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Mark is as surprised as anyone that he’s a Home and Away star. “Never did I imagine when I was a kid at home watching Home and Away that one day I’d be one of the actors in the show myself!”

We meet Mark at Channel 7 studios in between shoots on a Friday afternoon. As filming looks like going well into the night he is pleased when we suggest going outside for a chat.

Mark, 19, has a disarmingly pleasant nature – quite unlike the intense young Ric Dalby, his character in Home and Away.

Mark is a country boy and grew up on a 100-acre property about 25km from Orange, in the Central West of New South Wales. With his parents and sister, Mark shared the farm with sheep, cattle and chickens, his two Jack Russell Terriers Jackie and Miff, as well as Sooty, an almost-feral cat. Mark said he was lucky growing up with the open spaces and big sky of the country and looking back, he says he had a great childhood. He rode a motor bike everywhere, and a tractor, or course. (That’s why he looks so darn good in those check shirts he wears!!)

Does he miss the pleasures of country life? “Well, I like going back to Orange – the pace of country life is such an alternative to city life – everyone is not in such a rush.” And is he recognised when walking down the street? “Well, yes, but it’s not too bad,” he laughs.

When Mark first joined Home and Away he was still at school in Orange, but now lives in Sydney in the Northern Beaches area. He shares a house with fellow Home and Away actor Chris Hemsworth. “Chris is a very organised guy and likes the place to be clean and tidy – I’m more of a sloppy house mate – but when Chris says to, I clean up!

“I don’t surf yet, but I’m keen to start – this summer I’ll definitely be up on a board. I’m a keen skateboard rider, so that should help my balance”.

Does Mark find it hard to play Ric, the troubled young man with the fiery temper?

“No, I didn’t find it difficult to act in anger – even though I’m the exact opposite. I don’t get angry very often, and when I do, I’m inclined not to say what I feel, so it’s quite a revelation to play someone so volatile.”

“The break-up scene with Cassie (Sharni Vinson) was a big scene,” Mark says. “We sat down with the scriptwriter and changed it a little to suit us, did the scene in four takes – and it went very well. I find I prefer playing a dramatic scene – it calls for more powerful acting and you surprise yourself with the emotions you express!” (Home and Away fans will remember how intense the acting was in this scene between Ric and Cassie – very convincing!!)

PROFILE

Born: May 7

Star Sign: “I’m a Taurean – and yes, I can be very stubborn about things I believe in. I’m especially passionate about film and music and have very definite tastes”.

Loves: “I love to relax by watching big action films – yeah, the ones with lots of explosions and car chases. And my musical tastes vary, but I like heavy metal”. Mark plays guitar and writes songs and is involved with two bands, one a heavy metal and the other a punk band. Sport is his other love and he plays soccer as well as skateboards.

Do you like seeing yourself on TV? “Yeah, it’s good to find out where I need to improve but it’s also weird to see expressions and mannerisms I didn’t know I had!”

Wishes for the future? “Well, I would like to progress with my acting and try my luck with film. And who knows, I might even go to LA…”.