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INSIDE: Seven days of TV viewing
THAT age-old ratings grabber, the TV soap wedding, comes to Home And Away via Hawaii this week. And it’s one of Summer Bay’s most angst-ridden and gorgeous couples who tie the knot on a trip to Waikiki.
Whether it’s a good idea for on-again, offagain Indi ( Samara Weaving) and Romeo ( Luke Mitchell) to get hitched on a whim is up for debate. But once they get caught in the romance of Hawaii, there’s no stopping them.
The storyline, which plays out over three nights, comes as Home And Away continues to ride a wave of healthy ratings, regularly topping the magic million mark in its timeslot. Not bad for a soap that’s been running for 23 years.
The Hawaiian escape is only the second time the Summer Bay crew has ventured abroad; the first was to the UK in 2008.
But Mitchell and Weaving, who headed to Honolulu with castmates Georgie Parker and Robert Mammone, agree theirs is a far more exotic location.
‘‘ I think they wanted to hurt me,’’ Mitchell grins, when asked how those left at home – especially his real-life love and on-screen former girlfriend Rebecca Breeds ( Ruby) – reacted to the news.
But as he takes in the mass of colour of Waikiki Beach, it’s obvious he’s finding it hard to feel bad about filming in paradise. When told this interview will be conducted out on the water, the Gold Coast-raised Mitchell can’t believe his luck. A hired longboard and a rolling break are all it takes to have him in his element.
Between sets, he talks life, love and career with a wisdom beyond his years and a laidback humour that backs up his good- bloke reputation on set. He took up acting because he loved it, even though it scared him. And it still does some days, the 26-year-old says with a grin.
‘‘ I finished school and opted not to go to uni, because I figured it’s a great place to be if you have a clear idea of what you want to do and a good way to waste a lot of time and accumulate a HECS debt if you don’t.’’
Born to a tennis-mad family, he had success on the junior circuit and, like brother Ben who is now a tennis pro, planned to continue with that dream.
‘‘ That was until Mum and Dad called my bluff and said if I wanted a tennis career, I had to make it pay its way,’’ he laughs. ‘‘ I realised it wasn’t an option and there was more to life than tennis.’’
In return, when he moved to Melbourne to have a real crack at acting, his parents realised it wasn’t just a hobby. The role of Romeo has cemented that, delivering him a Logie for Australia’s Best New Male Talent in 2010.
Asked whether he’ll seek fame in Hollywood, like so many other Summer Bay graduates, he is circumspect. ‘‘ If it’s acting, whether it’s in LA or Australia, I’ll be happy,’’ he says.
He agrees he’s probably way too level-headed to scoot off to Hawaii to get married, unlike his alterego Romeo.
Certainly, he grins, if he did marry in a hurry, he wouldn’t choose the white linen pants and shirt combo Romeo donned for his nuptials.
‘‘ I can’t decide if I’m a ninja or look like I escaped from a lunatic asylum,’’ he says of the outfit.
As he launches on to a wave, he looks more like the former than the latter.