Justin Rosniak in ‘Les Norton’ (Photo: Tony Mott).
Justin Rosniak has been cast as crooks and other wayward types so often in his career he is relishing the opportunity to play more upstanding characters.
“There is not a lot of diversity in characters in Australia so once you get locked into something, some people only see you as one thing,” he tells IF. “I often long to get to show my range a bit more, or a softer side.
“So it’s been good that in the last couple of years I have started to get roles that push me in other directions and allow me to add a few different layers.”
In the second season of Mr Inbetween, the comedy/drama created by and starring Scott Ryan as criminal-for-hire Ray Shoesmith, he gets the chance to show a different side to his character Gary, Ray’s best friend.
“Gary faces the same kind of problems with his marriage to Tatiana (Lizzie Schebesta) and he’s not manly enough to find his voice,” he says.
“But you get to see the hero side of Gary as he comes to Ray’s aid, as opposed to Ray always helping him out, and you see how important their mateship is to the story.”
Directed by Nash Edgerton and produced by Blue-Tongue Films, Jungle Entertainment and Michele Bennett’s Pariah Productions, the series premieres on Fox Showcase at 2 pm on Friday September 13, express from its US debut on FX.
During a recent visit to Los Angeles with Ryan to promote the show at the Television Critics Association press tour he took the chance to meet with a manager. He hasn’t signed with anyone yet and plans to meet with a few more managers.
He shot Mr Inbetween 2 around the same time as the ABC/Rough Diamond’s Les Norton, in which he plays gun-for-hire Eddie Salita, who works for Kings Cross crime kingpin Price Galese (David Wenham).
Alexander Bertrand is the protagonist Les, who works as a bouncer for Galese’s illegal casino alongside the doorman Billy Dunne (Hunter Page-Lochard) and the casino manager Georgie (Pallavi Sharda).
Rosniak auditioned for director Jocelyn Moorhouse last December but heard nothing until he had a call back two months later. The next day the Melbourne-based actor had the role and he was on his way to Sydney. The creator/co-writer, Morgan O’Neill, a mate for 20 years, later told Justin he always had him in mind for the character.
“It was hard work to an extent on the grueling days but it was a lot of fun,” he says. He describes Rebel Wilson, who plays brothel owner Doreen, as someone who “likes to work on the fly and let the scene go wherever it takes us.”
Currently he is playing a guest role in Halifax: Retribution, the crime thriller miniseries produced by Beyond Lonehand for the Nine Network, starring Rebecca Gibney, Anthony LaPaglia and Jessica Marais.
His character Bungert sounds like a throwback to the shady types he has often played, describing him as a “pro-gun libertarian.”
Justian Rosniak in ‘Squinters.’
In the second series of Jungle Entertainment/ABC’s comedy Squinters he really liked the way his character Macca and wife Jess (Justine Clarke) were portrayed in their struggles to have a baby.
“At the end of the first series Macca realises the world doesn’t revolve him, he’s not that bloody special and his wife will leave him if he continues to act like a dick head,” he says.
“In the second series he’s still rough around the edges but he’d love to have a kid. I really liked the direction Adam Zwar took with the writing.”
Rosniak started young, filming a Grace Bros commercial when he was eight, followed by an episode of A Country Practice and Michael Jenkins’ movie Sweet Talker with Bryan Brown and Karen Allen.
His credits include Heath Davis’ Locusts and Broke, Abe Forsythe’s Down Under, David Michôd’s War Machine and Animal Kingdom and the series Packed to the Rafters, Laid, Rush and Squizzy Taylor.
In between acting and radio voice-overs he works as a house painter in Melbourne. “I like switching in between; I enjoy whatever I’m doing,” he says.