Rhys Wakefield: ‘Hollywood is growing on me!’

Best known as Lucas Holden from Home & Away, Rhys Wakefield stars in 3D adventure movie Sanctum, out on DVD on Monday. We caught up with him to find out more…

Tell us about your role in Sanctum…

“I play Josh, who’s the son of the leader of an underwater diving team, played by Richard Roxburgh. Josh is a reluctant guy who’s just not happy being dragged along on these expeditions. At the film begins, he’s obviously very fed up and he and his father spend most of their time at loggerheads.”

Sanctum is certainly action-packed. Did you enjoy filming the action sequences?

“As exhausting as they were, I loved it! I loved all the underwater aspect of the film. While it was terrifying, it was also kind of meditating; you’re forced to remain calm and there’s this sense of control. I felt like a big kid really; putting on a harness and flying around the set. And throwing myself off cliffs was all in a day’s work!”

What training did you do to prepare for the role?

“We were given crash courses in learning how to scuba dive in a short amount of time as well as swim training, a gym regime and fight training. I loved it all!”

Growing up in Australia, are you a naturally outdoorsy person?

“I guess so, yeah. I do love the outdoors and I’ve always loved the water.”

Did you ever think that your role as Lucas in Home & Away would pave the way for films like this?

“No, I didn’t! I was only 16 when I started on Home & Away and it’s been a funny ride ever since. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was on the show actually.”

You’re based in LA now. What do you like most about living there?

“It’s good to be here work-wise. It’s just a necessary place to be to progress, because this is where everything happens. It’s a sparse city with some funny characters in it, but it’s growing on me.”

What do you miss about Australia when you’re away?

“I miss Australia a LOT! I miss my friends and family, I miss Sydney; the beaches and the culture there. I don’t surf a great deal but I love the beach.”

There had been rumours you were returning to Summer Bay…

“I heard those rumours! Someone came up to me in the street and told me and I was like: ‘Oh, that’s news to me’. Right after I’d left, the producers did ask me to come back for a bit but scheduling didn’t work out, so I didn’t. I doubt I’ll be back in the future – but who knows? Never say never!”

What did you most enjoy about being in Home & Away?

“It was an amazing learning experience. I was so young, when I was thrown into this professional environment, where you have to sink or swim. I feel so fortunate for the time I had on Home & Away.”

Are you in touch with any of your former co-stars who are currently in Hollywood, like Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Isabel Lucas (Transformers)?

“I saw Chris a couple of months ago and we were actually laughing about how far we were from our Home & Away days. His life has changed so much, which is amazing for him. I have spoken to Isabel briefly, too. It’s great to see these guys doing well!”

*Sanctum is released on DVD on Monday, June 13.