Like father, like Rake son.
With two ABC series under his belt, Keegan Joyce has the best of both worlds.
Rake’s Cleaver Greene and son Fuzz share much in common, according to actor Keegan Joyce (pictured, right).
In the fourth season of the ABC series, Fuzz gets to explore more of his romantic side, but he has the imperfect romantic streak of his father, played by Richard Roxburgh.
“He just falls in love so easily, completely head over heels with these women. He’s doting and adoring but they are also unhealthy relationships, in love with women double his age,” he explains.
“Fuzz is really the only character who can do anything to Cleaver –where there is unconditional love. So there’s a Rake power struggle between the two of them.
“This series is about Fuzz sometimes being the father to Cleaver. Sometimes Fuzz teaches him lessons, and then there are these rare moments where Cleaver gets to be a dad.
“I really love those moments, and the surrounding ones where the tension is interesting.”
For Joyce the new season was a surprise after concluding Rake at 3 seasons.
“I was certain it wasn’t going to go again, and I think we were all really happy with Series 3 and the way it ended. Then I got a call from (writer) Peter Duncan in September 2014 and he said ‘Hey! I think we’re going to do another Rake. Do you want to do it?’” he continues.
“I was nervous because I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as the first three seasons.
“But more than any other show, when you see the scripts you know how good it’s going to be.”
Returning with Roxburgh and Joyce are Russell Dykstra, Danielle Cormack, Matt Day, Adrienne Pickering, Caroline Brazier, Kate Box and Damien Garvey. Joyce teases that the romance will test the father-son relationship.
“There’s an older woman complex and I was really wondering where they could take it. But it’s gone somewhere completely unexpected, much more interesting, and definitely much more difficult for Cleaver,” he says.
“Cleaver can’t win with Fuzz’s relationships. It just annoys the hell out of him.”
“But the relationships are what makes it interesting, otherwise it’s just another legal show. They do such a good job of intertwining all of the characters. I feel like everyone has more to do with each other than usual, this season.”
“I was such a bad kid actor”
Joyce, who is also familiar to viewers as Please Like Me’s Arnold, made his first foray into the entertainment world as a child actor in the musical Oliver! alongside John Waters. It was his love of music that led to singing and auditions at the age of 12.
“I was such a bad kid actor. I had no idea what was going on. It was just the right place at the right time,” he admits.
“I was so little. I had no idea what was going on. There were moments of the show that would just pass and I would wake up in the middle of it.
“After it finished I realised I wanted to keep doing it. I had no training, I hadn’t done anything else. I begged my parents to get an agent but they said ‘No.’ It took another 3 years of begging before they gave in.”
His first TV role was on the Doctor Who spin-off, the Australian filmed K-9. When Rake came along 6 years ago he was studying a Musicology degree at Sydney Conservatorium, which he has since completed. Television shifted his focus.
“After that I decided I loved TV much more than theatre. It was so taboo to say but I didn’t care,” he continues.
“Every day you do different scenes, but it’s also about growth. The characters grow over time, you encounter different things and you get to make more interesting choices.
“In theatre you get to do things in different ways, but one of them is right way. In television you get a tiny moment to capture and then you have to forget about it.
“It was weird at first because you have to wait until it comes out to see if you’ve done a good job. That’s really difficult. It’s opening night every single week and there is constant improvement needed.
“But I like that it’s less tangible, in some ways. You do it a couple of times then you have to let that part go.”
“They are polar opposites in Fuzz and Arnold.”
ABC shows have proven good for Keegan’s career. Playing both gay and straight roles, in comedy and drama, is the best of both worlds.
“It’s been great for me in so many ways because they are polar opposites in Fuzz and Arnold.
“Josh (Thomas) is so young to be writing, producing and even directing. It’s been remarkable to be around to watch that happen. Aunty has been really good to me.
“(US cable network) Pivot have been so remarkable in getting Please Like Me out there in America, for such a small network.”
Joyce hasn’t ruled out pursuing US opportunities, in order to remain gainfully employed, but he is also keen to involve himself in projects that cross-over his interests of music, television and theatre.
“At the moment I just want to keep making good television. That’s a challenge because while there is a lot going around there are a lot of actors around,” he concedes.
“So I’m in a fortunate position having been in 2 really good Australian shows.”
Rake returns 8:30pm Thursday on ABC.