Thomas Weatherall never planned on becoming an actor – now he’s an international star

‘It’s very humbling’
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At the age of 22, Heartbreak High’s Thomas Weatherall has won the TV WEEK Logie For Most Outstanding Supporting Actor. It’s a huge achievement for someone who got into acting almost by accident.

Growing up in Queensland, Tom wanted to be a dancer, and trained for 30-plus hours a week. During his final year of high school, he heard about auditions for an ABC drama, Deadlock, and, interested in the behind-the-scenes process of making TV, decided to try out for what he thought was a small role.

“I didn’t realise I was auditioning for one of the leads.”

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

“I thought the scenes they sent for the self-tape were all my scenes in the show,” Tom tells TV WEEK. “I didn’t realise I was auditioning for one of the leads.”

Tom landed the role.

“As soon as I got a taste of it, it was the greatest thing and I couldn’t really imagine doing anything else,” he says.

For Tom, it was outback medical drama RFDS that put his career on the right track. He was studying drama and working at a shoe store when the chance to audition for the part of Darren Yates came up.

Tom describes himself as “kind of an introvert”.

(Image: Supplied)

“I was taking out the rubbish bins and I saw in the briefing that it was to play Rob Collins’ son and I just went, ‘I’ll do anything for that,'” he remembers.

An “idol” to Tom before they met, Rob turned into a father figure once they started working together.

“He’s just the best kind of actor, man, human there is,” Tom enthuses. “I love him to bits.”

It was Netflix series Heartbreak High that catapulted Tom to international stardom. In the reboot of the 1990s high-school drama, he plays Bundjalung teen Malakai – a confident, bisexual, basketball-playing new student. Tom reveals there was one storyline that convinced him to say yes to the role: the one involving police brutality, written by former Neighbours star Meyne Wyatt.

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“Honestly, that was the scene that made me want to sign on,” he says. “It felt very authentic and Meyne wrote a beautiful episode.”

Tom, who describes himself as “kind of an introvert”, lives in Sydney with his partner, his sister and his dog. When he’s not acting, he’s writing, with his first play, Blue, getting rave reviews.

The sudden fame that came with Heartbreak High’s success thrust him into a “new and exciting, but slightly terrifying”, way of life.

Tom found it a “humbling” experience to be recognised for his acting.

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

“The first couple of days after it came out, and we had just hit top 10 in Australia, suddenly people were taking photos of me,” Tom recalls. “I was like, ‘OK, this is weird.'”

Learning he’d been nominated for a Logie Award left the actor “in a bit of disbelief”.

“It’s very humbling and special to be recognised in that way by people in the industry,” he says. “I feel incredibly lucky to be riding this wave I’ve found myself stuck on, that I really wasn’t expecting.”

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