All Saints: profiles

Paul Tassone…

Paul's path to becoming an actor was not a straight one. The Perth-born actor initially considered a career as a marine biologist, and then almost joined the army before enrolling to become a teacher.

He began a Diploma in Education which lasted three weeks. After briefly considering a career in law, inspired by Al Pacino's performance in the hit legal film And Justice For All, he finally settled on listening to his heart and pursued acting and now says he couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Paul graduated with a BA in Theatre and Drama from Murdoch University in 1989. After working in a succession of plays, he landed the role of Tony in the play The Lift which ended up touring Italy, taking Paul on his first international acting trip. He then settled in London for a year and studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute before returning home to Perth.

A keen writer, director and actor, Paul has frequently combined his talents to the field of theatre. His long list of theatre credits are sprinkled with combined roles; co-writer and co-director for Death Of A Playwright, and Class Culture: A Play We Wrote; as well as co-writer and actor in Obsessions for the WA Youth Theatre.

His other theatre credits include Macbeth, Siren, The Club, The Sea, The Father, The Marriage Of Figaro and many more. Paul also received the Best Actor Award and Best Film Award at the WA Film and Video Festival in 1995 for a short film he wrote and starred in called Decaffeinated.

Paul made his TV debut in 1993 playing the role of 'Russell', a spy from the drama series, Secrets. Since then his TV credits have included three US telemovies First Daughter, Diamondback, and Airtight; Love Is A Four Letter Word, Water Rats, Bullpit, and a lead role alongside Heath Ledger who played Snowy in the teen drama, Sweat.

…as Nelson Curtis

Nelson, named after Lord Nelson - of whom his father was particularly fond, is from a relatively affluent background. His father is a sought-after management consultant - he's watchful, deeply analytical, and practiced in detaching himself when he deems it necessary.

Nelson is a lot more like his father than he wants to acknowledge, however he doesn't share his father's pragmatism and it's been a source of continuing conflict in their lives. The privileged life his father's hard work afforded him has only inspired Nelson to reach beyond the safe confines of that world to achieve something more than just making money.

To begin with Nelson thought the way forward was through law - make a difference from the inside out. He soon discovered that a star legal career was going to take more than he was willing to give it and for Nelson there's no point in doing something unless you're going to be the best. When he wasn't the top of the class he started looking around for a career where he could distinguish himself quickly. Something hands on, something with gravity - nursing. Then, he set about acing everything he touched.

Competition is the blood in Nelson's veins. He doesn't just want to win, he wants everyone to know it. He's impulsive, driven, and passionate about the plight of the underdog and the forgotten patient. On his good days it's because he genuinely wants to make a difference, on his bad, he wants to be the difference.

Nelson thought taking on a Nursing Practitioner's role in the outback Northern Territory for a few years would fast-track his career. Working autonomously, liasing with doctors over the phone as he treated patients, sometimes in life-and-death procedures, was just the freedom and independence he hungered for. After working in some extremely remote settlements, under appalling conditions, he gained enough experience and enough of a reputation to return to the city, and his master plan.

It has been quite an adjustment since he's come back to the city, having to relinquish the power he had in the bush. But Nelson can overcome any hardship in the pursuit of his goal - he wants to be a pioneer, the first Nursing Practitioner certified in the NSW Metropolitan Hospital System. He is stubbornly determined to climb that ladder for all nurses, even if it kills the ones he works with.

He has set himself high standards and he expects everyone to live up to them. That same stubbornness ruined his marriage, driving his indigenous wife Stacey away. Compromise is not Nelson's strong suit. He hasn't dated since, partly because he's still stinging after their break-up, and partly because, secretly, he still expects her to come back.

Through it all, his charm and sense of humour have saved him. He's not unlikeable, he's just in a hurry to get where he's going. Ambition is his curse, but his intuition is his gift. When the chips are down, he's the sort of nurse you want in your cubicle, and the friend you want on your side.