The Guys from Oz

by Nancy

Those of us who are, as the saying goes, “of a certain age” probably remember music’s British Invasion of the 1960s–the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits (fronted by that cutie, Peter Noone)–with hordes of screaming girls outside hotels. Now we’re in the midst of a quieter invasion, this time of Australian actors, who inspired today’s topic of guys from Oz.

There are also prominent actresses from Australia, like Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, and several up-and-comers, but I’m in the mood to discuss guys today, so that’s the territory we’re covering.

We’re all familiar with that Lair favorite Hugh Jackman, right? Guy who turns up–sometimes sporting adamantium claws but usually in a tux–at every party we throw? I realize many of us would be happy if I just stuck up a bunch of pictures of Jackman. I’m sure we could all find a lot to say.

But wait!–as the informercials like to say–there’s more! In fact, there are a lot more.

Of course there’s Russell Crowe (born in New Zealand but residing in Australia), who has his own rooting section, especially when it comes to his role in Gladiator. Our gladiators get kind of huffy about that movie, but they’ll just have to deal. And Crowe is a big star, albeit a little short for my personal taste. He also gets points for being able to wear a tunic and not look silly.

So we have Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, not exactly a bad duo to start with. There’s also Mel Gibson, maybe not as big a star as he once was and also a bit short for my personal taste but with a long and distinguished resume.

Brian Brown, who costarred with Jackman in Australia, was hot in Hollywood for a while in the 1970s or 1980s but then apparently went home. David Wenham, who also costarred in Australia, was fabulous as Faramir in LOTR, but that was filmed in New Zealand and so doesn’t count as invading the US. Of course, there’s also the fabulous Geoffrey Rush, but today we’re focusing on romantic leading men–just ’cause that’s what I’m in the mood to talk about.

Terminator Salvation featured Sam Worthington, who was wonderful as a terminator who believed he was human and clung to his humanity even after he had to accept that he was a machine. Worthington was also a hit in Avatar, but he was harder to recognize, being blue and all. He was again recognizable, and convincingly earnest, in the remade Clash of the Titans. He also gets points for not looking silly in a tunic.

As anyone who saw Trish’s movie blog knows, Chris Hemsworth, another tall Australian, has stepped into the boots of Marvel Comics’ Norse God of Thunder, The Mighty Thor. The movie will open in May. And he certainly does look the part.

I remember him from the opening sequence of Star Trek, when his portrayal of George Kirk sending his pregnant wife to safety while he drove his crippled ship to its doom brought tears to my eyes. I think Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, is in good hands.

I loved the Thor comic and am cautiously optimistic about the movie, though my favorite Thor love interest, the warrior goddess Sif, doesn’t appear to have as big a role as I might like. I expect to see Thor (if you click on the link, wait after the hammer appears and the dust settles – the trailer will load) for Mothers Day or my birthday, and possibly several more times.

I recently learned (via a YouTube clip) that hunky Alex O’Loughlin, formerly vampire Mick St. John on Moonlight, was also Australian. He’s now Steve McGarrett on the revived Hawaii Five-0, after a detour to play Jennifer Lopez’s love interest in The Backup Plan.

I’m old enough to remember the late Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, and with all due respect, I think O’Loughlin’s portrayal will be warmer, perhaps because we no longer expect our police officers to be icemen. The old McGarrett didn’t have many scenes trading punches with the bad guys, but the new one does that a lot.

I have a special soft spot for Hawaii Five-O (even though we usually watch Castle on Monday at 10 since it hooked us first) because, of course, I played the theme from Hawaii Five-O in marching band. Didn’t every high school marching band in the country play that? In the version our band used, clarinets actually had a melody line along with the cornets and trumpets, unlike the version my college pep band used.

Anyway, off of memory lane and back to the topic at hand. We also have Simon Baker of The Mentalist. I remember him from The Devil Wore Prada, too. He has lots of fans in the Lair and among our buddies.

Less well known is Matt Passmore, star of A&E’s quirky cop show The Glades. His character is a Chicago detective who didn’t play so well with others and so departed for the quirkier climes of Florida. Near the Everglades. It’s a fun show, a little offbeat and, well, quirky.

Liam McIntyre is taking over the role of Spartacus on the Starz network show because of original star Andy Whitfield’s unfortunate health problems. Ryan Kwanten plays Sookie Stackhouse’s lamebrained brother, Jason, on HBO’s True Blood (which I find a lot more intense than the books).

I’ve noticed that Australian and British actors, like Battlestar Galactica’s Jamie Bamber, the only non-Australian who gets a picture here today, seem to have no trouble with American accents while American actors often cannot sustain any other accent. (We won’t even think about what they do to the Southern accent, also American but apparently incomprehensible to Hollywood.) I think the Australian proficiency with American accents is the reason I didn’t realize some of these guys were Australian until I started researching.

I know there are others out there. I did do some research, as I said, but the list is so long as to be intimidating.

If you had to pick a date from among these guys or the characters they play, which would you choose, and why? If you were choosing one to be the hero of a book you’ve recently read, which would you choose, and why? Do you have a favorite actor who’s not a U.S. native?

(The comment hook is below today’s healthy heart tip and other info.)

The healthy heart tip for February 26 is: Snacking isn’t bad if done in moderation and eating a little throughout the day can actually keep you from overdoing it at meal times. Check out some of our heart-healthy snack ideas.

Romance Writers of America and the American Heart Association have partnered to raise awareness of heart disease. Visit to learn how to fight heart disease.

And just in case you missed it….

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From Feb. 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance novel e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association’s BetterU Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited-edition magazine (that features this offer) on newsstands and in a grocery store near you.

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