Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Dean O'Gorman with Rachel Carpani

Dean O’Gorman plays Luke, Jodi’s love interest on the Australian outback drama McLeod’s Daughters

O’Gorman gets break in McLeod’s Daughters

Dean O’Gorman is waiting for the cockroach man to turn up.

The New Zealand actor’s house in Sydney is overrun, but waiting for the exterminator so early in the morning isn’t going down too well.

“There’s lots of cockroaches in Sydney,” he yawns.

He’s been living and working in Australia for the last two years and in his latest role as Luke Morgan in McLeod’s Daughters he’s come face-to-face with an even scarier Aussie critter.

“There was a snake on set the other day,” he says, more excitedly.

The show, about the lives, loves, and perils of the people from the vast outback farm of Drovers Run, is filmed an hour out of Adelaide in the tiny outback town of Freeling.

“It honestly has six or seven houses,” he laughs. “It’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s farmland and it’s got brown snakes. It’s not like the Outback in the sense that it’s all dusty, but there’s more alpacas and horses than there are people.”

McLeod’s Daughters finishes its current season tonight at 8.30pm on TV2. However, O’Gorman is already filming the next series and was set to fly back to Adelaide the day after this interview took place.

He’s reluctant to give any details about his character’s antics on the show for fear of giving away too much of the plot.

“I don’t know how much I can say without getting into trouble. I’m not going to use the term ‘bad boy’ to describe him, because he’s actually not. He’s not a farmer for one thing so he’s a bit of a departure from the regular cast. He gets up to shenanigans on the show.

“I get involved in drag racing, and I’m there as the love interest for Jodi [played by Rachael Carpani]. She’s compelled by Luke’s slightly less well-behaved outlook on life. She basically picks me up.”

Before heading to Australia O’Gorman starred in local feature films Toy Love and Snakeskin, and appeared in TV shows, including Shortland St, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules and Serial Killers.

But Young Hercules is what he’s known for best—the number of fansites dedicated to him because of that show is quite phenomenal. One site even tells us that he can walk on his hands.

He confesses that he can walk on his hands, but laughs: “I don’t know where the hell this information comes from.

“I tend not to look at the websites because I’m scared if I see something bad about me it’ll upset me. I have looked up a few a couple of times, and not that I’m a self-obsessed narcissist or anything, but I’m pretty sure every actor has searched for their own websites.”

While walking on his hands is a definite talent, painting is one of his greatest passions—something he gets from his father, landscape and seascape artist Lance O’Gorman.

“I tend to be quite reclusive at times and painting’s just a way of being reclusive without talking to anybody. It’s a bit of respite from Sydney, which can be quite hectic.”

O’Gorman says, like many New Zealand actors, the move to Australia was an obvious next step for him.

He likens it to how Kiwi bands tour or move to Australia to gain a bigger audience.

“But Australia is more receptive to New Zealand bands than they are to New Zealand actors. Because, I think, in Australia it is a bigger industry, but it’s still a growing industry and I think it can be quite tough initially if you’re from New Zealand because I think there’s a certain protectiveness from the Australians.”

But he says it is possible to get yourself known and uses friend, and fellow New Zealand actor, Joel Tobeck—who is staying with O’Gorman at present—as an example.

“He’s doing really well now. My first eight months in Australia was hard, really hard, because in New Zealand I’d had a really good hit rate and I’d been working fairly consistently since I was 12.

“In Sydney I had to start all over again. But it does take perseverance,” he says carefully.

And it’s paid off. As long as he can keep away from the snakes, O’Gorman’s latest role is a solid job.

McLeod’s Daughters is one of Australia’s most popular TV series and after all, he gets to hang out with the rather fetching Jodi Fountain.

“All of my scenes are with her,” he smiles.

By Scott Kara
October 21, 2004
New Zealand Herald