Seriously good
Seriously good

Don Hany is shooting up the ranks of Australia's leading men so there is a stir of interest among the crew and media as he arrives at the Tangle production camp set up on the banks of the Yarra River in Melbourne.

The green and leafy suburb of Kew is the setting of one of the homes in Showcase's family drama and Hany is playing Tangle's newest love interest.

He has put aside the suits he wears in his role and is in jeans, looking slimmer than he does in SBS's East West 101, for which he won a Logie this year. The tautness is the result of losing what he admits was a lot of weight to take the part of real-life American adventurer Robert Bogucki, who was lost in the North-West for 43 days in 1999 and whose story is told on the ABC1 in Miracles on Thursday. It has been a busy few years for the 34-year-old actor, who first read the scripts for Tangle because he was going to try out for the part of Vince Kovac, the devious and amoral businessman who ends series one literally in the gutter.

In series two, which starts on July 20, Hany plays the "ambitious, potentially treacherous, alarmingly attractive" political adviser Spiros Georgiades, who is sent by the party to help further the career of politician Tim Williams (Joel Tobeck).

Hany is the thinking man's actor, keen to analyse and assess his roles. He is excited about this part because he has never played a politician, particularly one who sees himself as a strategist rather than a leader.

"It is interesting that in the last couple of decades political advisers have become so publicly known and have become celebrities in a way," he said. "I think Spiros likes the idea that he gets to put on the 'I'm not the leader' mask but he is really the playmaker.

"The term Machiavellian has been associated with him, which I think is an interesting disguise because we are to learn that he is someone driven a little more by his heart than his head."

Hany is not the only major new character in Tangle this series. Kick Gurry also joins, playing Vince's black sheep brother Joe, whose complex relationship with Vince unfolds slowly.

The six episodes in the second series follow Ally Kovac as she attempts to stand alone and look after herself and children Romeo and Gigi. Tim Williams is making a bid for the job of premier and Gabriel Lucas (Matt Day) tries to break free of the clutches of Ally's sister Nat (Kat Stewart).

It is a show about middle-class dysfunctional families and Hany likes that and the fact that there are no cheap tricks in the storylines.

"The stories are ones that are easy to identify with," he said. "It is a show about middle-class Australia and presents it with all its faults.

"It was famously said once that good art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed and I think that Tangle is a show that stands by that."

His next series on screen in Australia will be a new Channel 10 medical drama called Offspring, which is due later this year, and he will also make a third series of East West 101, where he plays the Muslim detective Zane Malik.

Hany was born in Australia but his father is an Iraqi. Taffy Hany was born into a Muslim family in the ancient city of Babylon and was a violinist who later became a restaurateur and then actor — he plays Malik's father in East West 101.

One of the things Don Hany likes about East West 101, which also won a Logie this year, is that it opens an environment for addressing the issues that migrants such as his father faced in Australia.

"We have enjoyed the Lucky Country title for a long time and we haven’t really addressed how we are going to embrace a Muslim identity in Australia and how we can disassociate Islam from terrorism," he said. "At the moment it is hard to see any reference to Islam that is not negative.

"Or about refugees — it is a shame that what you hear about refugees is they come in boats and they sit around on the dole. Very little of the information we get fed is about the positive influence they have on the community."

Offspring strikes a much lighter note, with Hany playing a paediatrician, opposite Asher Keddie as an obstetrician who is unlucky in love, with Kat Stewart as her sister and John Waters as her father.

"It is an Aussie shot at shifting the tonal expectations of one-hour drama," he said. "There is a lot of voiceover and you are inside the lead character's head.

"It is about the lottery in life when you get born with the family you are given and when you acknowledge that part in your life — the mid-30s — when you think, 'Well I still haven't done X, Y and Z and I am halfway through. What are the chances these things are going to happen?'

"It is hospital-oriented and there is a lot of playing babies and all the wonderment and beauty of childbirth, so it is new territory for Australia."

It all sounds rather similar to Grey’s Anatomy so the question has to be asked: "Is he the next McDreamy?"

He laughs: "Absolutely not, there is nothing McDreamy about him. He is a man with plenty of predictable qualities and a lot of surprises." A lot like Don Hany.

Miracles, ABC1, 8.30pm, July 8; Tangle, Showcase, 8.30pm, July 20.

The West Australian

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