31st July 1999
He’s fine from Heeler to Pearl Bay’s hottest arrival, Max Connors, but William McInnes can’t see what all the fuss is about…
WILLIAM MclNNES is in good spirits. He has skipped from top rating cop series Blue Heelers, where he played Sgt Nick Schultz, to the ABC’s critically acclaimed SeaChange, as journalist Max Connors. He has scored a role in a major theatre production in Melbourne, plus he’s just returned from a holiday in the Whitsundays.
TV WEEK caught up with William in the small bayside city of Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane, where he grew up.
TV WEEK: Thinking back to when you were a child, was there much similarity between Redcliffe and SeaChange’s Pearl Bay?
WILLIAM: Yes. I can honestly tell you there are quite a few Bob Jellys around here. I didn’t spot the difference at all!
TVW: Is there a young character in SeaChange whom you would compare yourself to as a child?
WILLIAM: To be honest, we came from a family of Bob Jellys.
TVW: So you were a young Bob?
WILLIAM: [deepens his voice] Yerss [laughs].
TVW: Is SeaChange a show you watch as a family?
WILLIAM: Actually, I think I’ve ruined it for Sarah [William’s wife Sarah Watt, an award-winning animated film-maker]. She gave me a bit of a scowl when I got the gig. She says: “You realise that I won’t be able to watch it now because you’re in it?”
TVW: Tell us a little about how the role of Max came about?
WILLIAM: David Wenham left [laughs]. They needed some poor sod to come in and try to follow up on him.
TVW: Did you have much input into the character of Max?
WILLIAM: The character was pretty much there on paper. You did what you could with what you were given, but it’s pretty easy to follow the plotting of the character when they’re written as well as they are.
TVW: You’re Melbourne-based now. But you’re in Redcliffe at the moment…
WILLIAM: After SeaChange wrapped, we went up north to the Whitsundays for a holiday, then came down to stay with my mum for a couple of weeks.
TVW: Do you get asked for autographs when walking down the streets of Redcliffe?
WILLIAM: If they do it’s just a bit of fun. No, they don’t make a big deal out of it – it’s not that sort of place.
TVW: Do you have any regrets about leaving Blue Heelers?
WILLIAM: I was just over it and they were over me and we all left on good terms They’re good people [William with the then cast, above].
TVW: And now you’re on screen with a whole new set of good people. Tell us about the SeaChange cast.
WILLIAM: I’m a lucky bugger because I went from one cast that was pretty good to get on with to another cast that was pretty good to get on with. Sigrid Thornton [left] is terrific – she’s a hard worker and she’s got a great sense of humour.
TVW: Sounds like you enjoyed working on SeaChange. Are they planning to make a third series?
WILLIAM: I can’t give you a definite answer. It’s all been worked around the possibility of a third series. I’m just waiting to see.
TVW: So Max isn’t killed off then?
WILLIAM: Not that I remember, but you never know what could happen! They could cut it and he could be taken by Martians. TVW: What else have you got in the pipeline? WILLIAM: A few things that I’m sure people wouldn’t like me to talk about. The one I can mention is the Melbourne Theatre Company play Pride And Prejudice.
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