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Stephen Peacocke Exclusive: “My next big move!”

The Five Bedrooms star opens up on fame, family and his future plans...

By Tamara Cullen
Stephen Peacocke never anticipated this would happen. He certainly didn't believe it would happen twice. In fact, the Australian actor seems to believe that one day someone will wake him up and tell him it was all a dream.
But from one project to the next, Stephen has continually defied his own belief that he could be a star.
When he debuted in Home And Away as rebellious Darryl Braxton in 2011, his popularity with fans was undeniable. His impact was enough to make Australian audiences sit up and take notice. Now, the world is too.
A few months after wrapping up his popular role on H&A, the TV WEEK Logie Award winner took the well travelled path to Hollywood.
Stephen, 37, had barely set foot on Sunset Boulevard when he was whisked away to film alongside iconic comedy actress and producer, Tina Fey, in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Next was a part in the blockbuster Me Before You, followed by a role in Wanted alongside Rebecca Gibney.
Stephen returns to Australian TV screens in Five Bedrooms.
The Dubbo-born actor has recently returned to Australia to star in the upcoming war epic Danger Close, as well as complete production on the Network 10 drama, Five Bedrooms.
The new series, which follows five strangers who decide to buy a house together after meeting at a wedding, is Stephen's first foray back into Aussie TV drama since Wanted.
Stephen jokingly admits that while his character Ben is the relaxed, fun-loving type, he's the complete opposite at weddings.
"I'm the super-polite guy who can't stand it when people talk during speeches," he says with a laugh.
"I always feel nervous for the bride and groom, because I want it to go smoothly for them! I stress out a bit."
Stephen briefly adds that, thankfully, he was in a far better state of mind on his own wedding day to wife of four years, Bridgette Sneddon.
"Oh, no – we were very lucky," he says. "It was a special day."
Stephen and Bridgette at the TV WEEK Logie Awards.
It was at Bridgette's insistence that Stephen took the role on Five Bedrooms – not that he needed much persuasion.
"Bridge said to me, 'Oh, you have to do it. Everything Kat Stewart does is high quality and everyone loves her,''' he recalls. "And she is. Kat is lovely to work with and so dedicated. It's nice to see good things happen to good people like her."
Adding his own name alongside Kat's to a new production has already caught fans' attention, but the modest star insists he's merely one small part of a bigger machine.
"It's nice to hear that," he humbly replies in between flashes of the camera on set.
"But it's sort of an uncomfortable thought to think you have fans. I've been quite disciplined in not allowing myself to buy into that. You can't go out seeking adoration; my job is to serve the audience, and if they sit forward in their seats wanting more, I've done that."
Stephen and Kat in Five Bedrooms (Image: Network 10).
Gesturing to his luxurious surroundings, Steve quietly adds, "I know it's all part of the job, but I always feel a bit funny with this side of it."
Despite aligning himself with A-listers on the screen, Stephen isn't chasing fame, he's sidestepping it. Away from the camera, his main focus is to provide a good life and "help pay the bills".
"I don't think I've changed too much over the years, I've never gravitated towards fame. I'm sure it's a lot of fun but I'm not that interested in it," he says with a laugh. "I don't have social media either, so I don't see a lot of that side. I try to fly under the radar as much as possible.
"I've learned a lot about the business from people in the industry, including Tina Fey. She's exceptionally talented and capable – and busy! But she found time to be kind to the entire crew every day. And [his Wanted co-star] Rebecca Gibney was a dream to work with."
Stephen also attributes his work ethic to his parents, who instilled good virtues in him from an early age. Some of them still help the country boy to navigate the glitzy city he occasionally calls home.
"Growing up in Dubbo [in country NSW], I always had successful people around me, but they did their work and didn't advertise it," he says. "I was raised to do the same: work hard and be a good person.
"I guess it's an Australian trait, but even more in the country. By necessity, people have to be more like that, and my family have always been attracted to that way of life. People don't tolerate those who are full of themselves. I hope Australia stays that way."
"I don't think I've changed too much over the years!"
Bridgette and Stephen are now settled into life in LA and enjoying every minute. Despite its reputation for being crowded and unsettling, Stephen says they "enjoy the adventure and unpredictability" of being in the lively hub.
"We have a Green Card, so we spend six months here and there," he adds. "Bridgette is auditioning too and we help each other to run lines. We've been able to spend a lot of time together too, which is great. We're just best mates."
Of course, the Aussie twang is never far away, with many H&A alumni living abroad.
"I've caught up with Lincoln Younes [who played Casey Braxton] a few times and he's doing extraordinarily well," Stephen says. "He deserves it too; he's a good kid from a good family.
"It's really awesome to have an Aussie contingent in LA. But I try to surround myself with people from there, because that's all part of the experience. You can't go looking for Dubbo in LA."
Stephen with his H&A brothers Lincoln Younes (left) and Dan Ewing.
While the couple are focused on sharpening their careers for now, they're always looking towards the future – and one day, their path will lead them back home.
"There's nothing like coming home," he says. "We'd love to live in Australia – preferably the country to the city. Bridge and I haven't found the perfect spot yet, but we will.
"At the moment, we're all about learning lines and just being decent."
Decent at his lines or as a person?
"Both!" he replies. "There are some big life lessons in that, aren't there?"
And while the life of an actor is difficult to say the least, Stephen insists, "there is no Plan B".
"It's one of those jobs; it can be hard, but it's all part of the charm," he says with a smile. "Acting is all I'm interested in doing – I've put all my eggs in one basket.
"But, we're just really happy and I don't ever want to take for granted how lucky we are."
"I don't ever want to take for granted how lucky we are."
Five Bedrooms premieres Wednesday, 8.30pm, on Network 10.

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