Last Man Standing: articles


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Travis McMahon has been having trouble sleeping, but he hasn’t been tossing and turning over the premiere of his latest TV series, Last Man Standing.

The former Good Guys Bad Guys star is directing a production of Kid Stakes at his old high school in Albury and has just gone through his first casting process.

“I’m lying awake at night going ‘argh—who do I put in the lead role?’,” he laughs. “It’s something different for (the students) to have someone come in who’s working in the industry.

“But they might get a bit of a shock once we hook into the rehearsals. I’ll want a fairly solid amount of work from them. I’m going to have to remind myself that they’re doing six or seven other subjects at the same time and not just rehearsing every day like I would be.”

And hopefully the actor won’t have to disappoint any young McMahons in the making.

The 33-year-old laughs now at the memory of the first time he was rejected for a role.

“It was back in primary school and I wasn’t very well-behaved back then,” he says.

“They gave the role to this other guy who I thought—without being arrogant—wasn’t an actor.”

McMahon, who was in third grade at the time, gave the teacher a piece of his mind.

“I went to the teacher and said, ‘I know what you’ve done. Just because I’m badly behaved, you haven’t given me the role.

“And that’s not how it should be. Look at some of the people that are acting around the world—they’re not very well-behaved’,” he laughs.

McMahon says he’s been asked a few times over the years to return to his teenage stomping ground and direct a play but it was only now that the timing was right.

The NIDA graduate has in recent years been busy with theatre productions for the likes of the Sydney Theatre Company and Company B.

Prior to that, he had his first big break playing Tourette’s syndrome sufferer Reuben Zeus in Good Guys Bad Guys in 1998, a role that won him critical acclaim.

“The response was fantastic,” he says. “People just loved that role and I guess it was a big risk too for commercial television to put someone up there with that sort of affliction. People still want to talk about it—or maybe they’ll want to talk about this new guy soon.”

The “new guy” is loveable loser Bruno Palmer, who McMahon plays in Last Man Standing opposite Rodger Corser as Adam Logan, Matt Passmore as Cameron Kennedy and New Zealander Miriama Smith as Zoe Hesketh.

Of the three blokes, Bruno is the least lucky in love but also the most comedic.

“He has foot-in-mouth (disease) and doesn’t think too deeply sometimes, but he does have a very caring side to him in regard to his mates,” McMahon says.

“This is a very honest show. People will get an insight into how guys deal with relationships and hopefully get a laugh along the way.

“We don’t fall into the trap of being too introspective and mournful when stuff goes wrong either.

“These guys, they open up in a male way, you know? They have a quick chat about it, go ‘righto’ and get another beer.”

It’s a philosophy that even the show’s main female character, Zoe (Smith), embodies.

She’s actually Cameron’s ex-wife (the pair split because of his cheating ways) but that doesn’t mean she isn’t essentially one of the guys.

Zoe is still comfortable in their company but to complicate matters, Cameron isn’t the only one with whom she has obvious chemistry.

McMahon is excited about the debut of Last Man Standing, which will run on Monday nights on Channel 7 after Desperate Housewives, but he’s also thankful he has a far more relaxed outlook on the industry than back when he scored his first TV role on Good Guys Bad Guys.

Back then, the actor had never even seen himself on camera.

“It’s really nice to have worked now for a few years and not take it all so seriously,” he says.

“Now when I see myself on TV I just go, ‘oh no—here I am—whatever’ or I might leave the room or someone will have a crack.

“But back when I got Good Guys, it was quite frightening, just in terms of having to wrap my head around Tourette’s and shoot at that pace.”

The cast has already finished filming Last Man Standing—all 21 episodes were shot in Melbourne and wrapped up four weeks ago.

“We had a blast,” says McMahon. “We got along really well and really enjoyed going out and spending time together. Hopefully that will show in the series.”

Last Man Standing airs on Mondays on Seven at 9.40pm.

By Penelope Cross
June 01, 2005
The Daily Telegraph