IT’S NO SECRET that Australian actors have been doing amazing things in Hollywood for many years, widely liked and respected for their unparalleled work ethic, sense of humour and lack of ego.
One such star making a name for himself in recent times is former Neighbours and McLeod’s Daughters favourite Brett Tucker – who will be back on screens when season five of Cold War drama The Americans premieres on showcase on May 11.
From his dream run in Hollywood to landing the job of his dreams, and the lesson he learnt the hard way about living in Los Angeles, Tucker opens up about cracking the big time.
Foxtel Insider: You appear to have had an amazing run since moving to LA. Does it feel like that for you or has it been a hard slog behind the scenes?
Brett Tucker: It’s always hard. I definitely like to consider myself as a working actor – I do manage to work – but it’s always tough.
I was lucky enough to not have to do a pilot season for four or five years, but I’m in the middle of one now and I can tell you it’s as tough as ever. I’m just slogging away out there, selling my wares.
Any work that I’ve got I’ve had to fight for, so yeah, it’s challenging, but I knew what I was signing up for and that’s part of the deal. But I also consider myself fortunate for sure.
Insider: You recently wrapped Mistresses after four seasons, in which you played Aussie chef Harry. Was that character always meant to be Australian?
Brett: No, I was cast American. What I have learnt – and this is from a few different experiences, and one was when I nearly lost a job I already had – is that it’s better to not let anyone hear your Australian accent, because they just flip out!
What happened on Mistresses was I got cast really late. I went in for two different roles and both of them were American.
I got Harry and, on the first day of filming the pilot, I wasn’t actually shooting but I had to rock up to get a haircut, and I was just chatting away with the cast and someone said, ‘Oh wow, are you going to keep your accent?’ I said, ‘No, Harry’s American.’
“Alyssa Milano was on the set and so was one of the producers and they were like, ‘Wow, that’s an interesting idea!’ Again, I was like, ‘No, he’s American. It’s too late now – we’re shooting tomorrow, just forget it.’ But the showrunner couldn’t get it out of her head, so she grabbed the network people and we sat around doing the scenes in Australian and they went, ‘Oh yeah, let’s do it in Australian’.”
Insider: Is that a compliment or frustrating after months of honing your American accent?
Brett: [Frustration] was definitely my first reaction – it was like I’d been cast as American and I’d done all this work for the role, it’s like, damn it, I’m American!
But over four seasons, I was really glad because it was different, you know.
Because it’s your own accent you don’t realise, but for other people it’s a nice little touch and a different flavour. So I think for that show it definitely helped.
nsider: You’re about to appear on our screens in The Americans – what can you tell us about your character, Ben Stobert?
Brett: He’s an agricultural scientist and he’s involved with Keri Russell’s character [Elizabeth Jennings], who kind of descends in to try to get information about a potential threat on Russian agriculture. She goes undercover trying to get info. It’s a great little story.
Insider: How was it working with real-life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, who plays Philip Jennings?
Brett: I can’t speak highly enough of them because there’s no ego involved in their work.
They are really normal, humble, funny people and just super talented. I worked pretty closely with Keri and she’s so cool and just relaxed and hilarious and cracking gags.
It was an amazing experience. I have a massive acting crush on Matthew and Keri, they’re just great people and it was a real joy to work with them.