Don Hany

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE BOX - SHAN­NON MOL­LOY

Don Hany has come a long way since he played Alex Markham in for­got­ten 1990s soapie Break­ers.

Th­ese days the 41-year-old calls Los An­ge­les home as he tries his hand in Hol­ly­wood — most re­cently op­po­site Melissa Ge­orge in US hos­pi­tal drama, Heart­beat.

But Hany — who shot to fame as Mus­lim de­tec­tive Zane Ma­lik on SBS’s East West 101 — is back in Australia for ABC drama, Janet King, play­ing former cham­pion crick­eter, Clay Nel­son, in the sights of King (Marta Dus­sel­dorp) and the Na­tional Crime Com­mis­sion af­ter a match­fix­ing scan­dal.

What does it feel like be­ing back in Australia for Janet King? (It is) al­most like I don’t de­serve the wel­come. It is a very unique thing that we’ve got here. In other places it is such a busi­ness. It quickly be­comes a means of sur­vival, in the US in par­tic­u­lar where it is so ex­pen­sive. It is do or die. You’ve got to work … just to stay afloat.

You and Marta have worked to­gether, right? Very briefly. We were ships in the night on Jack Ir­ish. We only shared the one scene on Devil’s Dust. We’ve never had the op­por­tu­nity to craft some­thing to­gether un­til now.

What is she like to work with so closely? I think when you have to shoul­der some­thing you find your own rhythm. Some­one who is able to do that and re­main gen­er­ous and still does it with a sense of hu­mour – you al­ways take your hat off to those peo­ple. Were you a Janet King fan be­fore this job? I was ac­tu­ally a Crown­ies (fore­run­ner of Janet King) fan. Le­gal drama is re­ally im­por­tant. I think when you have some­thing like [ABC com­edy series] Rake to con­trast with, you can’t go wrong. This series in par­tic­u­lar, be­cause it cen­tres around match fix­ing and the bet­ting world, is timely. Are you a bet­ting man? I went to Las Ve­gas once and had a go. And I felt com­pletely ripped off so I’ve never done it since. It doesn’t ap­peal to me. I think it is Freud that said ‘you’re stupid if you never do it and you’re stupid if you do it more than once’.

You’ve played cops, priests, crim­i­nals, doc­tors. Is a sports star a new chal­lenge for you? Strangely enough they are all de­fend­ing some sort of ide­ol­ogy. Most peo­ple go to bat to prove that what they are do­ing is jus­ti­fied. I don’t think I’ve played some­one this fa­mous be­fore. Like any­thing when you come to some­thing too young, it is a dif­fi­cult path to nav­i­gate.

Can you re­late to that? You were quite young when you gained no­to­ri­ety as an ac­tor. It seems like I was, but my first job ( Break­ers) I joined the cast where there were kids five or six years younger than me. I was re­ally scared for them. I recog­nised how dif­fi­cult it could be. They were get­ting paid a lot of money and be­ing ex­posed to a whole lot of sub­stance abuse and be­ing told di­rectly or in­di­rectly that you’re fa­mous. It is a slip­pery slope.

Has be­com­ing a dad (Hany and wife Alin have a young daugh­ter, Tilda) changed you? It is mainly lo­gis­tics. In my job ev­ery­thing changes with a phone call and that doesn’t change when you be­come a par­ent (but) you’ve got other peo­ple to con­sider.


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