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Interviews > Andy Anderson

In 2000, Joe Scully was forced to house his brother Mick, who was suffering from a prolonged period of unemployment and a crisis in confidence. Prolific guest-actor Andy Anderson discusses life as a member of the extended Scully clan...

Could you give us a run-down of your career before guest-starring in Neighbours?
I started out as a drummer in dance bands and ended up as one of the Missing Links. Then into Hair - I started out on burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. I got my first television acting gig playing an acid casualty in a Kiwi soap, Radio Waves. It was seen by John Barningham, the producer of The Sullivans, who wanted me to audition for the role of Jim Sullivan which I scored, and things have progressed - and regressed - over the years since then...

Given your resemblance to Shane Connor, was the role of Mick Scully written with you in mind?
You'd have to ask them that. I had an inkling that that may have had a hand in it. I'd like to think it was just that the brighter, better-looking brother comes to town to discover that charm, looks and brilliance don't make up for being Joe Average and keeping the family together! Is that what you're getting at?

Was it easy to fit in with the established group of actors playing the Scully family?
Easy as pie. Very welcoming people. I've been on both sides of the stepping-into-an-established-cast coin, and it can be daunting if the regulars don't make a space for you. But they were terrific.

Did you feel that Neighbours handled the issue of unemployment well with the character of Mick?
Incredibly well. Most actors know well how it feels to be a peacock one day and a feather duster the next. The danger of hanging your self-worth on what you do rather than what you are. Mick felt incredible depression and low self-esteem which I have seen in others and experienced myself when the gig goes out the window. I actually played a similar character in a series called Heartbreak High. He lost his job through drinking and couldn't take the humliation so kept up a charade to his son that he was going to work everyday. It added to an already blooming booze problem... Unemployment can be lethal.

What was it like working with Shane Connor again since Fire? And how scary was he in that when he played the pryomaniac 'Giraffe'? He frightened me, anyway...
Fire was a top show, but it was tough to shoot and Shane and I went through a trial by Fire, which forged a pretty good bond - forgive the metaphors! Shane's a focused and dedicated actor. I agree with you, he nailed the scary side of Giraffe but he also portrayed the compassionate side. You went on the journey with him. I'm not a formally trained actor, so I need to be sure of having solid and genuine motivations for the roles I'm playing. Shane's probably even more intense in preparation than I am - he's probably more intense in general! We bounce off each other pretty well.

Have you ever been invited back for any of the Scully family events? How would you feel about it if you were approached?
No, they haven't called and neither has he. Mick loves the Scullywags and would be there if they needed something - or he did! - but right now he's busy with his rock band, Silverhair... Mick never did get his day gig back, so he's not making much money but he's got high hopes and he's happy!

Are you still in touch with anybody you worked with on Neighbours?
No. I've been a few thousand K away in Queensland, although when I won the AFI Award for Halifax, Shane called my agent and said that it was just another case of mistaken identity and the award was really his!

If Mick were to return, what situations could you see him in nowadays?

Could you tell us a little about your career since your work on Neighbours?
In between writing and recording an album. I've played Kevin - another acid casualty - in Alex Proyas' film Garage Days, a Texan grid-iron coach in The Junction Boys, with Tom Berenger and did one scene on the film Black and White with Robert Carlyle - another very well-prepared, brilliant actor. This month I start the film Salem's Lot, where Rob Lowe goes hunting vampires. That's shot in Melbourne so I'll probably catch up with Shane then.

For more information on Andy's career, visit www.andyanderson.com.au

Interview by Steve. Added on 14th June 2003