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.

Sunday Territorian - - TV -

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.

In­be­tween

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.

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