Comic tackles family DRAMAS
Stephen Curry is used to playing the funny man – but not the bloke who gets the girl.
So when it came to his latest role as Herb Ireland in new ABC drama The Time Of Our Lives, it was lucky he has an understanding wife.
“I don’t usually get roles where I get to have lots of sex with girls. And so it was interesting, my wife is very mature about these kind of things and took it very well,” says Curry.
“I usually get cast as the doofus. And the thing about doofus … or doofi … is they don’t tend to get too many ladies. They tend to chase the ladies unsuccessfully.”
As the salt-of-the-earth Ireland in The Time Of Our Lives, Curry plays a ladies man who uses his business venture of a comedy club and bar to help his pick-up prowess with women.
Curry says his wife was even OK with him taking off his wedding ring as he headed off to work. “There are not many people who could get away with that,” he says.
The realist in Curry admits his looks have never really made him a magnet for women. He attributes his alter ego Ireland’s success to what he terms the “mardi gras cowboy look” – “Maybe it’s the beard or the scarf. I am not sure how that would do with the ladies for me, but it seems to work for him,” he says. “I have a very skinny leg anyway, and my wife says I am not allowed to wear skinny-leg jeans as they emphasise the chicken look. Maybe you would call his style ‘Herbesque’. He could be a mandy – a 21st-century version of a dandy – a man with a girl’s name. But he is a little bit unkempt above the neck line. I’m not quite sure. I think he is just trying to make his own fashion statement.”
The Time Of Our Lives focuses on the Tivolli family and the trials and tribulations they face in their everyday relationships.
Curry’s character is the “adoptive” son of Ray ( Tony Barry) and Rosa ( Sue Jones), who helped to fill the parenting gap left by Ireland’s alcoholic mother.
The drama boasts a formidable cast that includes Claudia Karvan as Caroline, who is married to Matt Tivolli ( William McInnes). Shane Jacobson plays the other Tivolli brother, Luce, whose partner Bernadette is played by Justine Clarke. Michelle Vergara Moore makes her debut as Chai Li, adopted from Vietnam by Ray and Rosa.
Curry says Herb has a “bit of a Peter Pan complex”. And it is the complexity of the characters that drew him to The Time Of Our Lives. “It does deal with the reality of relationships. Numerous people have issues – Luce and Bernadette, and Caroline and Matt. Everyone aspires to the relationship of Ray and Rosa.”
Curry says despite overlaps in the actors’ careers – many of them appeared in The Secret Life Of Us – he has only worked with McInnes before, and jests that he bonded with Clarke over her role in kids’ series Professor Poopsnagle’s Steam Zeppelin.
“I became obsessed by the fact she had been in the show and its theme song. I wanted her to sing it,” he says.
“Any readers in their late 30s or early 40s may remember the theme song. Justine, God love her, was happy to sing it with me a couple of times, but I think she got a bit sick of it – I kept asking her to sing ‘boom boom chuffa chuffa’.
“You can imagine me asking a girl who has done the kind of uber work and acting roles that she has done to do that. But I think she took my obsession very well.”