OFFSPRING isn’t in better shape without Dr Chris and television isn’t going to be improved by the end of East West 101, an intense cop show where the word gritty could actually be legitimately deployed. The common denominator here is Don Hany — pronounced Honey (not a coincidence).
He’s now based himself, willingly, in Los Angeles to finally take advantage of a couple of years of visits and contacts and callbacks.
‘‘ I’m sort of navigating my way through this skirmish of meetings and auditions,’’ he says. ‘‘ It’s been a positive few months here and so I’m sticking it out a bit longer.
‘‘ I’ve been coming back and forth and every time I’m here I recognise the opportunities that present themselves and the pros and cons with them.
‘‘ You don’t get the chance to do something like East West, but it’s funny how if your profile has an American currency, it has a ripple effect that’s global, whereas in Australia the work you do there . . . it doesn’t register on a lot of people. Which is such a shame because, you know, East West is just one of the great shows we make in Australia.
‘‘ There are so many. Not all of them get seen on commer- cial TV, let alone by people overseas. It’s kind of about opportunity and I’ve kind of got to go where the work is.
‘‘ I’m here for a bit, but it’s indefinite. I’m just not sure what’s going to happen next.’’
So, does he just smile a lot? Whore himself around?
‘‘ I do. I unpack my heart, as Hamlet would say. But, you know, it’s funny,’’ he says.
‘‘ There’s a different kind of respect for Australian actors here. This is a town where the fever about Australians hasn’t diminished, it seems to get stronger all the time.’’
Exhibit A: Simon Baker, currently the highest-paid actor in a US television drama. ‘‘ He’s a phenomenon, man. He’s a real movie star. He’s incredible,’’ Hany says.
‘‘ And funny you should mention him, we’ve got the same agent here, so he’s kind of pushed me into this TV direction. Because it’s true — if you build an audience in TV, then so much more becomes available to you.’’
Yes, even an insignificant audience in the States is three, four, five million people . . .
‘‘ I know!’’ Hany says. ‘‘ Those shows you’re talking about, the ones that win all the awards — Mad Men and Breaking Bad — no one watches them. It’s no different to back home.’’
He knows of which he speaks. East West 101 has had tiny audiences, but won plenty of trophies. Its scope across the three series has been ambitious, but ambition fulfilled.
This final series, as Hany puts it, is about the net effect on our lives from the role that we’ve played in Afghanistan and Iraq and those two wars.
‘‘ There’s still an idea in Muslim, and also non-Muslim, communities that Islam is alien to Australia,’’ he says. ‘‘ I think Arab and Muslim are two concepts that largely Australians use synonymously. People, I think, assume all Arabs are Muslim, and they’re clearly not.’’ East West 101 Wednesday SBS 8.30pm
has had tiny audiences, but won plenty of trophies.