> Matt Norman
Norman appeared in Neighbours as the bullying football
coach Pat Miller in 2001. From dealing steroids to his team
members to intimidating Karl and Paul, Pat remains one of
the show's most unabashed villains of recent years.
you give us a little background on your career before Neighbours?
I started acting professionally back in 1996 doing small bit
parts mainly. Believe it or not before I got the role of Pat
I had played two other smaller characters on Neighbours.
One was Constable Cummings, a policeman for one episode, and
the other was a security guard. I have worked on most of the
television shows that are filmed in Melbourne, including Blue
Heelers, Stingers and Good Guys Bad Guys.
I've also appeared in a few films, including The Bank,
Moby Dick and Silver Strand.
the last two years I've really concentrated on my film production
company, the Actors' Cafe Pty Ltd. I've written several feature
films and am also a producer and director. This keeps me occupied
when not working as an actor. In 2003 I played serial rapist
Wayne Gawler on Australia's Stingers opposite one of
my favourite actresses, Rebecca Gibney. I'm always staying
very busy with different roles here and there but my main
focus at the moment is to get my film projects up and running.
were your initial impressions of the Neighbours production
It was really weird working on the same set that I'd watched
for so many years. To look Ian Smith (Harold) in the eye when
doing my lines was also a real trip. I used to love him during
the Kylie and Jason days, so to finally be on the actual set
was overwhelming at first. I should say too that I was an extra
on Neighbours many years ago before I started training
as an actor. Things have certainly changed over the years.
is a great environment to work on. If you've never worked
in a multi-cam environment - more than one camera on you simultaneously
- then Neighbours will teach you to keep your eyes
open! Never turn around and pick your nose or anything crazy
like that because more than likely there will be a camera
on you from behind as well. I think that Neighbours
works just as hard if not harder than any other drama purely
because they need to get five episodes a week on air. Drama
and soaps are pretty similar though here in Australia. The
cast and crews are all great to work with and the drive to
tell a story is always one hundred percent.
did it feel to be working alongside an established cast?
One thing about Neighbours regular cast - they're all
very nice people. I remember the first time I walked into
the Coffee Shop and just thought back to the days when I was
a big fan. It was very weird to know that I was actually in
the Coffee Shop speaking to Harold or Madge or Karl... Tom
Oliver (Lou Carpenter) was the first person I met years ago
when I arrived in the green room on set and he was just amazing.
They always make you feel like a part of the gang!
did you enjoy working with on the cast and why?
I spent most of my time with Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy),
Ian Smith, Jansen Spencer (Paul McClain) and sometimes Holly
Valance (Felicity Scully), so to be honest I loved working
with all of these guys. They were always professional, friendly
and caring and really gave me an opportunity to grow as an
playing the part of Pat, how did you want the viewers to react
I was in a pub not so long ago with my wife. A woman came
up to me out of nowhere and said "You're a real jerk
to Paul!" My wife and I had no clue what she was talking
about! Anyway, this woman was a die hard fan and was obviously
talking about my treatment of Paul McClain. My wife actually
thought that I was having an affair or something! I think
Pat was a great villain but feel that there was so much in
his life that he hated that maybe to see a softer side to
him would be great. I'd love to know why he was the way he
did you feel about covering such a controversial subject as
steroid abuse in professional sport?
Loved it! How often do you get the opportunity of playing
a total jerk! I thought it was my perfect avenue to start
being seen as a bad character and not just a fresh sweetheart.
Steroids in sport are just not on, obviously, but for the
drama it was fun being the one responsible in the show for
dealing them out.
you think that Neighbours covered the subject well?
I think there could have been more room to cover the subject
but you've got to think of the audience too. Some people don't
like public messages during their entertainment viewing times.
Neighbours to me is one of those shows that you flick
on during dinner and just escape for half an hour. We all
know who everyone is, so it's great to just relax and watch
what's going to happen to your favourite neighbour.
you ever consider a return to the show? Have you any ideas
for situations Pat might be in today?
I left the show in 2001. I really enjoyed my time at Neighbours
and would certainly take up the role of Pat again. He
was a great character and gave me the opportunity of not
playing a policeman or good guy. I seemed to be always cast
as the hero and not the villain. Pat Miller was a bit of both.
He seemed to be always snapping at Karl and Paul. Jansen Spencer,
Alan Fletcher and I really formed a good bond on set. One
second we were giving each other the death stare and then
when they called 'cut' we were off telling jokes with Ian
Smith - who is one of the coolest guys I've ever met as an
would love to see a more personal side to Pat. Find out more
about his love life, his life story. I think Pat is the sort
of guy that takes his personal life with him to work and that's
why he seems to hate everyone. I'd certainly jump at the opportunity
to play on Ramsay Street again. I had a ball!
more information on Matt's career, visit theactorscafe.com
by Billy and Steve. Added on 8th April 2003