Neighbours star Stefan Dennis finally gets that its best to be cast as a villain than not to be cast at all.
He said it took him more than a decade to come to accept that being typecast was not such a bad thing and there’s money to be made not matter what role you play.
Dennis (pictured with former cast-mate Margot Robbie) said he fought for so long to avoid bad ass characters but it seemed that’s what everyone thought suited him best, except him.
It’s why he left his role as the villainous Paul Robinson on the Network Ten series in 1992.
Twelve years later a much more mature Dennis had come to grips with how producers, directors and casting agents viewed his acting strength so he returned to Ramsay St as bad boy Robinson.
“I am now come under the heading of being typecast which I fought for a long time,” Dennis told AAP on the set of Neighbours in Melbourne.
“I was really worried about being typecast and now, more often than not, I get cast as the villain and I love it.
“It’s my niche and people want me to play, so I must do ok so I run with it.”
In all Dennis has appeared on 17 of the 30 years Neighbours has been on air.
It’s provided a regular income and stability in a profession where every performance could possibly be your last.
But his commitment to Neighbours leaves little time for him to moonlight on other projects.
He still heads to the UK each Christmas to appear in pantomimes which he said is a great mental release from the stress of shooting six episodes per week on Neighbours.
If not for acting, Dennis may have made it as a singer.
Following in the footsteps of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, Dennis released two singles in the late 80s which had moderate success. The second single never got the air play it deserved says Dennis because of a dispute between the record company and the distributor.
“I treated singing as a bit fun and a sideshow to what I was doing and it was a great way to get laid,” Dennis said. “I didn’t treat it as a business as the music industry is. If I did I would probably still be doing ok with it.”
And despite his job security with the soapie, he is envious of actors who move freely from one production to the next playing deep and complex characters.
“The actor in me, envy’s other actors,” Dennis said.
“I see an actor in a movie and think I would love to do that.
“I am very fortunate in that I am never bored and I am satisfied every week on Neighbours, but as actor who is craving to portray a different character, that’s always on my mind.”
Known throughout the Australia and UK, primarily for appearing on Neighbours, Dennis said there is still at least one bucket list acting item to tick off.
“I am always chasing the elusive film which has always been my first love,” Dennis said.
“My cliched saying is I would love to play an 80 year-old crippled woman in a wheel chair because then I can prove to the world I am an actor.”
*Neighbours celebrates its 30th anniversary, from March 16 on Network Ten.