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Secret Identities – Simmo

I ask fwooshmember questions.


They answer them.


Simmo "Murderously cute".

You’re from Australia?

I was born in England, and came out to Australia when I was 3 years old, on account of my asthma.

You’re in Sydney. Is Sydney the best city in the world?

This is Simmo's picturesque view.

Geez, it would have to be pretty close. I live right on the beach; I’m ten minutes from the city centre. The harbour is beautiful, there’s a good (but not great) arts scene with plenty of theatre and good cinema and music. It’s not bad living here.

Have you ever been stung by one of those tiny jellyfish?

Oh man, badly, when I was about ten. Red welts everywhere!!!
Having said that, we also used to do bombies into the river on these big ass brown jellyfish when I was a kid we had jellyfish fights and all!

What’s the weather like?

Beautiful. Coming into winter, temperature is around 20-25 degrees Celsius.

What’s the big issue in Australia?

We have a federal election later this year, so issues are everywhere. David Hicks was a big one, but that’s kind of been cleaned up. Climate change is a big one, as are new industrial relations laws. And our prime minister has stirred up a massive hornet’s nest this week by saying that HIV positive people should not be allowed to immigrate here.

Banning people with HIV seems ridiculous.

Doesn’t it though?

What type of Australian words are slang? Examples?

A dunny is a toilet. A bloodnut is a redhead. There’s a few that I can’t repeat here too!!

Are there any geographical differences in Australia?

Kind of. There are rivalries, but not necessarily as strong. They also exist along the lines of sporting codes too. New South Wales and Queensland are strong rugby states, so there is a rivalry between the two states. Then there has always been a rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney as to which is the better city. And finally, there is Perth. Perth people hate anyone from "the Eastern States", which means the rest of Australia!!!

How do you get around?

Buses mainly, although I do have my driver’s license. My wife gets first use of the car though.

Ever been to Katoomba?

Yeah, it’s a nice little town to visit for a day.

What are the new Zealanders called? I hear the girls are hot.

New Zealanders are Kiwis, after the bird.

Are you a water person? It seems like Australia is the place to be if you like water.

I love the beach, and the water. We live right near one of the best beaches in Sydney.

Simmo's place is the one near the tower with the red roof.

Is the outback the same as it is depicted in the X-Men Reever series with the old guy, Gateway?

Exactly. Basically a lot of the "outback", which we just call "the bush", is desert with mining towns.The closer you get to the cities, the more farming towns you get, but there is plenty of forest as well, particularly in the southern areas.

Ever get lost in the outback, I mean "the bush"?

Nope. I’m not that stupid to leave the roads.

What is the biggest misconception of Australia?

That we’re a bunch of shrimp eating hicks.

Can we make your place a fwooshmember destination?

I would be happy for any fwoosher to crash at my place!!!

Did you have some sort of seizures? What is that?

I have epilepsy.

Can I tell just by looking at you?

Nope, I look as normal as the next guy… scratch that, I’m better looking.

Have you ever gone into a fit onstage?

No. been lucky there.

What is NOT wrong with you physically?

Heh-heh. Not a lot.

Does it affect your mental health?

I used to suffer from depression, which went hand in hand with the worst year of seizures I had. I was having them every fortnight, and that was a bad time. But now I’m happy as Larry.

Any pets?

I’m about to get fish from my wife for my just passed 30th birthday! I like fish.

Those polar bear cubs are cute.

Murderously cute.

Married?… Kids?…

Married, for just over 3 years. No kids for a little while yet

Have you calculated the odds of having getting noticed as a working actor to make yourself stand out and be fiscally rewarded?

Acting in Australia is a difficult proposition. Our TV industry is in a parlous state, as is film. I’ve always said that I’d be happy just to work in and around the industry, as I love the theatre. Acting is gravy.

You have formal acting training?

Yep. Trained for 3 years at NIDA, the drama school that produced Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchette, Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and countless fantastic Australian actors.

Did you know Baz Luhrmann stole that popular song from a
newspaper (Chicago Tribune) writer? At least the lyrics. You know that one?

The sunscreen song? Yeah, I heard that. There was a satirical version done as well, called "not the sunscreen song". Not a very clever title, but it was funny.

When was your first acting experience? When did you decide to be an actor?

I started acting in high school, playing the dad in a WWII play called the Silver Sword. This began a long run of playing dads and old men throughout my career. The only divergence is when I get to play the fool, which I do pretty well. Acting as a career only seemed viable after a couple of years at Uni. I started doing a double degree, majoring in politics and commerce, but found that wasn’t for me, so I switched to our Uni theatre course. After starting with tech work, I was cast in more and more shows until acting, directing, and writing pushed the tech stuff to the side.

Name some of your favorite movies.

Star Wars is the first movie I remember seeing, so I’m very fond of it. Shawshank Redemption, Hana Bi (by Beat Takeshi), The Third Man (directed by Carol Reed), the Maltese Falcon, the Royal Tennenbaums, Vertigo, and the anime version of Metropolis all rank highly. And finally, Le Samurai, by Melville (French) is tops as well.

Do you know the other fwoosh actors?

I know of them. Being Australian means I haven’t met any of them in person yet… but soon my pretties.

Is there a role you get repeatedly cast?

Heh, the dad and the fool. Possibly my two favorite parts were as Noah Joad in the Grapes of Wrath, and as John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester in Playhouse Creatures. They are the fool roles at least. My favourite dad/old man was Krapp in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape.

Do you enjoy all acting jobs?

Any acting gig is heaven. Even if it’s only a day’s shoot on a soapie!

But did your parents abandon you?

Heh. No. Far from it, they supported me for much longer than any parent possibly should.

Do you vividly remember your failures?

Oh yeah. It’s hard not to forget massive failures as an actor, particularly at drama school, where the staff cheerfully reminds you of your failures constantly. The best way to fail is spectacularly when you’re trying something right out of your comfort zone.

Did you try out for the Wiggles? Those guys make bank.

Australia’s richest entertainers. Unfortunately, my singing isn’t good enough to reach even Wiggles standards. Interesting tidbit, they started their careers in a small pub band called the %@#!!!!

Memorizing your lines is the hardest part of acting, right?

Actually, learning lines isn’t that difficult, although I’ve had to learn new techniques every time I’ve changed my medication. The hardest part of acting, I find, is getting the emotional truth right without detracting from telling the actual story itself. That, and kissing girls I’m not married to!

What’s your opinion on Mel Gibson?

Mel’s got his share of demons. What he said is basically intolerable. But the man needs help and has needed it for a long time. After all, he got the role in Mad Max because he was sporting a black eye from a fight in a pub. As for his career, his theme seems to be "man keeping his family together".

If Russell Crow were to fight Mel Gibson and they were both 25 years old who would
be your favorite?

I think Russell Crowe would win. He’s got an angry streak to him.

Nicole Kideman is white as a ghost and looks just like the White Queen Hasbro gave us!

It’s a shame because I think she used to be really beautiful, but she’s felt she’s needed to get a lot of work done. I feel for women and the pressure to look good that society puts on them.

How much of American pop culture is assimilated in Australia?

Interesting question, given I’m doing an essay on high/low culture for my masters degree. Pop culture in the way of film, TV, and music is being dominated by American product right now. The lowest ends of culture (as perceived) in comics and wrestling are still very much things for kids.

Is there a strong Marvel presence?

Most people here would have no idea what "Marvel" meant if you asked them. If you said “comics”, they would probably ask if they publish Superman or Batman.

What entertains you?

I love high art in theatre, opera, although it’s too expensive to go very often, and the like, to the low art of comics, wrestling, and everything in between.

Do you need to read comics to escape harsh realities?

I read comics as an antidote to the heavier text books and plays I read. They are my escapism.

What is the availability of Marvel Legends?

ML13 was the last wave to hit mass retail here. I’ve bought all my ML online since about ML6 so it’s not such a problem for me, but if you hunt them down it’s almost impossible.

What is the price?

Hasbro ML are outrageously priced, possibly because only a relatively small number are now imported. HML2 will be $24.50 AU each.

What do you collect mainly?

Marvel and Marvel only my friend, and only in the ML scale.

I wanted to do dioramas myself, but they took up too much room.

Yeah, my wife’s on me a bit about that. Luckily I have a desk which I tend not to use in our entrance foyer (kinda grand in a two bedroom flat). So I built a shelf for my mansion, and put the danger room underneath on the desk.

How is it going writing for the e-zine?

It’s good. I’m trying to keep one or two reviews ahead, which are fairly easy given I’m on once a fortnight. Big trades would really hold me up for a weekly column.

Do you like Marvels rendition of Hercules or the standard Greek mythos fare?

Love it. I’m really into mythology (which is why the Sandman series is one of my non-Marvel must reads). I’m praying that Thor is treated well in his return.

Which External is your favorite?

You mean Eternal, right? I’ve always had a soft spot for Sersi, because she was a member of the Avengers when I started collecting comics properly. Sprite’s kinda fun too.

What is the best Avengers line up?

I loved the West Coast Avengers. Perhaps my favourite line-up there was during "Acts of Vengeance": Iron Man, Hawkeye (although he’d quit, he was still in the background), Pym, Wasp, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wonderman, Original Human Torch, and the US Agent. Such a great team!!!

You like what they are doing to the Avengers now?

I actually don’t mind it, as they are really front and centre. I just wish the pacing would move a hell of a lot faster, and I do miss the characters who were Avengers and Avengers only.

You like Hercules a little too much. Who would win Herc or the Sentry?

Unfortunately, the Sentry in a fair fight, but in a drinking contest Herc would win hands down. In a fight after a few drinks, still Herc, because alcohol’s a depressant, and Sentry would start crying in the corner.

Thanks Simmo!

Discuss this interview here.