Shortland Street's Grant Lobban is far from his cowardly character
For Shortland Street's Grant Lobban, Wednesday's earthquake scene hit a bit close to home, but not for the reasons you might think.
The actor, who stars in New Zealand's soap as hospital IT guy Damo Johnson, has had his own shaky tale to tell.
Christchurch-born Lobban, his partner and child, were living in the city when the February 22, 2011, earthquake hit.
Unlike his cowardly Shorty character, however, Lobban's reaction to disaster bordered on the heroic.
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On Wednesday night's episode, an earthquake hits Auckland during a baby shower for Lucy Rickman (played by Grace Palmer).
Instead of saving the heavily pregnant Lucy, Damo pushes her out of the way to save himself.
Lobban says playing a cowardly guy for the storyline "really went against my grain."
When the shaking began in 2011, Lobban was at his mother-in-law's in the suburb of Cashmere with his partner and 1-year-old daughter.
"My partner and her mother ran for the doorway and I remember thinking 'what are you doing? It is just another aftershock', but then it hit with full force," explained Lobban.
"I just remembered it shaking so much everything was blurry, I couldn't see properly there was so much incredible shaking, cracks going up the walls, dust falling down and I ran for the doorway,"
At that moment, Lobban remembered his young daughter was still asleep upstairs in her cot.
He made a beeline for the stairs where he struggled to crawl his way up to the sleeping tot.
"When I was going up those stairs I had an absolute definite feeling I could die for sure, but I didn't really care, because as a father I had one job," said Lobban.
"I remember thinking very clearly this must be what it is like running through no-man's land in the war, you've just got to go for it and hope for the best, because it just felt like the house was going to collapse any second,"
Although his daughter was fine, Lobban said it upset him to think what could have happened to one-year-old Lily.
Lobban says he suffered from post-traumatic stress following the devastating February quake, for which he had to seek help.
During the making of the episode, the simulated shaking motion did not bother Lobban as much as how he would have to react to the situation.
"I know I am not Damo, I just didn't feel comfortable being this coward," he said.