Bernard Curry reveals the stories behind some of his favourites
With three brothers and a sister who have all been involved in acting at some stage, it’s perhaps no surprise that Bernard Curry decided to tread the same path.
His first taste of performing was as a kid when he was packed off to an amateur theatre group with his siblings.
“But I was the first person to actually get a paid job in a short film called Get Real, which also starred Sally-Anne Upton, who I later worked with on Wentworth,” Curry recalled.
There were also commercials for Wedgwood Pies (with brothers Andrew and Stephen) and Nintendo, before his big break came aged 19 in Snowy, with Rebecca Gibney.
Since then, Curry, who lives in Melbourne with wife Sonya and children Fox and Banjo, has become a familiar face on TV screens, both here and internationally.
In Australia, he’s appeared in Neighbours and Home and Away, to name but two, plus American productions, including NCIS, Once Upon a Time and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
It was during his five-year stint in Hollywood that he heard about a life-changing role: evil prison guard Jake Stewart in Foxtel’s Wentworth.
“Being in Los Angeles was probably the toughest five years of my life. I was booking jobs on various things and felt like I was on the right track but it was hard having kids over there and being so far away from family,” Curry said.
“So, when the opportunity to join Wentworth came up, I felt it was the right time (to return to Australia). And playing Jake Stewart has been the best role I’ve ever had to play.”
The 45-year-old will also be seen in Ten’s new crime series My Life is Murder (due to premiere on July 17 at 8.30pm), alongside Lucy Lawless.
“My role as Kieran Hussy is another little gift and a great departure from duplicitous Jake because he’s actually a pretty straight cop. And it’s been a real pleasure working with Lucy, who brings such positivity and fun to the set,” he said.
Typical Saturday morning
Stephen, Andrew and I are renovating our family property in Gordon. So, if we’re there, we’ll cook bacon and eggs on the outdoor fire. Then, I’ll walk down to the Gordon General Store to pick up the Herald Sun and we’ll all do the Superquiz over a cup of tea before doing something adventurous around the property.
A protein shake. I blend some frozen bananas with berries, milk, yoghurt, protein powder and a raw egg.
My pumpkin, spinach and sage risotto. I roast the pumpkin first so it caramelises and holds its shape in the risotto. I top it off with parmesan and maybe some goat’s cheese.
On my bedside table
My new iPad. I’ve recently had an epiphany with my scripts and now read them electronically on my iPad through an app called Scriptation.
Fantasy place to live
Melbourne is pretty perfect because, as well as the property in Gordon, we’ve got a family beach house in Rye, so we’ve got all bases covered. But George Clooney’s house on Lake Como (in Italy) would be pretty nice, too.
Jeff Buckley and Ben Harper. You can’t go wrong with the Cafe del Mar (compilation) series, either.
Happiness at home
When my wife comes home from work and we have a debrief about our day over a glass of pinot noir while I’m cooking dinner. Then we all eat together as a family.
Secret domestic skill
I’m fairly handy. I can pretty much fix anything in our house.
My favourite things
I’ve been collecting guitars over the years but this Duesenberg guitar is my newest acquisition and is now my favourite. I first started playing guitar when I was 15. I had six months of lessons before deciding they weren’t for me and pretty much taught myself from then on. At 19, Andrew and another mate of ours formed the band Johnny Wonderpants, who I still play with today. As an actor, music has been a great extra artistic outlet for me. I think you need to diversify yourself as a performer, and music along with hosting (TV shows), voiceover and MC work has meant that I’ve never had to work behind a bar or in a restaurant when I haven’t got an acting job.
I use my chainsaw a lot when we’re up at our property in Gordon. It’s mainly to cut firewood, and, as we’re on 20 acres (8ha), we’ve almost got an unlimited supply. Cutting firewood is quite a workout and great fun, too. My dad bought the property for £220 in the 1960s. We used to go up there all the time as kids but we had some trouble with people trashing the place and stealing things when we weren’t there. It culminated with them deliberately chopping down a tree and flattening the house. Dad was crushed and rarely went up there after that point. But when I came back from LA, I suggested to Stephen and Andrew that we should rebuild the house. We all go up a lot. We’ve also got a couple of caravans up there and an in-ground trampoline and a BMX track for the kids. It’s great for all the cousins to hang out together.
Many years ago, I bought a very expensive leather jacket from Bisonte on Chapel St. It cost something like $1000 and I remember my dad was completely gobsmacked that I could have spent so much money on an item of clothing. I had it for years and it was the perfect leather jacket. But, in 2007, I unfortunately lost it on the way to the Edinburgh Festival and I’d been trying to replace it ever since. I finally struck gold when I was staying with a friend in LA while I was finalising my US citizenship and I found this one in (a branch of the British brand) AllSaints in Santa Monica. As soon as I tried it on, I went, “This is my new leather jacket”. It’s something I can wear practically all year round and it goes with everything.
I picked up my bike at a charity auction because my previous one had got stolen when I was living in Los Angeles. I ride this every day but Banjo has just learned how to be independent on a bike so he, Fox and I will go on little adventures together around Glen Iris (where they live). And when we’re up at the shack, we’ll sometimes do a big ride from our place down to the local pub, have a couple of beers and then ride home again. I’ll often ride my bike to the gym, as well. It serves as a warm-up and a warm-down session after a weights session.
I love cooking and had been saying for a long time that I would really like a lovely knife. There’s nothing more frustrating than using a blunt knife that isn’t quite working the way you want it to. So, my wife brought me this knife for Christmas last year. It’s designed by Furi, which makes high-quality knives out of Japanese stainless steel that are used by a number of chefs. I really enjoy using this knife. I keep it very sharp so, when I’m not using it, it stays in a wood block and the kids definitely aren’t allowed to go near it.
My Omega watch was a present to myself when I got the role of diving instructor Hugo Austin on Home and Away in 2009. I wear it all the time, even in bed. Seeing as it’s a dive watch, I suggested I wear it when I was playing Hugo. Since then, I’ve worn it as my character watch when playing Jake Stewart and now as Kieran Hussy in My Life is Murder. It’s a classic watch, which, hopefully, I’ll be able to hand down to Fox and Banjo when they come of age, although I might have to get another one.