He may have starred in The Heartbreak Kid in 1993 but fast forward to 2021 and Alex Dimitriades finds himself playing -wait for it- a grandfather in Nine’s Amazing Grace.
And the man himself says it’s entirely plausible.
“This is the first time I’ll be playing a grandparent, which is just weird,” he tells TV Tonight. “I mean, it’s not impossible. I could have had three grandchildren by now.
“I’m 47. Sophia’s 17. It’s really not impossible at all even though it seems a little far fetched for my own life. When you sit down and do the math, well, actually …it’s totally feasible.”
Dimitriades plays Kirk, adopted father of Sophia (Alexandra Jensen) who turns to St Brigid’s Birthing Centre in the final stages of her pregnancy. But Sophia has also been working with a personal agenda, having tracked down her birth mother Grace (Kate Jenkinson) who works at the centre.
“She finds her birth mother who delivers her baby, unbeknown to her adopted father, who didn’t realise that it was (due) so soon, because she kept him out of the loop.
“It raises this question…. of who’s more important”
“All of a sudden you’ve got the adopted father and the birth mother in a circle. It raises this question, which almost becomes a battle, of who’s more important,” he explains.
“Dealing with all these these topics surrounding adoption, it really makes you pay attention. It produces great drama, you know, the scenes are really great. I’m enjoying these words a lot.
“The girls take the main weight of the series. I’m a bit more of a support and they’re just smashing it. So it’s great to witness them doing their thing.”
The series also features Sigrid Thornton, Ben O’Toole, Catherine Van-Davies, Ben Mingay and Kat Hoyos but most of Dimitriades’ scenes are with Jenkinson & Jensen.
While he is yet to start his own family to bring personal experience to the role of Kirk, Dimitriades acknowledges growing up close to somebody adopted many years ago.
“The pressure is on”
“Kirk’s a person who’s got his life cut out, and all of a sudden, is dealing with all this other stuff. So the pressure is on. Especially when she decides to adopt the child out, he’s really fearful that it could be the biggest mistake that she’s ever made in her life. She’s way too young to handle that sort of decision. So a battle ensues as to who is the right person is to actually raise the child. Ultimately it’s her decision.”
His favourite scene in the series sees Sophia (Jensen) take a stand in between her two parents.
“Sophia puts both Kirk & Grace in their place as the rightful mother of the child, and it’s really powerful stuff. It’s great to see such a new young talent like Alex Jensen nailing these scenes and really carrying them with a lot of weight.
“We’d only just met on the show and she’s doing really well. Making me proud as a father!” he laughs.
Filming in late 2020, the Playmaker drama may have been challenged by COVID restrictions, but it brought a long quiet patch to an end. Despite his decades of experience, Dimitriades concedes to feeling “a bit rusty” when the cameras rolled.
“We’re all very grateful for what we have, not what we want”
“In 2020 I was definitely feeling some some short term memory loss because I wasn’t using my brain enough. I felt there was a different type of soul searching going on, and there was a lot more time spent looking within. A lot of people are saying we’re all very grateful for what we have, not what we want. It makes you turn inwards and think about things differently,” he reflects.
“To be back on set doing what we love is great. The industry’s cranking again, we’re building our economy back up, and we’re all grateful.”
Amazing Grace airs 9pm Wednesdays on Nine.