“I’d just rather be in the moment”

The Newsreader's Robert Taylor denies basing his news anchor role on any famous faces.

While some have asked if The Newsreader is based on Jana Wendt’s story (it isn’t), who might actor Robert Taylor be drawing inspiration from for his role as veteran presenter, Geoff Walters?

According to the seasoned actor, his role isn’t based on any single individual either.

“I tend not to work that way,” he tells TV Tonight.

“When I was a young actor, I used to do a lot of that kind of stuff. I’ve been doing it for decades, and I’d just rather be in the moment. Learn it, look at it. Think about it a bit, and you forget about it. You just do it. That’s what’s important for me.

“Every actor has their own way of working. I used to be that kind of actor… research and research.

“I’ve worked with with a lot of those actors, on both sides of the spectrum all around the world. You see some interesting stuff and I just think whatever works for you.”

Taylor took to acting at the age of 24 when he auditioned for the WA Academy of Performing Arts, when the drama school was still in its infancy.

“I started in ’84, there were no graduates. There was only the acting course and stage management. Then they started arts admin, music theatre and some kind of news-reading course.”

Early credits included The Flying Doctors, Home & Away, The Feds, before The Matrix, Stingers, MDA and Ballykissangel. But it was his role as Sheriff Walt Longmire for the A&E / Netflix crime drama that brought US success.

Now on ABC’s The Newsreader he plays the 1986 news anchor pressured to update his approach to news, but who steadfastly refuses.

“This guy started working, maybe in the late ’40s and he was around from the beginning of television in the ’50’s. We’re now in the ’80’s and it’s a different time. I guess things might have passed him by a bit. Times have changed and like most people in that position, they’re the last to realise it,” he explains.

“He’s a fun guy to play. I’ve enjoyed it. I never know what’s going to come out of my mouth apart from what’s written on the page. We always make sure that comes out, at some stage.

“He’s very much the ‘old school’. It’s funny now to think of 1986 as the new wave.”

The Newsreader continues 8:30pm Sunday on ABC.

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