Saturday, December 27, 2014

Adam Willits

Today I'm going to learn about Adam Willits. He's the actor who played Steven on Home and Away, and he's been on other things as well. I don't know how many other things, but I do know he was on some children's show with Justine Clarke.  I learned that when I did my post about her.

Steven is one of my favorite Home and Away characters.  My favorite storyline on the show centered around him.  This is when...feeling despair over his uncle's death, Steven latches onto a hoodlum named Dodge. Dodge brings the message that life is short and you should just be wild and enjoy it. Why study for your science test when you might die tomorrow?  What Steven doesn't know is Dodge isn't just an unfortunate soul who sometimes resorted to petty crime to get by in life. He's a psychopath who is actually the one to blame for Steven's uncle's death.

There's a beautiful episode where Steven has to come to terms with Dodge's identity; and then the betrayal...the disillusionment...and the desire for revenge.

What's interesting is that a similar thing happened to Steven in a previous storyline. Again, he had latched on to the wrong mentor. In this case, it was an abusive gym coach.

I'm intrigued by this type of storyline. Maybe it's because I can relate on some level. I'm sure most people can. I don't know if I've ever latched on to the wrong person, but I have latched on to the wrong idea or belief.  And once I had a whole set of best friends that turned out to not even exist. So I can REALLY relate to the feelings of betrayal and disillusionment.

It also makes me think of Bill Cosby.  After I read some articles about the rape charges, it made me come to a decision. I will never again label a real person as my hero.  Not that Bill Cosby was my hero. I mean I loved the Cosby Show, but that was a long time ago. And Bill Cosby is not a celebrity, I've ever really been into.  BUT...I started thinking that a celebrity I do admire can be hiding some really shameful secrets. And of course, it's not just celebrities. It can be a family friend I adore.  It can be a local person I've read about in the news.  It can be someone that's seem by the masses as being a hero.

So for now on...if I need a hero, it will be a fictional one. That to me is pretty safe.  So if it's a choice between JK Rowling and Dumbeldore, I pick Dumbeldore.  David Tennant, and the Doctor? I pick the Doctor.  Easter Bunny or a local fireman who saved a bunch of children? The Easter Bunny. Now that doesn't mean I'm not thankful for the fireman's actions. He did a heroic deed, and I'd admire him and be grateful. But I'm not going to see him as a great person, because who knows what he does when he's not saving lives. Maybe he beats up his wife. Maybe he forces himself on his daughter. Maybe he bullies young kids on the internet.

Anyway....I should get on to learning about Adam Willits.

I'm going to start with his bio page on IMDb.

Willits was born in Sydney on February 18, 1972.  He's nine months older than me. When I watched the early Home and Away episodes, I often related more to the young characters rather than the adults.  I think the main reason is, I'm immature. But maybe it's also because during the time period of the episodes I was watching, (late 1980's) I was the same age as the teens on the show.  That being said, if I watched current episodes of Home and Away, I might still relate more to the teens. I really don't know.

Now I'm going to look at Willit's filmography.  His first screen thing was in 1984. It was the thing with Justine Clarke: The Maestro's Company.   It was a children's show about opera.

I thought, when I had done the post on Clarke, that I had found a clip from the show. But now I can't find it.  Maybe I should look at the Clarke post.

Nope. I hadn't found a clip, after all. You know...maybe they were on ANOTHER show together. Or maybe there's another show with Clarke, and I thought Willits was on that one instead of the Maestro one. Or maybe they've been on three shows together.

In 1985, Willits was in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.  Justine Clarke was in a Mad Max movie too! Maybe this one?  I'll go look at the credits.

Yep! They were in this together. So Clarke and Willits HAVE been in three things together. And there might be even more stuff.

In 1987, Willits was in a John Williamson story called The Perfectionist.  From what I see in the credits, it looks like Willits played the son of Jacki Weaver and John Waters.

Here's a review of it. I wonder if Willits will be mentioned.

The reviewer is quite negative. He doesn't think the filmmakers did a good job adapting the play to screen.  He says the acting is bad, but doesn't mention Willits personally.  I think he was more bothered by the adult acting.  Willits was just a kid at the time.

Willits started working on Home and Away in 1988. He was there from the beginning.  According to IMDb, he was on 508 episodes. His last appearance was in 2008.

I don't think Willits was on the show continuously as a main star for twenty years. I'm thinking he left and then came back. What I don't know is, if he came back as a cast member or just a guest appearance.

Maybe looking at the list of episodes will give me an idea of things.

It takes a long time to load the list....

Okay. He left in 1991.  Then he came back in 1995 for many episodes. So I think he was back as a cast member.  He was also there a lot in 1996 and 1997.  He made one appearance in 1998.

From 2000-2008, he was in eleven episodes. I'm guessing those were guest appearance type things—reunions, weddings, funerals...that kind of thing.  When Willits would return, was he glad it was only a guest appearance? Or did he wish they'd ask him back as a full-time cast member? I can see from his filmography that he's no longer doing much film and television work. Is he okay with that? Or does he miss it?

In 1991, Willits was on a comedy TV show called Hampton Court. Maybe he left Home and Away for this show?

Lord Wiki says the show was a spin off to Hey Dad...!  There's one thing that comes to my mind when I think of the show, and it's similar to the Cosby situation. It's hard to learn these things about actors in shows we used to love.  But yeah. I know. It's much worse for the victims, of course.

Hampton Court was about four people sharing a flat together in a building that has a no-baby rule. And one of the four tenants has a baby.  They're trying to keep it a secret.  I guess that could be funny.

Here's a very short promo for the show. Willits gets bitten by a budgie.

Oh! There's an episode here too. I'm not going to watch the whole thing, but I'll watch a few bits and pieces.  Willits is the second person featured in the credits. He was one of the main stars.

There's a scene with Willits starting at 3:36.  His character doesn't have money to pay the rent, so he's walking the landlord's dogs instead.  It reminds me very much of a 1980's TV show, the kind that might have made me laugh back then, but now I mostly just end up cringing.  It feels very forced.

There's only two more things on Willit's filmography.  In 2002, he appeared on an episode of All Saints.  I came across this a few weeks ago when I did a post on Willit's co-star, Vanessa Downing. I think they were in the same episode? Or they both appeared on the same season. I forgot.  But I do remember that Willit's character had been in a fight with his wife—a fight involving bows and arrows.

The last item on Willit's filmography is an appearance on Rake. He was a policeman. His character wasn't given a name, so I think it was a small part.

I'm getting the idea that Willit's has become a struggling actor.  Tim and I have been watching the TV show Extras, which is all about the plight of the struggling actor.  It doesn't look easy.  What's harder, though, an actor who was once successful and is now not finding work or an actor who has never been able to find work?

I kind of think the first one is harder. As a writer, I'm a total nobody. That's hard on my self-esteem. But I think my self-esteem would be more damaged if I had once gotten a lot of money and attention for my writing.

That being said...I might be wrong about Adam Willits being a struggling actor. He could be a former actor who's very satisfied with his non-acting life. And maybe he decided, just for fun, that he'd go on an episode of Rake.

Also, he might still be acting. Maybe he's doing theater instead of screen stuff.

Well, enough guessing. I'm going to try to find out more about Willit's life. Though I might not be able to find much. So then I'll have to keep guessing.

Lord Wiki says Willits dropped out of acting and now works in insurance.  No wait. I misread that. He doesn't say he dropped out of acting. He says he dropped out of the limelight.

Does Willits miss the limelight?

The other thing that Lord Wiki says is that Willits was part of a UK stage musical tour version of Home and Away.  Justine Clarke was in it too, along with Julian McMahon, Sharyn Hodgson, and Mouche Phillps.  I wasn't sure who Mouche Phillips was, at first, but now I'm thinking maybe she played Viv?

Yeah. I just checked. I'm right.

Anyway, I would love to see that musical.  I wonder if there's anyone in the world who has a recording of it.  The sad thing is there might not be.  Usually, video-taping is forbidden in those types of things.  And it's not like people, in those days, could be sneaky with their mobile phones.  But maybe the production company itself has a recording.

I found a news clip about the musical. At least that's been uploaded...for now.  And it does include some scenes. So, that't awesome.

They're talking about how most of the actors in the play were NOT from the TV show, and not even Australian. They were from the UK.  But I do see Sharyn Hodgson. So far, I'm not seeing Willits. Though that doesn't mean I think Lord Wiki has his facts wrong. They only showed a little bit from the play.  There's a lot of stuff I'm not being shown, and that might include Willits.

Lord Wiki has stuff to say about Steven on Home and Away, and some of it is about Willits.  He says Willits felt he was very different from Steven.  It seems Willits wasn't too impressed with Steven's nerdiness and dorkiness.  I like Steven for being that way. It kind of reminds me of The Big Bang Theory.  I've watched stuff about the actors, and have gotten the sense that they're embarrassed for their characters—that they want to make sure people know they're not geeks like that.  But I LIKE geeks and nerds, so seeing the actors want to distance themselves from all that is kind of a turn off for me.

Lord Wiki has information about what eventually happened to Steven. Maybe I'll read it, because I doubt I'll be able to watch the show anytime soon. Though I haven't checked to see if it's back on YouTube.  But even if it was, I'm not sure I'd watch it. I'm busy with other shows now.  And if I scheduled in time to watch it, I'd worry that eventually the YouTube account would be suspended, and I'd be left out in the cold again.

So...what happened to Steven?  The last I saw of him he was playing hard to get with Viv. He liked her, but she wasn't interested. Then she started liking him, and he gave her the cold shoulder.  Wait...maybe Emma liked Steven? Yeah. I think that's what happened. And I think when Emma started showing interest, that led to Viv being interested.

I might have it wrong.....

Lord Wiki doesn't really say anything about Viv and Emma. He pretty much just talks about Dodge. Then he jumps to 1995.

Steven comes back as a teacher, and has a short-lived romance with Marilyn Chambers.

Then he has an affair with a student. Yikes! That turns out to be a bit of a mess.

Dodge returns and tries to threaten Steven with jelly beans.  He pretends they are drugs, or something like that. There's a  blackmail thing. Sally gets abducted. There's a fight on the cliff. Steven alienates his family. Then he leaves town.

The student (Selena) returns to Steven's life.  They almost get married; then they don't get married. But then later they do get back together.

Selena and Steven were very on-again/off-again.

I'm going to look at the Back to the Bay site.  I want more information about Steven's 1991 storylines. I want to know what happened after I lost touch with Summer Bay.

I think they might have their facts wrong; or I've forgotten something. They say, in high school, Steven has an affair with an older woman named Jennifer.  He has a brief dating thing with an older woman, but not Jennifer.  I think it was Narelle.

Maybe there was a Jennifer after Viv and Emma?  But the way it's written here, it sounds like Jennifer came before Dodge.

Whatever happened with Steven and Viv? Did they ever get together at all?  Or maybe it's not important. I know now that they didn't end up together.

Well...I've been struggling to find more information about Adam Willits.

I finally found this business resume type thing. It might be the right Adam Willits. I hope.

Wait...yeah. It's him. Home and Away is mentioned.

If I'm reading things right, Willits works for something called Australian Institute for Credit Management.  Here's their website. It's an organization for people in the credit industry. Is that like credit cards?

I think I have things wrong. This might not be Willit's job.  Yeah...the website was just saying he's a member of the organization.

His profession is being the director of sales and services for a company called Ahead of the Curve. When I tried going to their website, I got a 500 Internal Server Error page.

In the past, Willits worked for a company called AATP. They're a telecommunications company. And he worked for Medfin Finance.  I wonder if Willits likes this kind of stuff.

I'm not finding anything else, unfortunately.

Whatever Willits is doing out there...I hope he's doing well.