Josh: Miles set to find love
Josh Quong Tart reveals all about screen romance, pigging out and a brand new look for his lovable alter ego Miles Copeland.
Who doesn't adore Miles Copeland? And wouldn't you just love to see him settle down with a good woman? It turns out that might just happen, as actor Josh Quong Tart reveals in our interview. As viewers get set to watch Home and Away return to screens on Monday, we caught up with the star while he enjoyed a winter break over on these shores...
What brings you to the UK?
I'd told Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart) that if he came to do Priscilla over here I would come and see him. So I came. It's just been perfect. I had a really fantastic Christmas. I went out with him on Christmas Eve, and the next day I did a road trip to Chester and had a beautiful Christmas lunch with a friend's family.
The snow-capped trees and hills and stone bridges blew my mind. It exceeded my expectations of a terrific winter Christmas.
Would you fancy getting work in the UK?
If I had a job here I'd have no problem living here. I've just been walking around asking people for jobs, even selling tours on red buses. You know how some places sing to you? Well, I feel very comfortable in London.
In Home and Away, your character Miles has gone to Africa to see Elijah. Was that so you could go on holiday in real life?
I did a play with the Sydney Theatre Company called Our Town. I took time out to rehearse for that, and then I went back and filmed in the day and did the show at night.
I'd film on a beach and in a studio in the day, and then catch the bus to the Opera House to do a play. As a child my dreams were to fly and work at the Opera House, and now one of my dreams has come true.
Miles returns to Summer Bay in February, when he will be keeping a secret for Elijah. What can you tell us about that?
I can say the secret involves what happened to him in Africa. In a strange kind of way he's not just brought that back in a metaphorical sense but in a much bigger way. Let's just say if I was going out with Elijah I wouldn't be particularly happy.
Miles is caught between a rock and a hard place constantly, and because of his nature, he does have a problem where he blurts things out. He really doesn't mean any harm though.
And he returns to the Bay with a new look, doesn't he?
Yes. He's a little thinner, with less hair and a beard. I think because I was working so hard at the time I wasn't going into as many burger shops.
But I enjoy playing a character who eats a lot, and that's important for viewers to see, because you're representing human beings. It's important to see people who enjoy their food.
Some people write in and ask me to stop Miles pigging out on television. When I get that mail I am tempted to stuff my face even more! Miles used to be homeless and hadn't been around food for a long time, so I made a character choice that he loves food and really missed it - to a point where it might not be very pleasant to watch.
But there are so many lovely bodies on the show you can cope with the odd unattractive eating regime!
Are you like Miles in real life?
There are elements of me in him. I like the way he sees the world. That's something I connect with. But there are certainly things about Miles that don't relate to me at all. I don't agree with playing yourself - I think it's lazy.
Do you enjoy all the light-hearted scenes you get as Miles?
I certainly enjoy the lighter stuff more than the more intense stuff. In real life you like to limit as much negativity in relationships as possible, and it's kind of like that when you're acting. I'm very lucky in that respect.
I've had really big stories that are very dramatic, but they haven't been too full on. There's been enough lightness and fun.
Miles had a brief romance with Shandi. Is that all over now?
It came and went like every romance in his life. It comes, and he gets excited, and then it's over. And she was really hot too. I think he almost couldn't believe his luck.
And she was beachy and hippy and could talk about the meaning of life until the cows come home, but didn't turn out to be such a nice person in the end.
Are we ever going to see Miles find love again?
You know what? It's coming. He finds someone. I don't know how long it lasts. It could be another Shandi and last a couple of weeks, but he's more surprised than anyone that it happens.
Is it someone who's already in Summer Bay?
It may be. I found it very intriguing. When I found out, I said "Oh my God! OK, sure. Let's do this." This particular person I'm working with, I really enjoy working with as an actor. There's a real ease to what happens when we act that I really enjoy.
Ease and playfulness is important. I have it with Ray and Emily (Symons, who plays Marilyn Chambers) too. When you have fun with people, it transfers onto the screen, and it's important for viewers to have light relief when there is so much going on in the world and when there are heavier storylines on the show.
We know Alf leaves the show for a bit. How does this affect Miles?
I'll tell you how it affects Quong Tart. I was really peeved off. I love working with Ray and really miss him, and Miles is the same. But I'm in Africa when he goes, but I do come back while he's still away.
Tessa James, who plays Nicole, is getting married. Are you going to the wedding?
I'm very close with Tessa, but I never assume anything with weddings. I'm very excited about who she's with. I think he's a divine human being. He's a really lovely guy. He's a gentleman and has a great sense of humour.
How long do you plan to be in Home and Away?
I'm really enjoying myself at the moment. I do tend to get restless and am quite surprised I've enjoyed it this long. But I am playing it by ear. I have a very good relationship with the show and appreciate the experience. So far so good.