Actor Callan Mulvey likes playing the hero. Best known as Heartbreak High's resident troublemaker, he talks to Michael Idato about high school and heartbreak.
Callan Mulvey thought Heartbreak High was a closed chapter. The boy who became a household name playing a high school baddie had taken his eyebrow-ring out, and walked away. But in television, the end is rarely the end. Like all good television stories, there are sequels and spin-offs galore. And no sooner had he closed the door on Drazic, the playground pin-up with a heart of stone, came news that Heartbreak High was expanding its franchise into cable TV. The series, set in fictional high school Hartley High, will now be seen on the cable channel FOX8, as well as on ABC-TV, it's home since leaving its launch channel, Ten. "As much as you might say you're over it, you have to be grateful that it's getting a good run. That people out there are still into it", explains Mulvey. Drazic, or Draz, is Hartley's self-appointed bad guy, explains the program's production notes. He has as eyebrow ring, rollerblades and heaps of attitude. He is the quintessential boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a tough family who have not given him much encouragement. "I thought he was cool, but I wasn't so keen on the tough guy thing", says Mulvey. "I did that, and they let it branch away into other areas so by the end of I had got to play him on every level." Playing the classic anti-hero was not exactly what Mulvey had in mind - and actor and character could not be more profoundly different. Mulvey, unlike his character, is gently-spoken, measured and thoughtful. But he agrees the path to redemption for your conventional TV bad-guy is one fraught with cliché. "I guess in one way it's true that bad guys have to come good, but that's what you expect," he says. Mulvey was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and moved to Australia when he was eight. Having lived most of his life on the northern beaches, his first passion was rollerblading. But for him a passion, which strangely enough resurfaced in Heartbreak High, was not so deep a passion. Despite the fuss made by the series in its infancy about the character and the actor sharing the skill, Mulvey says the passion was well and truly gone for him. Based on the hit movie Heartbreak Kid starring Alex Dimitriades, Heartbreak High is a gritty drama revolving around the lives of the students of an inner-city multicultural high school. While the ABC continues to screen the series, the cable channel FOX8 is picking it up from the point at which Mulvey joins the cast. Since parting ways with Heartbreak High, Mulvey has been on the audition trail - a process he admits is difficult, and at times destabilising. "It's kind of hard because Heartbreak is such a supportive place," he says. "You have too many people to lean on. Every actor and director who came through was amazed at how open and how supportive it was. I had three years of that, being my introduction to the industry."