‘We were shooting … in Tony Abbott’s coup’ courtyard about 10 days before the
“I did Home and Away for about two-and-a-half years (to 2014) and the industry didn’t know I was doing it for about two years because no one watches it – it’s only a certain demographic that watch.
It’s interesting because 25 to 30 years ago you would be judged very harshly if you were doing it, you’d never be able to do Home and Away and a show at Belvoir St Theatre (he starred in Hedda Gabler there in 2014) – they wouldn’t have allowed it. Whereas now they seem to have come to terms with commercialism a bit more, so there doesn’t seem so many blocks in the way.
I’m enjoying that kind of freedom. I did feel the judgmental weight of doing soap operas in my 20s – the weight that comes from being some sort of heartthrob but wanting to do theatre is massive, no one wants to let you be both those things. So getting older is good [laughs].
I’m enjoying it more and I’m getting more out of it.
I’ve known [ Jack Irish star] Guy [Pearce] for a long, long time. He has had the most incredible career. The other day we did a scene, four-and-a-half minutes long, just sitting across the desk from each other talking, a really intense, hard, big scene and quite theatrical in a way. And we were both saying: ‘This is the first time we’ve worked together – it only took 25 years’.
I’m doing another show called Secret City (for Foxtel in March). I’m playing a journo. We were shooting in Canberra in Tony Abbott’s courtyard about 10 days before the coup.
That was amazing just to be on the ground in that environment with those dudes walking around.
Did I find sympathy for journalists doing the role? Sure, everyone’s just doing their jobs. Journalists get a bad rap – you’ve got to blame someone.
It was also fantastic to play the villain in last year’s ABC drama Hiding. The writer said to me: ‘I’ve got to admit I just pulled all my favourite ideas about gangsters in there, there’s not really a person there. Your job is to just find a guy that’s real in there.’ Writers would never normally tell you that. I was thankful he was so blazingly honest about that. It was great to work on.”
ABC, THURSDAY, 8.30PM
With Andrew Fenton