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Illawarra Mercury

No record deal for this Neighbours star

Date: 16/02/2001
Words: 558
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Applause
Page: 39
NEIGHBOURS heartthrob Dan Paris may have followed former series star Kylie Minogue to the small screen altar but he won't be emulating her real-life music success.

When Paris' character Drew Kirk finally says ``I Do" to long-time love Libby Kennedy (Kym Valentine) on the soap next week, he sings a traditional Scottish song much to his alter ego's dismay.

``I have never sung in my life so this was a new experience and I don't think I'll get a call from any record companies," Paris said, taking a break from the set.

``I've taken my clothes off, I've cried and screamed but I've never done this.

``I thought I'd kind of talked them out of it. But when they said they wanted to go ahead with it, I asked if we could at least play it up that I wasn't any good at singing and not make it serious.

``I thought I'd make them regret asking me to do it but it's been cut together well. They've made it a tearjerker."

Getting to the altar has been a tough road for Drew - who first appeared on screen in March 1998 - and Libby but the wedding will prove no such trial.

With fans calling for the union, producers decided to allow a smooth running affair celebrated in Scottish splendour but have saved a few surprises for the post-wedding period.

But while wedded bliss has sometimes sounded the death knell for characters in soap operas, Paris wasn't too worried about the future.

Contracted to March 2002 and still loving his role on the popular program, Paris credited Neighbours with showing him the ropes in the industry.

``I started with no idea whatsoever and I've learned a lot about confidence and stretching boundaries," he said.

``I'm more aware, less naive and it's given me a bit of a head start financially.

``It's a creative outlet."

That's more than can be said for his original career choice, accounting, which he pursued for 18 months after studies in Perth.

Needing something more expressive in his life, he followed a friend's lead and tried his hand at modelling - a role that eventually led him to acting in most unusual circumstances.

In Los Angeles on a modelling gig, Paris said he bumped into expatriate actor Julian McMahon and, during a chat, discovered he envied his lifestyle.

On his return to Australia, Paris was sent to Melbourne by his agent where he mentioned his interest in acting and quickly scored the Neighbours gig.

While LA still drew him, Paris has no firm plans to head overseas and is discovering a wide array of interests to satisfy him once his time on the soapie does end.

His favourite hobby is landscape photography, which he'd like to pursue more seriously, and he has worked on a selection of documentaries with his sister, a cinematographer for the National Geographic Channel.

The future is definitely bright but Paris is in no hurry to turn his back on the show which has taught him so much - even if they do make him sing.

The wedding of Drew and Libby takes place on Neighbours on Wednesday at 6.30pm. The show screens on Ten Capital.

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