Accent on the positive
AT 21, James Hagan was packing Weet-Bix into boxes at a factory in North Fremantle.
The Fremantle resident’s life changed forever just a few short months later, but little did he know that the people he met doing this work would continue to help him 40 years on.
It was while working at the factory that Hagan, following his sister Jennifer into acting, decided to start acting in amateur theatre productions, where he was talent-spotted and invited to start acting professionally.
Having acted on stage and screen ever since, Hagan said his humble beginnings always came in handy.
“If you just associate with actors, all you can play is actors,” he said.
“I can do millions of accents; I can do German and Italian accents because these were the people I worked with.”
With a plethora of roles under his belt, including Winston Churchill, King Lear, C.Y. O’Connor and even lending his voice to advertisements such as the Department of Health’s ‘every cigarette is doing you damage’ 90s TV campaign, Hagan said acting in WA allowed him to be whatever he wanted to be.
“Acting is a desire to be somebody else and I’ve never lost that desire to get away from myself,” he said.
“Actors are often considered egotists and selfish but often it’s a desire to get away from yourself that makes us into actors.
“The great thing about being an actor in Australia and especially WA is you have to do everything.
“If I was an actor in Britain I’d probably just be a Shakespearean actor; here I get to act in big bold musicals and sing songs, I get to advertise, I also get to be a stand up comedian.
“If I had just been doing Shakespeare, I would be dying of boredom.”
With a CV more than 80 items long and a string of awards under his belt, Hagan shows no signs of slowing down, again taking to the stage in The Blue Room Theatre’s upcoming production of Hobo from July 5 to 16.
He is also appearing in an upcoming movie alongside a big-named Hollywood star but so far is tight-lipped on the details.