Water Rats: articles

aaron pederson

Aaron's a Rat!

He is one of Australia's hottest rising stars, but despite critical acclaim and a string of leading roles, Aaron Pedersen still finds himself a victim of racism.

'It doesn't matter if I am on TV or not,' says Aaron who now stars in a new role on the hit show Water Rats. 'It's got nothing to do with the fact that I get served last in shops and taxis don't pick me up.'

Not that Aaron has lost hope. He believes the mere fact he has landed a great role as new cop on the block, Michael Riley [sic], proves not everyone is prejudiced.

And the fact that the storylines don't even make reference to his character's cultural background is also important to 28-year-old Aaron. 'Why should it be mentioned?' he says.

'It's about time in this industry we started casting indigenous actors as actors.

'When indigenous actors go for auditions they are always just cast in indigenous roles and if there isn't one it's like: &quotOh, we don't have an Aboriginal role for you, sorry.&quot

'It's not that I am not proud of being an Aboriginal, it's just that I don't think it should be an issue.'

Raised in Alice Springs and Terrant Creek as one of eight children, Aaron says his motivation to succeed has never been fame, but to inspire other Aborigines. But even he finds it hard to remain positive when he hears of the difficulties other actors around the world face due to their race.

'I read an article about Denzel Washington–he steps into elevators and women grab their handbags.' says Aaron.

&quotThat's because of the stereotype, the pure ignorance within their heads. This man is worth millions and these white people grab their handbags!

'I get all this stuff too and it gets me. Cathy Freeman has voiced it, we've all voiced it. That's the way this nation is–it is very ignorant, it hasn't grown up yet and it is very sad.'

While he may sound like an angry young man, Aaron claims he is merely telling it like it is.

'I'm not angry–I have been through that phase,' he says.

'I'm now at a point where I want to see change, I want to see growth. I want to see hearts and people bonding together as a human race rather than as individuals.'

Aaron believes his role as workaholic Detective Michael Riley [sic] on Water Rats is a step in the right direction. 'It's a big move for a commercial network to cast an indigenous actor in a mainstream role. It's a very positive one.'

Aaron's debut on Water Rats screens on the Nine network Tuesday, April 6.

Pamela Lesmond
New Idea