‘Hunters’ Star Julian McMahon Recalls How Levi’s Commercial Led to First Series Role in Australia

Julian McMahon, best known as Dr. Christian Troy in FX’s “Nip/Tuck” (and as Victor von Doom to fans of the original “Fantastic Four” movie) plays an alien agent who attacks U.S. citizens in Syfy’s “Hunters.” But his first acting role was less sanguine, on soap opera “The Power, the Passion” in his native Australia. An advertising gig, McMahon tells Variety, helped prove he was a good fit for the part.

How did you land the soap role?

It was a mixture of things. At the time, my father had just passed away and I was working in Europe and had come back for his funeral. At the same time, I had done a few Levi’s commercials in Australia that had become a bit of a phenomenon. Because of the situation of why I returned, I decided to stay for a while, and because of this commercial, I was asked to come in and take a look at a TV script. I auditioned for the part, got the role and stayed in Australia for a few more years.

What did you take from the experience?

This was my first real acting role, and it was pretty obvious I didn’t know what I was doing and everyone else did. But I was surrounded by some pretty prolific Australian actors, and I really lucked out in this environment. The dedication to the art form and the work ethic and the passion for performing were something that was a part of all these actors’ daily lives. I got to spend time with people who were not only very good at what they did but also very passionate about what they did, and they taught me a lot of lessons on how to approach things.

If you could go back, what advice would you give yourself?

Oh man, probably to just relax and enjoy the process. As an actor, there is always a worry of finding your next gig and finding something that will be appropriate to where you are in your career. At those younger times, there was a bit more of an unknown, but I could have approached it with a bit more calm.

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