High Sheridan and Alex Williams. Picture: Supplied

Perth-raised actor Alex Williams was given so much access to the original band member he plays in INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, that he even borrowed some of his old clothes.

Just two weeks into filming in Melbourne last year, the young actor who plays INXS saxophonist, guitarist and backing vocalist Kirk Pengilly said he had already met Pengilly several times.

"Kirk's been amazing. He had some of the clothes he had back in the era laying around so he gave them to me," the WA Academy of Performing Arts alumnus enthused.

"A lot of the shoot I'm wearing his actual clothes. It's awesome knowing I'm going into a scene wearing what he was wearing. It makes it all feel a bit more authentic."

Williams says the original band members had been very involved and incredibly supportive of Seven's two-part biopic , which tracks the band's rise from a bunch of kids playing in a garage to the international rock superstardom that followed in the 1980s and 90s. Part two, airing this weekend, also deals with Michael Hutchence's death in a Sydney hotel room in 1997.

Pengilly kept a diary during the period, which was used extensively in writing the script. Williams says the rock star, who he affectionately calls "Quirky Kirky," had an open-door policy during rehearsals and filming.

"Pengilly said 'At any point if you ever need any clarity on anything or if you ever want to know anything, even if they're just little things, just call me'," he said.

Williams already had basic guitar skills but had never picked up a saxophone before playing the role. He said he had been teaching himself to play the instrument, much to the annoyance of his co-stars in adjoining apartments.

"The saxophone is incredibly loud and I don't exactly go to bed very early so about 11.30pm is when I like to do my practice . . . I get a lot of abusive text messages," he laughed.

The pressure was on for the cast to portray such an important Australian success story as authentically as possible.

"It's their legacy and you want to pay tribute to it," Williams said. "The idea is not to show a rose-tinted version. You want to show something that's real . . . otherwise, just watch the concerts if you want to see all the happy stuff. That's what makes good drama. Warts and all."

Before landing the role in INXS: Never Tear Us Apart, Williams made his TV debut playing Julian Assange in Network Ten's 2012 telemovie Underground.

As a child growing up in the beachside suburbs of Sorrento, Scarborough and Fremantle, he aspired to be a professional athlete, following in the footsteps of his dad, an Olympic water polo player.

"He's six-foot-three and built like a brick s…house and I'm not. So I stopped once I realised I wasn't going to get past five-foot-10. I decided once I stopped growing that acting was a better choice," he laughed. "My mum is a drama teacher so . . . Mum's more happy with the decision."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West