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The Age

An actor going through a stage

Author: Paul Kalina
Date: 09/10/2008
Words: 778
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Green Guide
Page: 16
The Strip's, Bob Morley is looking for a make-or-break role. By Paul Kalina.

AT 24, Bob Morley has experienced the highs and lows of the acting profession - though "non-profession" may be a better description of how he sees the racket right now.

Raised in rural Victoria, he came to Melbourne to study engineering, but quit after one year to pursue a career in acting.

He was plucked from relative obscurity for a career-launching opportunity that most actors would die for, playing bad-boy heart-throb Drew Curtis on Home and Away.

But three years later, despite two years on the popular teen soap and a major part on the new prime-time crime drama The Strip, he's despondently weighing up his achievements against those of his high-flying siblings and schoolmates with regular full-time jobs.

"I'm a gypsy at the moment. It sucks. Once again I'm living out of my car and sleeping on friends' floors, floating around; it's so not cool," he says with unexpected frankness. "After all this time all my friends have finished their degrees and are working in their professions.

"They're all nine-to-five now and I'm still kicking around doing nothing during the day."

"It's a fickle job," he says of acting. "When I left home I didn't care so much, I was lucky to get a job. But now, having two other shows, I feel I have a little bit of a career there, I have something to lose."

Morley quit Home and Away at the end of last year. In February, he auditioned for the role of Constable Tony Moretti on The Strip.

He was surprised to land the

role, as it was written for an actor in his 30s.

He describes Moretti, the squad's untested and still-wet-behind-the-ears wildcard, as "a funny little character, this strange little thing".

Moretti is young, ambitious but inexperienced, which he masks by pretending to be a slacker and underachiever.

"It's kind of like he goes down the wrong path, which people expect him to do. But when he comes up trumps and knows it, he's over the moon. 'See what I did? Pat me on the back.' He's that kind of guy.

"He's always striving for recognition. He's like a little puppy jumping around humping your leg."

Moretti is also the youngest character in the show. "Because I'm the youngest in my family, it's like stepping back into that world where I'm the little brother mucking around, making mistakes, and everyone kind of forgives me for that," says Morley.

Morley got his exotic looks from his Filipino mother and Australian-Irish father, who passed away when he was very young. He knows Bob snr only from photos and the memories of old-timers in Kyneton who knew him.

He calls his stepfather, who has been in the family since Morley was two, his dad.

He describes his mother as an "amazing person" who emigrated from the Philippines shortly after her fiance, an army man, was executed.

"She came here with diddly-squat, worked on a farm with shearers, started a business in Melbourne, raised us and now she's brought over two cousins from the Philippines so they can get an education here.

"I went and saw them the other day. Mum's so happy."

Morley grew up in Kyneton on a 16-hectare farm. After completing year 12, he moved to Melbourne and started an engineering degree. After one year he realised it wasn't making him happy, so he enrolled in creative arts at La Trobe University. He hopes to complete his degree one day.

As well as The Strip, Morley also had a role this year on Nine's telemovie Scorched, but he fears a dry cycle is coming up.

"I think I'm still trying to find a role that's going to make or break me. I'm learning, that's the main thing, and hopefully I'm getting better.

"Acting is about taking life's experiences and portraying them again, so it's something you never stop learning."

Celebrity is an aspect of the business he dislikes. "I don't know anyone who enjoys the celebrity game," he says.

For Morley, the Home and Away fan circuit was "a baptism by fire", not made easier by his dating cast member Jessica Tovey.

"It made me introverted and there was a period of time there where I stopped going to things. Even talking about it now makes me feel claustrophobic.

"When you go to a shopping centre to do a signing and you see all those people, it's bizarre. I remember (Home and Away actress) Ada (Nicodemou) saying to me, 'Just you wait, six months from now it's going to be crazy."'

The Strip airs Thursdays at 8.30pm on Nine.

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