‘Counter Play’ Actor Leigh Smith Talks About The Show Being Picked Up By Amazon Prime and Channel 9 Australia
Hi Leigh. Wow! Exciting News! Since we last spoke, your show Counter Play has been picked up by Amazon Prime in the US and Channel 9 in Australia. How did this all come about?
Thank You! It’s still somewhat of a shock but as an actor I don’t think there is anything more exciting! Our dynamic creator Chrys Phillips has worked tirelessly to take Counter Play to this level of achievement and boy has it paid off! This has involved round the clock work, endless meetings and tremendous personal sacrifice.
You then pair this determination with a concept that encompasses tremendous international and national appeal and it’s no wonder that platforms such as Amazon and 9 are jumping on board — and it’s fantastic to see.
Where were you, when you found out this fantastic news?
I was in Melbourne with one of my Counter Play co-stars and very good friend Jesse Everett who plays the character of Jacob Levine. We were anxiously awaiting an announcement that Chrys had informed us to be ready for.
Were you expecting the show to get to this level or were you shocked?
When you put so much work into developing and creating a character you hope that it will eventuate to this but as with most things in this industry you can never expect such development.
Counter Play has so much drive and passion behind it from the creators and actors that I strongly believed that it was destined for bigger things. The aesthetic combined with the story line and character anomalies draw people into the dramatic world of South Point.
Still, in such a competitive and cut throat industry there most certainly is and still is a level of shock — but a welcome one to be sure!
What drew you to the show and your character?
From initial readings I was drawn to the concept of Counter Play. The setting of the fictitious town of South Point, the manipulative and driven characters and of course like anything their hidden insecurities were a tremendous draw.
However, when I first met Tim the initial opportunity to present the industry (especially that of Australia) with a dynamic and strong gay character was every performer’s dream. As in my last interview this is not something that has been prominent in Australian media.
As time has gone by, I think it is the layered personality of Tim that has been the ultimate draw. There is a vulnerability to him that slowly develops in Season 2 and it is interesting to say the least.
The other terrific thing about this opportunity is that I have been able to involve myself in the creative side of things and whilst sometimes challenging it has been incredibly rewarding and a great chance to flesh out Tim both in front and behind the scenes.
I think that audiences will be drawn to Tim and hopefully feel for all of his multi faceted angles — both the good and bad.
Do you prefer TV, film or theater?
Most of my training has focused on Film and TV so it has always been my home ground. However, in recent years I have been training at the Groundlings in LA which has a very theatrical basis and this has been so fantastic to explore.
But as I said Film and TV has always been my medium and I love the realness that it brings to your abilities as a performer.
What are your plans for the future?
I most certainly plan on continuing and developing Tim in Counter Play and working on the series. I also am working on having a greater presence in the US which I am lucky enough to have an amazing team behind me supporting me in this endeavor.
Having such a tremendous opportunity with networks such as Amazon Prime and 9 is something that every actor in this industry dreams about and so as they say “hard work pays off”.
This is just the beginning.