Home And Away star Ray Meagher has revealed he had to turn down a role in smash hit Aussie movie Muriel’s Wedding as he was too busy with his work on the soap.
The 68-year-old actor has been in the soap for 25 years as Alf Stewart – but was also offered the role of Muriel’s father alongside actress Toni Collette who played the title role.
“I did one movie while I was doing Home And Away very early on in the piece and they let me out to do it,” Ray recalled. “Luigi’s Ladies – it wasn’t a huge smash.”
“But there were two other movies that I would have liked to have done. One was The Lionel Rose Story. He was one of the first Australian world boxing champions – an Aboriginal boxer.
And the other one was Muriel’s Wedding.”
Ray added that the nature of the Australian film industry made it difficult for him to get time off from Home and Away to join the cast.
“I was offered that role and I couldn’t get out,” he explained. “Because a lot of our movies in Australia, they’re not quite sure of the day and nobody’s actually signed anything, they’ve just all been lined up. Then they get the last bit of money and say, ‘Right we’re starting Thursday, sign here’.
“And you’re not going to sign out of a job for a maybe because a lot of movies never get their money.”
Australian star Bill Hunter eventually landed the part – but Ray admitted he has no regrets in missing out, and still has no interest in a Hollywood career.
“I was never a good-looking young person and now I’m not a good-looking old person!” he said.
“So I don’t see what point there is in going to the States and competing with a whole lot of well-established character actors.”