(plays Adam Logan)
Rodger Corser plays the role of Adam in Last Man Standing and, although he played the lead role of 'Roger' on stage in the American rock musical Rent for its entire Australian production, this is his first leading television role.
He believes this opportunity came along at just the right time. "I've essentially played supporting roles on TV," says the actor, who's had guest roles in Water Rats, Stingers and McLeods Daughters. "This is a big step up but I feel like I've done my apprenticeship on screen, and it's nice to play through lines in an ongoing story."
When he received the audition script for Last Man Standing, Corser was immediately drawn to the show. "The more I read, the more I could relate to the characters involved," he says. "It's great to see characters that come alive on the page."
Of his own character, Adam, Corser says: "Adam is blokey but he's also very unsure of things - especially when it comes to women. He's recently single after five years and he has to find out who he is again. He has to reassess what he wants - is he ready for another big relationship or should he try out other things for a while?"
Even when Adam's love life is in turmoil, he can always count on his best mates - Bruno and Cameron: "Adam's mates are everything to him," explains Corser. "He's fiercely loyal to the guys and he'd do anything for them." Corser, in fact, still has mates he met in high school and even has one good friend from his primary school days. And while his workload may not allow him to see his friends as much as he'd like to, he stresses that the bond is always there.
But if there's one that could break the bond between even the best of friends, it's sleeping with a mate's girlfriend - or even an ex as in the case of Adam's one night stand with Cameron's ex-wife, Zoe in the premiere episode of Last Man Standing.
"Adam thinks of himself as a loyal friend," says Corser. "But having gone through the break-up with Louisa, and after a boozy night at a friend's wedding, he falls into bed with Cameron's ex, Zoe, despite knowing he's committing a sin against mateship.
"And after being with Zoe for one night, he can't get her out of his head. The dilemma he's facing is that logic tells him he'll lose his friendship with Cameron if the thing with Zoe gets out, but he just can't help himself."
For Corser, the best thing about working on Last Man Standing is the sense of camaraderie on set - especially amongst the lead actors. "When we were working on the pilot for the show, Matt, Travis and I would research our roles by going out and having a few drinks. And even though we didn't know each other beforehand, we have become really good friends. We certainly don't have to act that."
As a teen, Corser was a "cricket nut" who dreamed of bowling for Australia. "Then I picked up a guitar and discovered playing three chords impressed the girls much more! At 16, I wanted to be a rock star."
There were several years of dabbling with bands during high school and throughout uni where Corser studied media. Then, at the age of 24 and yearning to perform more, a friend suggested he audition for the American rock musical Rent in Sydney. "I thought 'Musicals! That's not cool. That's not for me. I want to be a rock star'." He auditioned against his better judgement and won the role of Roger with his raw talent. "That's a moment that changed my life."
Corser thrived on stage, improving his performance every night, eventually completing more than 200 shows in Sydney and later Melbourne in 1998 and early 1999. After the exhilaration of Rent, he was desperate to find that thrill again.
A friend's agent signed him based on his Rent performance and sent him for TV auditions, figuring he had a basic acting ability. Late 1999 marked his foray into TV, with a role as the weekly baddie in Beastmaster. Then in 2001, he shot four episodes of Water Rats as rookie detective George Newhouse. The role looked set to be his big break, until the show was axed. His character appeared in the final four episodes. "In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have happened. A new TV drama, McLeod's Daughters, had just started and I was available to work on the show." A seven-week story line became an on-going love interest for one of the lead females for the next two years. After that, he scored a guest role in Stingers as a drug squad detective in 2003.
The intermittent work allowed him to return to Melbourne, where he'd play with his old band Hype when the lead singer went on holidays, and yell his lungs out at AFL matches supporting his beloved Hawthorn.
Now 31, Corser considers himself "an actor first, a musician second". Although he admits to recently recording some demos in a Sydney studio and has been caught jamming with fellow Last Man Standing cast member Stephen Phillips, who plays bass guitar. "Now we just have to find a drummer!" he quips. "Of course I'll always want to be a rock star. I still harbour those dreams. There's still a 16-year-old boy inside me jumping around to rock songs. I pick up my guitar and play every day. Once it's in you, you don't make a choice about music. But I'm a much better actor."