Westside: Reef Ireland reveals what he gets up to when he's not acting
He's no criminal, but Westside actor Reef Ireland can relate to his character – at least on one level.
In the local drama Ireland plays Wolf West, the young adult son of law-breakers Rita (Antonia Prebble) and Ted (David de Lautour).
Westside's current season has Wolf living away from the family's brick-and-tile home and instead flatting with his party-loving friends.
"I moved out of home when I was 17, so I can understand wanting your independence and being your own man sort of thing," says Ireland.
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But while Ireland, 24, is happy to earn an honest living, Wolf isn't.
"Wolf definitely doesn't want that clean-cut life," says Ireland.
"He's a West through and through. He wants to do things his way and doesn't necessarily want to follow in his parents' footsteps."
So far this season, Wolf has been romancing Jeanette (Jessie Lawrence), the older sister of Cheryl (Ashleigh Cummings) who made her debut on the series this past week.
"I look at some of the stuff I do and it's always fun, whether it's riding a motorbike, partying or doing something. But [there are] lots of sex scenes this season, which is what it is," says Ireland.
And yes, filming intimate scenes is just part of the job.
"I approach it very professionally," says Ireland.
"It's what has to be done, what looks best for the camera, all that kind of stuff. We all work out the mechanics of it. It's actually not as awkward as the first time you do it. The first time you do it, it's a bit weird and you're a bit uneducated about it. But you're quick to learn. Everyone I've done sex scenes with on this season and last season were very professional."
This season, Westside is set in 1982 and while the show is clearly fiction, it occasionally references real-life occurrences and events like the arrival of ATM machines.
For the Wests and their criminal mates who are used to dealing with wads of cash (much of it illegally obtained), it's hard to believe such technology will take off.
"They talk about how it's daunting for them because I guess it was the beginning of what we have now with a card that holds all your currency," says Ireland.
With Wolf wanting to assert his independence, the three-person West family isn't quite the tight unit it used to be.
"It's one of those relationships where it's either going to go for the better or the worse," says Ireland.
"You're definitely going to see them clash again."
Ireland was born in New Zealand and grew up in Auckland and Melbourne. His first screen role was at age 14 when he played the lead in a short film.
"It was called Gravediggers," says Ireland.
"It was very similar to Stand By Me. I played a kid named Lewis Chambers, but it was pretty much the same character as River Phoenix's in Stand By Me."
From there, Ireland acquired an agent and subsequently appeared in Australian TV dramas like Tangle, Puberty Blues and Wentworth.
In between acting gigs, Ireland works alongside his father in Melbourne in a factory as a fitter and welder.
"They let me come and go as I please so it works out absolutely perfect for me," he says.
"I'm certainly not going to get super duper rich and wealthy from doing that. The best thing I get from it is just the reality of what it's like to be working, waking up at 5am every morning to get to work at 6am and then leaving at 3pm. It's quite full on. It's fun for the first week you do it and not fun after that."
Westside, Mondays, 8.30pm, Three.