Aussie soap Neighbours casts first indigenous actor

Meyne Wyatt has joined the cast of Neighbours.
Meyne Wyatt has joined the cast of Neighbours.

Meyne Wyatt is thrilled to join the cast of Neighbours, but says it's been a long time coming.

The 24-year-old is the first indigenous actor to land a starring role on the Australian soap in its 29-year history.

"It's probably bittersweet," he says. "It's cool that I've been able to get this opportunity. At the same time, it's a thing that's been a long time coming."

Neighbours producer Jason Herbison says the decision to cast Wyatt wasn't driven by his indigenous background.

He said in a statement that while cultural diversity was important, in cases where they didn't need a specific ethnic background they simply looked for the best actors for the part.

And at Wyatt's first audition, Herbison says they knew they had found the perfect person to play Nate Kinski.

Wyatt says the fact Nate wasn't an indigenous-specific part was a plus.

"One of my main mantras for my career has always been that I don't just always want to play indigenous roles," he says. "I just want to be seen as an actor rather than an indigenous actor.

"I want to do roles that interest me or challenge me, that aren't just going to pigeonhole (or) typecast me as just being the indigenous guy."

Since graduating from NIDA, Wyatt has pursued and won parts in everything from Peter Pan at Belvoir Theatre to Bell Shakespeare's production of French comedy The School for Wives.

In 2013, he was in the big-screen adaptation of Tim Winton's The Turning and a few months ago finished filming on Strangerland with Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes and Guy Pearce.

At this year's TV Week Logie awards, he was also nominated for the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Outstanding Newcomer for his part in ABC TV series Redfern Now.

Wyatt, who hails from Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, has been filming on Neighbours for two-and-a-half months, and will make his debut on August 13.

He says his character, Nate, is a bit of a "mystery man" - he's related to series regular Susan Kennedy, who was married to Nate's uncle, but not much else is known.

"There's a lot of secrets that need to be revealed when you watch the show," Wyatt says.

* Neighbours, TV2, 6.30pm, weekdays.

- AAP

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