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EXCLUSIVE: Why Rodger Corser’s latest project took him “out of his comfort zone”

He could have tricked us!
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It’s no secret that Rodger Corser is a great actor. Over the years, we’ve seen the heart-throb in all sorts of roles: hard-hitting detectives, high-flying heart surgeons, sneaky camp directors and even a cave-diving anaesthetist.

While Rodger manages to slip seamlessly into his characters, he admits his next venture, as the charismatic host of 10’s new reality series The Traitors, is well and truly taking him out of his comfort zone.

“I’d had other hosting offers that just weren’t right, but then this came along,” Rodger, 49, tells TV WEEK. “It had a theatrical element to it, this Cluedo murder mystery mixed with a whodunnit.”

He has been nominated for three TV WEEK Gold Logie Award’s.

(Image: Ten)

While he was hesitant at first, the intriguing premise was enough for him to watch three episodes of the original Dutch series. He was hooked.

The Traitors sees 24 people from all walks of life come together to stay at a grand old hotel. Known as “Faithfuls”, their goal is to complete challenges to win silver bars, contributing to a prize pool of $250,000.

But along the way, there are some among them, called “Traitors”, trying to sabotage them at every turn. With one person eliminated each night, the Faithfuls must discover and eliminate the Traitors to either take the entire prize or share it with the remaining contestants. But if a Traitor makes it to the end, they win the lot.

As the host, Rodger wears many hats. Or, to be exact, 22 different costume changes. But although he’s technically appearing as himself, he admits he approached the hosting role just as he would any other.

The Traitors is an original Dutch series.

(Image: Ten)

“I’m not super-comfortable with having me, as my real self, out there that much,” he says. “To do a reality show, I felt I’d have to play a character.”

Thankfully, in the campy world of The Traitors, it was easy for the three-time TV WEEK Gold Logie Award nominee, along with writer Matt Watkins, to come up with a concept.

“We thought, why don’t we make this guy a bit of a character, instead of just ‘Hi, I’m Rodger Corser, an actor who’s now presenting,'” he says. “Without saying it, it’s implied that it’s my hotel, and I’m the games master. It’s like an escape room on steroids.”

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In a show where lying is a feature, Rodger admits he’s no good at it.

“I’m a horrible liar,” he says with a laugh. “My wife Renae [Berry] can see through everything.”

But thankfully, he says his intuition usually isn’t wrong.

“I think most people have a tell [when they’re lying],” he says. “To look someone in the eye and tell them a bald-faced lie, and hold it consistently, is a difficult thing. It goes against what we’re taught. That’s your integrity, your truth. It goes totally against our instincts.”

“I’m a horrible liar.”

(Image: Alana Landsberry)

As he approaches his 50th birthday in February, Rodger has gained a lot of perspective about where he is in life with his career and family. Rodger and Renae are parents to Budd, 12, Cilla, 10, and seven-year-old Dustin.

“It’s funny, I struggled with turning 40, but now I look back and go, ‘Well, I was still young at 40.’ Everything is relative,” he reflects.

“Renae and I are in a great time of our lives. It’s crazy hectic because our younger kids are in primary school and our oldest is 20, but it’s been great. Life is full of stuff, there are so many weekend activities from sport to dance and training. We’re right in the thick of that.”

He loves being a dad!

(Image: Getty)

Most recently, we saw Rodger’s eldest, Zipporah, his daughter with singer Christine Anu, at the TV WEEK Logie Awards handing the trophies to the winners on stage. As a three-time Gold Logie Award nominee for his role as Dr Hugh Knight in Doctor Doctor, Rodger was undoubtedly proud to see her on stage. And perhaps it’s a sign of things to come…

“She did a great job…except she did stuff up the first award,” Rodger jokes, in a way only a proud dad can. “I think it was Hamish [Blake] receiving the first award and there was no Logie. I just turned to Hamish on my table and said, ‘She had one job.'”

“She says she was given the wrong cue, so she’s already learning how to blame other people,” he adds with a laugh. “I’m proud of her. It’s something I taught her: it’s never your fault.”

After a busy few months filming The Traitors, and Netflix’s Thai Cave Rescue, his next project is season four of comedy drama Five Bedrooms. But after that? He’s looking for the next role that’ll grab his attention, with a particular focus on local productions.

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“The industry is in a weird spot,” he says. “More stuff is going to streaming platforms and it’s still to be determined how much content Australian streaming will produce.”

Roger says the quota system that guaranteed film and television employees a certain amount of work each year has fallen by the wayside since COVID.

“If there isn’t the work supplying the trade, the industry will die, so we need some guarantees,” he says.

Thankfully, streaming television offers some strong positives.

“In the past, they’d find a great Australian show and do a remake for international audiences,” he says.

“Now, because streamers just want content, they’re throwing in Australian shows. They initially thought American and British audiences couldn’t handle the Aussie accent or the idiosyncrasies of our culture. But funnily enough, we can capitalise on our culture to our benefit.”

The Traitors, Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday, 7.30pm, 10

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