ple to come up to you, you just don’t put your­self in sit­u­a­tions that would make you a tar­get.

‘‘ For in­stance, I would avoid Justin Bieber con­certs.’’

Al­though he is grate­ful for the ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­po­sure Home and Away has given him, La­sance is keen to prove his ver­sa­til­ity.

He hopes his new roles — in Fox­tel drama Cloud­street, ABC le­gal se­ries Crownies, Res­cue Spe­cial Ops and Un­der­belly, will show peo­ple what he is ca­pa­ble of and po­ten­tially launch his ca­reer over­seas.

He also hopes that own­ing up to his past will al­low him to put it be­hind him.

‘‘ I don’t want one mis­take to de­fine me,’’ he says of be­ing ar­rested dur­ing a po­lice raid on a Kings Cross night­club.

La­sance won an ap­peal against a 12-month good be­hav­iour bond for pos­sess­ing co­caine.

‘‘ The funny thing is I am ac­tu­ally pretty squeaky clean. I never even got so much as a bad school re­port card.

‘‘ It was one stupid lapse. Ev­ery­one makes mis­takes, but not ev­ery­one has them make the front page of the news­pa­per.

‘‘ I do un­der­stand that be­cause of the show I was on — which has a younger au­di­ence — that I was meant to be a role model. I had a re­spon­si­bil­ity and I don’t want to dis­ap­point peo­ple. I just want to put it be­hind me and show them there’s more to me than that one mis­take.’’

Be­fore land­ing the role on Home and Away, New­castle­born La­sance had min­i­mal act­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, spend­ing most of his time on sports grounds and ath­let­ics tracks rather than the stage.

He says a brief stint with a youth the­atre group in New­cas­tle changed his fo­cus from sports to act­ing once he had fin­ished Year 12.

‘‘ It was like a fire had been lit in­side me,’’ he says.

‘‘ I felt this hunger — this thirst — to do it.

‘‘ I talked to Mum and Dad about get­ting an agent when I fin­ished school. They were concerned be­cause it can be a dif­fi­cult in­dus­try to break into. But fail­ure was not an op­tion.’’

La­sance’s par­ents needn’t have wor­ried. It took next to no time for La­sance to land a guest spot on Home and Away. His char­ac­ter was a hit with view­ers and soon he found him­self with a star­ring role, a nom­i­na­tion for Bach­e­lor of the Year and a sil­ver Lo­gie for Most Pop­u­lar Ac­tor.

Now he’s fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of some fine Aus­tralian ac­tors — Si­grid Thorn­ton, Vince Colosimo, Martin Sacks and Peter Phelps, to name a few — with a star­ring role in Un­der­belly.

‘‘ I al­ways wanted to stretch my­self as an ac­tor and this role is the com­plete op­po­site of Aden (his Home and Away char­ac­ter),’’ he says.

‘‘ It’s such an hon­our to be part of it. There’s noth­ing else like it— it’s one of the grit­ti­est shows on Aus­tralian TV.’’ Un­der­belly: Tell Them Lu­cifer Was Here, Chan­nel 9, Mon­day, 8.30pm

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