“Nobody really wanted me to be in the show”
Three seasons after TV execs didn't want him in Mr. Inbetween, Scott Ryan has best actor AACTAs & Logies.
When Scott Ryan began shooting season one of Mr. Inbetween it was the first time he had stepped onto a set.
Ryan, who created the series from his own film The Magician, had been working odd jobs driving taxis and delivering pizzas.
Three seasons later, his drama around hitman Ray Shoesmith has rave reviews from the USA and he has won Best Actor awards from the AACTAs and Logies.
But he very nearly wasn’t cast in the title role.
“Nobody really wanted me to be in the show in the first place. So it’s kind of hilarious now that we’ve got the show finally made that I’m getting all these awards,” he tells TV Tonight.
“We kind of shopped it around here, there and everywhere and we had different people interested in making it but not with me starring, basically. We kept shopping it around and eventually we got lucky, I guess.”
He credits FX Australia, the first to finance the series, and director Nash Edgerton (Gringo, Boy Erased, Judy & Punch) for making his dream come true.
“Nash definitely stuck to his guns. I remember saying to him at one point, ‘Look mate, if you can’t make it with me, just make it without me.’ He said, ‘No, no. I want you to do it.’ So Nash is responsible for that as well.”
Season three is the last for the series with returning cast members Damon Herriman, Justin Rosniak, Matt Nable, joined by Jeremy Sims and Emily Barclay.
This season Ray must juggle parental responsibilities, complicated relationships, and an ageing parent, all while carrying on with lowlife criminal jobs for hire.
“Ray’s work life takes its toll on him this season. He’s having some some personal issues this season as well. But it’s mainly what he’s doing for a living, that really starts to weigh on him a bit more than previous seasons.
“Morally, it gets a bit grubbier and murkier this season.”
His viciously-smart pre-teen daughter Brittany (Chika Yasumura) is also getting to wise to her father’s double life.
“It’s a problem for Ray, so it causes some issues between the two of them. She’s wants to do her own thing. It’s hard… his little girl is growing up,” says Ryan.
“He’s dealing with that, he’s dealing with the work stuff and a few other things I can’t talk about.”
But also it wouldn’t be Mr. Inbetween without the brutally confronting violence endemic of the underworld he inhabits. Episode 1 with guest Ian Roberts includes a shootout in the Australian bush. As the bullets fly, so too do the cries of native birdlife.
“We had to get the armourer to come down with a with a rifle and start blasting away in the air to scare the birds off,” he recalls. “There was one in particular up in a tree right near where we were, making all kinds of racket. I think it might have been a white cockatoo.
“We were doing take after take, having to stop so we basically had to get the armourer down to shoo it away.”
Ryan, who admits to researching via “some people who are a little bit dodgy, I suppose” has plans for further projects in film and television. But will audiences struggle to accept him in new screen roles?
“When you see me in this, you don’t know me from anything else. So it makes it easier, I think, for the audience to believe that I am that character. There’s no past history. So the next thing I do I’m not going to have that. It might be difficult for people to see me in something else,” he admits.
“I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
At least he’s unlikely to encounter more executives rejecting him for a lead role.
“Next time they don’t want me to do something, maybe I’ll take a couple of these AACTA Awards and Logies to the pitch, and say, ‘I’ve won a few of these.'”
Two episodes 12 Noon Wednesday, May 26 on FOX Showcase (repeat 8:30pm) then one episode weekly.