Sean Keenan has come a long way since an audition in Busselton, Western Australia.
“They had an open casting call for Lockie Leonard,” he recalls.
“They sent letters to the principal for kids to go along so there were 5 kids from my school, and I got an agent after that.”
And the title role of Nine’s kids’ series.
Since then his resume includes some impressive credits: Cloudstreet, Puberty Blues and Dance Academy.
Now in ABC’s Glitch he plays WWI digger Charlie Thompson, one of several individuals who have inexplicably risen from the dead. But why?
“They all come blank canvasses and don’t remember anything, so it’s a journey of discovery for them. By the end they are having flashbacks, going back into themselves and getting their journey in their story,” he explains.
“Some get them quite early, but Charlie doesn’t get his until quite late. They can get led down the wrong path, so it’s like (being) a detective into history.
“He went to war and ended up coming back and dying quite young. A sad man with a tragic and unique love story.”
Despite their unique experience, the disparate characters of Glitch all emerge from vastly different backgrounds and eras.
So how does one research a fictional role so entrenched in World War I?
“It’s hard to find audio but we have a lot of stock footage, and I do as much reading as possible. There are diary accounts from those times. Charlie was from the battle at Fromelles, so he’s not an ANZAC. It was horrific and one of the worst losses of life in Australian history,” he continues.
“He’s survived but lost everyone he knew and comes back and dies alone. So to be brought back but not remember anything is chaos. It’s like living through that trauma again.
“All of the characters have a similar trauma. Dying, for anyone, is pretty traumatic!
“But it’s really fun to have your face covered in blood.”
Indeed, Glitch is unlike any of his previous work, and the first time he has played a character from this period. He’s grateful Emma Freeman, who directed him in Puberty Blues, is also series director.
“I really liked the character and it was one of those things where you knew with Emma in charge it would be a great team. I didn’t know all the cast who were on board when I joined, but when I heard the names I was really happy.
“I’m really excited to see the finished product.
“Supernatural Australian dramas are in ascendency here every so often. It will be very cool.”
Glitch airs 8:30pm Thursday on ABC.