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Interviews > Simon Mallory

For several weeks, Simon Mallory was hated across the nation for his role as evil predator Chris Cousens. Here, he chats about his career, his role as Chris and the way he handled the attention that it created...

Could you give us some background on your career before your role in Neighbours?
My career has been quite a mixed bag. I have performed street theatre, musical theatre, toured all over QLD and NSW with a childrenís pantomime. I have been in Japan performing stunt work in a live stunt show. Since being in Melbourne I have had brief appearances in The Secret Life Of Us, Stingers and numerous short films.

How did the role of Chris Cousens come about? How would you describe the character?
My understanding is that Chris was brought in to basically give Serena a shake up. Which I am sure it did. Chris is a predator. He has found himself in a situation with his profession, were he can take advantage of girls in a vulnerable state. He is really not that nice of a guy. Although he is very good at his job, he found some opportunities to make some more money on the side, which he couldnít resist.

Were you aware of the controversy surrounding the part before you agreed to it? Did you face any problems with the public because of the role?
No I wasnít fully aware of the controversy. I knew that he was going to be dodgy and that he was going to take photos and put them on the internet. Also he was going to break her heart. So I thought it would be a challenging role to do and at first he was a really nice guy, soÖ. When you play a character like Chris you expect to cop a certin amount of flack. But I was surprised by the amount of people, who where keen to have a chat, and find out what Chris was going to get up to next.

Do you think that Neighbours tackled the subject well?
I believe they did. They didnít take sides. They presented a situation that happens a lot in todayís society which I believe girls need to be aware of. So rather than hiding from the issues, they threw a big spotlight on it and then it was up to the audience to decide how they felt about it.

Which members of the cast did you particularly enjoy working with? Was it difficult to join such an established group of actors?
Of course I have to say that Lara was the best. I only got to really work Lara, Kyal, and Stephanie McIntosh. I must say that all three really impressed me with their attitude towards their work. They were fantastic. I was worried how the rest of the cast would be towards me being a guest character, if there was any hierarchy or anything like that. I couldnít have been further from the truth. They were all very welcoming. It is like one big family in there, and everyone made me feel really comfortable. It was great.

Are you still in touch with any of your former Neighbours castmates?
I have bumped into a few of them since finishing the show, and it was great as the workload for all those actors is quite high. They are constantly in rehearsal, or on set, or learning lines for future scenes. You find it hard to keep regular contact with your own friends.

Could you ever envisage a return to Ramsay Street for Chris?
Yeah you always need a bad guy. He could reek havoc throughout Ramsay Street and force Stu to take action. Or Chris could have a change of heart and try to make amends for his wrong doings. Who knows.

Have you ever been a fan of the show yourself? What do you personally think is behind its success for the past 20 years?
I have grown up with Neighbours, I donít actively seek it out, but I always end up watching it at some time or another. I really believe the success comes out of a winning formula. We have known these people all our lives, they are like our families and so you will always tune in to see what is happening. They are also like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows exactly what he or she has to do, and they do it. Everyone works very hard at getting it right. Cast and especially the crew. It is great to be a part of.

Where has your career taken you since your stint on Neighbours?
I have found myself back at the theatre. I was involved in a two-hander at La Mama Theatre earlier this year. I have also been touring around regional Victoria with a childrenís theatre group. As an actor I find Iím constantly moving from job to job, undertaking different roles. It makes life very interesting.

Interview by Steve. Added on 4th December 2004