Packed To The Rafters: articles

Hugh Sheridan is enjoying success in Packed to the Rafters, and trying music too

HUGH Sheridan may be hitting TV heights in Packed to the Rafters, but life has paralleled art for young actor.

Hugh Sheridan has to take some of the credit for the enormous ratings success of Packed to the Rafters.

It could be argued Gold Logie winner Rebecca Gibney and Erik Thomson attract plenty of older viewers to Channel 7's hit drama, but Sheridan grabs the youngsters. They love his easygoing charm and boy-next-door good looks.

It's an appeal that helped Sheridan win the Most Popular New Male Talent award at this year's Logies.

Now he is exploiting that popularity with a blossoming music career. New single Just Can't Throw Us Away has just been released and an album isn't far away.

"This time two years ago I was still at NIDA, completely unknown and completely impoverished. I couldn't afford to eat sometimes," Sheridan says.

"We had no idea Rafters was going to be so popular. By week three everywhere I went, people knew who I was. That was a huge thing to get my head around.

"In a way, we were thrown in the deep end a bit and certainly at first it was difficult to adjust. With success comes a whole lot of hassles, but at the same time there are so many benefits."

Sheridan has gone through a huge change and so has his character, Ben Rafter. In coming weeks, Ben's roller-coaster romance with Melissa (Zoe Ventura) takes another step.

"Ben started off extremely innocent and very naive to how the wider world works, so he has had some pretty confronting moments along the way," Sheridan says.

"His relationship with Melissa has gone up and down and he's made some wrong decisions.

"When he cheated on Mel it was hideous and the first thing he wanted to do was tell her. It seems to me that their relationship is very real."

Sheridan admits there is romance in his life at the moment too.

"I have been seeing a young lady since June. We actually dated when we were at school. It's a nice surprise. I never expected it to happen."

On the Rafters set, Sheridan is the practical joker. He and George Houvardas, who plays Ben's best friend Nick "Carbo" Karandonis, love pulling pranks.

Most famous is the "naked surprise" where the pair, with their privates covered by bowls, would walk unexpectedly into scenes.

"It probably wasn't that much of a surprise by the time we did it because we had been saying we were going to walk on set naked and everyone had dared us to do it," Sheridan says.

"It was in the kitchen. Everyone was in the scene except for us. Rebecca (Gibney) didn't realise we were naked straight away but got a shock when she did."

Sheridan is quick to praise Gibney, whom he says has provided a lot of wisdom and support to all the show's young cast over the past two years. He was thrilled to see her win Gold on Logies night.

"I really felt like my mum had won a Logie," Sheridan says.

"After she won, a few of us went back to Rebecca's room and had some champagne with her and her husband."

Sheridan is also firm friends with his NIDA chum Jessica Marais, who won the Graham Kennedy award for most outstanding new talent at this year's Logies.

As with Marais, Sheridan has his sights set on acting in the US and has a wish list of movie directors he'd like to work with including Martin Scorsese, the Coen brothers and Quentin Tarantino. Starring opposite Cameron Diaz is another dream.

"It's hard to predict where I'll be (in five years) because everything is so new," he says.

"There's no rush — I'm very happy in Australia because people seem to be accepting my work well and I feel very supported here."

By Colin Vickery and Erin McWhirter
September 16, 2009
Herald Sun