A reluctant hero
Scott Ryan knew he was on to something when he created the main character of his new series Mr Inbetween. He tells DANIELLE McGRANE why he wanted to share this story.
Scott Ryan is a writer at heart.
While studying at film school, his dream was not be in front of the camera but to be behind it crafting the words and storylines that would make up his own film or TV show.
And yet, with his first series about to air, he finds himself in the starring role.
“I never saw myself as an actor or wanted to be an actor, because I’m a writer really at heart. But with Ray, even when it came to the TV show, the thought was, ‘I know I can do it so if I don’t do it and we don’t get the right person, then what? Then I’ve got to sit and watch it and think, ‘Oh my God you should have done it’,” Ryan said.
Ray Shoesmith is the star of Ryan’s show Mr Inbe
tween. It’s a series he created and wrote, fulfilling those dreams. But the fact that he’s also taken on the starring role was something he felt compelled to do.
“It probably came from a combination of fear and a sense of personal responsibility that if I’m putting my name on it and I’m involved in it, I know I can do it, so I’d better just bite the bullet and do it. So I did,” he said.
He came up with the character while making his first feature film The Magician.
Ray is a hit man. But he’s a hit man with a heart and when The Magician screened at a film festival, it caught the eye of Australian director Nash Edgerton.
With Edgerton signed on to produce and direct, Ryan developed the character and the storyline to make it into a TV series, after being inspired to create the character and the underworld of shady criminals that he inhabits, from the true lives of real hit men.
“I got the idea mainly from reading non-fiction books and biographies about hit men written by hit men, that’s where most of the ideas came from,” he said.
“The thing that I got from the books that I read is these guys have wives and kids, they’re good fathers and husbands. And that was the thing that interested me so much about the character, was not the coldness, not just the ability to shoot people, but it’s that thing that he loves his family but how can he do this?”
Armed with this threedimensional viewpoint, he created Ray: a hit man working in Sydney’s seedy underbelly, while also juggling life as a father, an ex-husband and a boyfriend.
Ray’s humanity makes it hard to dislike him, no matter what nefarious activities he carries out for his work.
“When you look at it, it’s pretty much like the way a soldier lives their life. They have kids and families, they’re heroic people, but they’re paid to kill people. The only difference is Ray does it for private industry,” he said.
Unfortunately for Ray, he gets involved in inter-gang conflict where he has to try to avoid getting killed.
While all this is going on, he’s also trying to maintain a new relationship with paramedic Ally, played by Brooke Satchwell.
Yet even when he’s killing people, Ray still comes off looking like a semi-decent guy.
“I agree with a lot of the things that Ray says and it’s a funny thing, but I think Ray is more me than I am,” Ryan said.
Ryan: “When you look at it, it’s pretty much like the way a soldier lives their life. They have kids and families, they’re heroic people, but they’re paid to kill people. The only difference is Ray does it for private industry.”
Tomorrow, 8.30pm on Showcase (Foxtel)
Star killer: Scott Ryan is the creator of MrInbetween.