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Last Man Standing

Travis McMahon

(plays Bruno Palmer)

"Bruno's essentially a bloke with a sensitive side," says Travis McMahon of his character in Last Man Standing.

A nurse by trade, Bruno enjoys working with people and likes taking care of them.  "He has a close relationship with the other nurses at the hospital," says McMahon.  "He has a lot of fun with the women at work - but it's not in a sleazy way, they are genuinely good pals."

But despite the fact that he cares for the sick, enjoys a bit of indoor netball and hangs out with chicks at work, Bruno is no softie.

"He's into going to the gym, lifting weights, drinking at the pub - typical blokey stuff," says McMahon.  "And he loves his footy."  Indeed, the fact that Bruno is a passionate Richmond supporter does not sit all that well with McMahon - a keen Essendon fan.  "Rodger [Corser] is a Hawthorn supporter so he asked that Adam follow the Hawks too.  Unfortunately for me, it was written in the script that Bruno is a Tigers fan so I'm playing a Richmond supporter against my will."

The friendship and interaction between the three male leads was something that appealed to McMahon when he first read the script for Last Man Standing.  "I thought 'This is great.  It's something that hasn't been done before'," he says.  "It's great to be in a show about three really close mates who are struggling through the minefield of relationships and talking about it from a bloke's point of view - but it's not too soft."

McMahon stresses the value that Bruno places on his friends: "Adam and Cameron are his closest mates.  He loves hanging out with them, talking about footy, women - whatever really." 

On the subject of women, McMahon admits that his character's love life could be better.  "Bruno loves women but he's just unlucky in love. Things just seem to go wrong for him and when that happens he likes to be able to sound off with Adam and Cameron."

McMahon reveals that in his first couple of auditions for Last Man Standing, he read for the role of Adam but when he read for Bruno, "it just felt right".  And when the producers brought all three of the lead guys in for a read through, McMahon adds that "everything just clicked."

He reckons that the bond between the actors is one of the best aspects of the show, "We don't have to sell the relationship, we're great mates and it's like we have been for a really long time."

McMahon's first foray into acting came as a kid when he appeared as a chorus line ragamuffin alongside his mother in an amateur production of Oliver.  From there, he went on to appear in numerous school productions but it wasn't until he was a teen that he decided to pursue acting as a career.

McMahon enrolled at the University of Wollongong's School of Creative Arts with a major in acting.  However, after one year, he deferred and took a job at Sydney's Hard Rock Café, which led him to live in an artist squat in 1991.   The following year saw McMahon return to Wollongong before being accepted into the National Institute of Dramatic Art. 

He began the three-year drama course in 1993, admiring actors like Sean Penn and Anthony Hopkins.  After graduating in 1995, Travis secured a role in the Melbourne Theatre Company's production of Kidstakes, directed by Robin Nevin.

The year 1996 was a turning point with McMahon winning a lead role in the two-hour telemovie, and then 13-part series of the Nine Network's cop show, Good Guys Bad Guys - opposite Alison Whyte and Marcus Graham. His character Reuben Zeus had Tourette's syndrome. It aired in 1997, the same year he filmed series two of Good Guys Bad Guys, as well as a guest role with Guy Pearce in Halifax f.p. 1998 saw him guesting in All Saints and Blue Heelers.

In 1999, McMahon performed in Romeo and Juliet and Away for the MTC's school program.

An offer came through in late 1999 for him to appear in Cloudstreet, based on Tim Winton's novel. The show toured for six months in Melbourne, Adelaide, then Zurich, London and Dublin. Then it was back to Melbourne in mid 2000 for the MTC production of the 1800s play Trelawny of the Wells, opposite Justine Clarke. Cloudstreet proved so popular, Travis embarked on a second tour, this time for five months in 2001 in Sydney, Brisbane, London, New York and Washington. He also shot an episode of the ABC series Changi, with Bud Tingwell in the same year.

Then 2002 was frantic, with appearances in the Sydney Theatre Company's A Man with Five Children, opposite Steve Bisley in February, then the Irish rugby play Alone It Stands at the Sydney Opera House in July, and An Unseasonable Fall of Snow - the first play directed by well-known actor Erik Thomson. Travis also starred in the feature film Dope. About this time there was also a guest role in Stingers, which earned him an AFI nomination.

The pace continued in 2003, Travis played opposite Nicky Wendt and John Diedrich in HIT Production's Speaking in Tongues - the play that inspired the film Lantana. This was the year he also auditioned for Last Man Standing.

Early 2004 saw him film the mini series Through My Eyes, before taking a few months off to ski at Mount Hotham over winter.

Surprisingly, McMahon says his most challenging role was voicing the book Peter Pan. "I had to do all of the characters myself. I was way out of my comfort zone. It was tough." A one-eyed Essendon fan, he relented to voice SwanSong; The Paul Kelly Story, written by the Sydney Swans footballer and Brownlow medallist.