Even this guy started in The Sullivans…
Say what you like about Australians, but when it comes to the arts, they might just have us whooped. Just look at the array of fine thespians they’ve sent over to Hollyood. You wouldn’t get a list like this from Hollyoaks…
Naomi Watts – Julie Gibson (Home and Away, 1997)
Naomi Watts had something of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role in Home and Away. We blinked. We missed it. But, in our defence, it was 1997, which means that we were probably miming along to No Woman No Cry, and inhailing drugs from a plastic bottle of Pepsi. Great times. Since then, she’s gone on to hardcore triple-X lesbian kissing and boob touching in Mulholland Drive, and iconic massive gorilla romance in King Kong. We’ve all just got jobs. Damn Thatcher.
Russell Crowe – Kenny Larkin (Neighbours, 1987)
Whether Russell Crowe took the same brooding intensity onto the Neighbours set, no one knows. But what is known is that he could have made a wonderful Lou Carpenter given half a chance. As things panned out, Neighbours missed a trick, and he went on to growl his way through Gladiator, pretend to be brain damaged in A Beautiful Mind, and play an Irish-Bristolian Indian-Jamaican man to a tee in Robin Hood.
Guy Pearce – Mike Young (Neighbours 1986-1989), David Croft (Home and Away, 1991-1992)
Whilst our best love soap actors might take to the stage, or entertain old people in a trundling Sunday evening drama set during the second world war, Guy Pearce – once the Ramsey Street heart throb who got to dance his delicate fingers all over Plain Jane the Superbrain – has gone on to dizzy heights in THE MOVIES. We like him best as the nerdy do-gooder in LA Confidential, or the weirdo in Momento – a film which tells a story from end to beginning. That’s the wrong way round!
Melissa George – Angel Parrish (Home and Away, 1993-1996)
An edgy rebellious character in Home and Away, Angel was the antipodean equivalent of Bianca in Eastenders. Only, whilst Patsy Palmer (real name – Bianca from Eastenders) has gone a full circle, and ended up right back in the middle of Albert Square, getting typically livid with Ricky, Melissa has cut a rather impressive figure on a string of well known US TV shows – notably Friends, Alias, something called Charmed. And now you can catch her in the strongly-recommended HBO show In Treatment, which features Angel from Home and Away playing a disturbed young woman who looks totally like she smells. Much like Bianca from Eastenders in that sense.
Ryan Kwanten – Vinnie Patterson (Home and Away, 1997-2004)
Ryan spent the best part of seven years getting right up Alf’s nose, playing the part of a twat in Home and Away. And now, he’s carving out a niche as a twat on the other side of the pond in True Blood – the story of vampires having sex with someone who was in The Piano. Everyone swears a lot, and Ryan spends much of the show glistening in a sheen of intercourse sweat on top of whichever actress has drawn the short/long straw. He has also been in a film with Ja Rule. That’s always a sign that you’ve arrived.
Isla Fisher – Shannon Reed (Home and Away, 1994-1997)
She didn’t have the greatest post-soap start, Isla Fisher – Darren Day, Summer Holiday, Darren Day’s tongue inside her actual mouth. Thankfully, she’s turned things around, and is now one half of a beautiful relationship with Sacha Baron Cohen, whilst making something of a name for herself in movies like Wedding Crashers, Wedding Daze, and anything else with Wedding in the title. Baron Cohen took the hint. They’re now married.
Jesse Spencer – Billy Kennedy (Neighbours, 1994-2000)
For those who don’t remember Billy, he was Karl and Susan Kennedy’s little angel, wedged somewhere on the Family Tree beneath the girl with the teeth like tombstones, and the boy with a bob cut. Billy can be found swapping American impressions with Hugh Laurie, in the popular hospital show, House. He plays a doctor, which seems hilarious because his dad was a doctor in Neighbours. Okay, perhaps not hilarious…
Holly Valance – Felicity Scully (Neighbours, 1999-2002)
You might think that Kylie is a big deal, but has she been in CSI: Miami? No she hasn’t. Has she been in CSI: NY? No she hasn’t. Has she been in Prison Break? No she hasn’t. Has she been in Entourage? No she hasn’t. Has she been in a film called Taken, also starring Liam Neeson, who was in Schindler’s List? No she hasn’t. Has she released a song called Kiss Kiss that was a little bit Turkish or something? No she hasn’t. Is she the woman in the picture above? No she isn’t. Are we even talking about Kylie Minogue? No we’re not. Then who are we talking about? Holly Valance. Who? Holly Valance.
Alan Dale – Jim Robinson (Neighbours, 1985-1993)
Alan Dale left Australia after playing Jim Robinson, because he was scared of becoming typecast. He has since gone on to play a stern, sinister businessman in The O.C. A stern, sinister businessman in Lost. A stern, sinister businessman in Ugly Betty. A stern, sinister politician in 24. And a rather stern Australian ambassador in Flight of The Conchords. He was also a stern general in the last Indiana Jones film. Good for Alan. He’s Australia’s De Niro.
Julian McMahon – Ben Lucini (Home and Away, 1990-1991)
A former model, Julian McMahon has endured a number of career highs and career lows in his time. One career high was starring in Home and Away right when it was at its thrilling peak, one low was marrying Dannii Minogue – a woman who doesn’t know how to cry. They’re now divorced, bless them. As Christian Troy in Nip/Tuck he sleeps with lots of woman. Sexually speaking.