EXCLUSIVE: Jackson Gallagher spills on his Neighbours debut, a Home And Away return, and his best role yet – fatherhood
Life in locked-down Melbourne has had its problems for Jackson Gallagher. But the actor, spending time with his son, doing things like crafting and painting, has found a positive side to the many months spent at home.
I usually spend a lot of time traveling, “he says,” for work. “In truth, it was very lovely just to do a lot of daddy time.”
Jackson, who starred in Playing For Keeps most recently, is about to go back to our screens for a guest appearance in Neighbours. With the Canning family, his character, Nathan “Packo” Packard, has a past.
Jackson explains, “He was a wayward youth.” “When they were adolescents, Kyle Canning (Chris Milligan) and Packo raced in similar circles.”
To help treat the family tragedy surrounding Levi (Richie Morris), Kyle asks Packo to come to Erinsborough. Does Packo. But then Bea (Bonnie Anderson) runs into him.
“Fly Sparks,” says Jackson. “And then comes the triangle of lust, because Bea and Levi are on and off again.”
But COVID’s set constraints made shooting romantic scenes difficult.
Jackson says, “It is difficult to come in and play a romantic interest but have no physical interaction between the characters.”
“How do you establish with this person a sense of attraction and intimacy without touching them? It really comes down to long, intense gazing.”
There was an extra complication with Bonnie. When there was a COVID outbreak among the show’s crew, the actress, who was secretly wowing viewers as Bushranger on The Masked Singer, had to spend two weeks self-isolating.
It made it interesting, “adds Jackson.” “Our scenes became FaceTime scenes via the phone during that period.”
He says it’s “very amazing” the changes that Neighbours have made so it can keep filming in Melbourne.
“The show just keeps going. It can not be stopped except by a pandemic.”
“When I went through those early years, I was like, ‘Wow, okay, where am I going to find the groups of dads, the other men going through this, talking about it, apart from my own father?'”
“There was a yearning in my life for other fathers, young fathers.”
“Sharing with other guys, photographing dads with their children, and then talking about their fatherhood experience is really a beautiful experience. I’m quite fortunate I’ve been doing that.”
Jackson, now 30, claims he’s been affected by parenthood,’ in a great way.’
“It’s a part of my life that I have a lot of love for, a very wild and enriching part of it.”