7th May 1994
THERE’S a cloud of smoke hanging over Scott Major’s head – a moody cloud he puts there while drawing deep on a cigarette and gathering his thoughts.
Unlike the racist bully Peter Rivers he so convincingly portrays in Network Ten’s Heartbreak High, Scott thinks before he speaks.
“We’ve both got smart mouths, though,” he says. “Get me on a roll and it’s hard to stop talking.”
It seems only natural that 18- year-old Scott, son of Melbourne radio football commentator Ian Major, would have the gift of the gab.
He backs his words with alarming honesty but, in spite of his openness, he reckons nobody really knows who he is.
“I’m a very closed-up person,” he says. “I don’t let much out, which frustrates a lot of my friends.
“It’s just that once I had a relationship with a girl, one of my first serious loves. I’m not going to give her the pleasure of mentioning her name. She betrayed my trust.
“I told her a lot of things, and all of a sudden everyone knew about them. As a result, I don’t let my emotions out too much. I tell people things, but I just don’t let them know me.
“You won’t find a lot of people who know me as me. My family have lived with me, they see my moods, but I don’t think they know what goes on inside my head a lot of the time.”
Scott says relationships have been difficult.
“I’ve been awful with relationships since then.” he says. “I’ve had many a girlfriend I feel very guilty about.
“I’ve treated them well, I let them in, show them all the love and affection I can, but then I question my feelings and break things off.”
In spite of the difficulties, Scott is in a steady relationship with Melbourne girl Lauren Britt.
“I’ve warned her about me,” he says, laughing.
“Lauren plays a big part in my life. When I first saw her, I said, ‘That is what I classify as the perfect woman’. Call me sexist, but that’s what I said.
“Then we went out and we got on like a house on fire. But then I had to come to Sydney. I speak to her every day – that’s why I carry a mobile phone.”
Scott also values his friendship with Heartbreak High co-star Abi Tucker, who plays the musically gifted Jodie.
“I’m very lucky to have her friendship,” he says. “She is probably the closest friend I have on set. We have very similar interests, we just clicked when we first met and we hang out together all the time.
“But before anyone jumps to any conclusions, there will never be anything between Abi and me. She is too good a mate for anything like that to be considered.”
Apart from Abi and flatmate Jon Pollard (who plays Heartbreak High’s resident skinhead, Bolton), Scott’s friendships are away from acting circles.
“I hang out with musicians,” he says. “I love bands. I’m a very frustrated musician. I’ve played bass guitar for four years, and I was a roadie for a covers band called Hot Fat for 18 months.”
He was also a talented and successful athlete (football, baseball, basketball and running) before being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, or me.
“The condition never goes away, it stays in your system for life. I know when I have to stop, calm down, and take a break. If I don’t I get really sick. Apart from that, I’m generally really healthy.
“You could call me a heavy smoker, but I don’t do drugs. I’ll sleep through a headache rather than take anything.
“I can’t eat chocolate, I can’t have coffee, can’t have red flavourings. I was hyperactive as a child, so those things were ruled out of my diet.”
Scott says the role of Rivers is a wonderful acting challenge.
“I love it, and the feedback I’m getting makes me want to work harder to make the character more in-depth and make the viewers wonder what the hell this guy is going to do next,” he says.
“This character hypes me up. He allows me to use all my bottled-up emotion. I want to spin the audience out with him.” Scott has written a storyline for the show, with co-star Jon Pollard, on a topic he says is very “in”, and the producers have agreed to use it.
“I love writing. One of my ultimate highs is writing a story. I want to write, I want to direct, too, but mainly I want to be a good actor.”
But there is a down side to playing Heartbreak High’s resident bully.
“I don’t want people to think I’m like my character,” he says. “I grew up in a very multi-racial suburb. I spend my days working with Asians, Italians and Greeks. I’m not a racist in any way, shape or form.
“If you can’t get along with people, fine, but don’t be cruel to them. My dad taught me that.
“My dad’s a great guy, but I thought he was the biggest mongrel when I was a young kid because he’d yell at me with that radio voice, and he was so strict.
“Now I appreciate it, and I know where he is coming from. My kids will think I’m the biggest mongrel because I’m going to be exactly like him.
“I’m extremely grateful for my family. I’ve got a mum, a dad, an elder brother, and sister, and it’s the best family life.
“People come into my house and say it is just like The Brady Bunch.
“Well, it’s not that perfect – but I love my family and that is one of the reasons I miss Melbourne.”
Story: Glen Williams
Picture: Stuart Bryce
Original content copyright TV Week.