I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a Daddo on my television screen. The ubiquitous brothers – Cameron, Andrew and Lochie – have been the charming, handsome faces on some of Australia’s favourite dramas, lifestyle programs and reality shows since the eighties. In the early nineties, eldest brother Cameron moved to LA to carve out an acting career in the US. Twenty-plus years and several shows later, he is now back on Australian soil to perform in the current production of The Sound of Music, as the stern Captain Von Trapp. Natalie O’Driscoll caught Cameron in between surfs on the Gold Coast during his whirlwind publicity tour.
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The role of the stoic Captain Von Trapp seems to be somewhat of a departure from Cameron’s naturally good-natured temperament. He’s loving every minute of it though.
“It’s an iconic show”, he states.
“The story is so uplifting, it’s a pleasure to do. You know if you’re doing Les Mis[erables, the feeling is in the title.”
Of being back in front of a live audience instead of in front of a camera, he’s simply jubilant. “It’s lovely, I love it. It’s very immediate.”
It’s not all fun and games, however. Like any run of continuous shows, it can be a hard slog.
“This is gruelling in its own way. My journey… Each show begins with the Captain tightly buttoned up and then he has this emotional undoing. So it’s quite exhausting doing that eight shows a week. You have to hit the reset button!”
Cameron’s return to Australian soil comes after a long stint of walking the pavements of Los Angeles. Both figuratively, while landing roles on a variety of Hollywood shows, and also literally, as a water purifier salesperson during a quiet acting patch. After a recurring role on ill-fated Melrose Place spinoff Models, Inc, Cameron landed smaller roles in Hope Island, FX: The Series and all my all time favourite television drama: The West Wing. I just have to ask him about that one.
“It was an interesting job!” Cameron is diplomatic.
“It was the first time I’d ever done a guest star job on a TV show in America and up until then my manager and agent had kept me away from it. But because it was The West Wing… you know [my role] was originally an arc, but they cancelled that storyline which was a bummer, because I was a bit excited about that!”
Understandably. He continues.
“The day I did was pretty intense, it was a number one show and Aaron Sorkin had written that episode and he was there, and he was an intense guy. It wasn’t enjoyable by any means because it was so tense.”
I had read Cameron quoted in a previous interview giving snippets about some issues with his scene with Toby (played by Richard Schiff) and some tensions within the cast, so I push for a few more details, hoping for a juicy snippet. Cameron is cagey, however.
“It makes for a great story when I tell the whole story. I might have to write a book and put it in there,” he laughs.
Seeing that’s all I’m going to be able to squeeze out of him on The West Wing front, we continue talking about his time in the City of Angels. Currently, his wife and children (two of whom are still in school) are remaining in LA while he completes The Sound of Music tour. He plans to return home once the show wraps up, and then the entire family is relocating to Australia, perhaps permanently.
“The kids are the main reason we’re doing it,” he says. “They had three months here over summer for Christmas and they were like ‘we want to live here for a while’.”
“It’s an exciting change for us. I don’t feel like we’re coming back, really, because it’s changed in the 20 years we’ve been away.”
I wonder what he will miss about Los Angeles.
“I’ll miss our friends, the community of friends that we have. I will miss the convenience of things, that you can get anything any time you want, and that’s from the hardware stores at midnight to the golf warehouse full of stuff… but mostly the community. We probably will move back to Sydney, most of my family are there.”
Well we’ll be excited to have him back, and with any luck we’ll be seeing more of his smiling face on our screens over the next few years. I ask if there is any work lined up that he can tell us about.
“The Sound Of Music will take up until the end of the year. Then there’s a great TV project through Foxtel, there’s a movie that I’m writing with my wife that can take any amount of time, and I’ll certainly be looking at musical theatre. I’ll continue with my Smooth FM radio gig too, so there’s a lot going on.”
The Sound Of Music continues its run at the Lyric Theatre in Brisbane until 1 May, 2016. Tickets at qpac.com.au