On the Couch with Matthew Backer

Matthew Backer AAR On the CouchWho is Matthew Backer?
Matthew Backer is a 35-year-old actor slash Play School host slash wannabe screenwriter slash horror buff slash Buffy buff slash slash-enthusiast.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’d probably still be a journalist. I studied journalism and worked as a cadet in Queensland in my early twenties. I love news but wasn’t shaping up to be a hard-nosed daily news journo. I preferred researching and writing the story behind story. That was, no doubt, the actor in me constantly asking, “why do humans do what they do?”

Who inspires you and why?
At the moment, women like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg. Yes, I guess that gives away where my political leanings lean but, damn, their fearless push for humanity to make the drastic social changes we must make in order to combat something like climate change is incredibly inspiring. They’re also Queens of the clap-back against their naysayers. They’re saving the world with smarts, sass and style. Inspiration for days.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think nowadays the question needs to be “what DO you do to make a difference in the world?” We can all dream about what we would do if we had the resources and money to make a mammoth difference in the world but we all have to start somewhere and I firmly believe small acts make a difference in the world around you. Whether it’s choosing kindness, doing your best to be environmentally friendly, fully supporting worthwhile social causes, knowing what earth-damaging industries your money may be supporting and how you can change/control that, keeping abreast of the news and changing your ways and your thinking to be a fully inclusive, respectful, thoughtful human etc. It all matters.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
What is this mythical land of “holiday destination” you speak of?! *scratches head* When we can jump on a plane and travel elsewhere in the world without having to worry about Lil’ Miss Rona, it’d be somewhere tropical with lots of swimming and snorkeling and kayaking and exploring. I loved Phi Phi Island and Railay Beach in Thailand and have always wanted to holiday in the Maldives. But I’ve also never seen snow so maybe I should nix the tropics and head somewhere snowy when I get the chance.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Any one of Sydney’s beaches. Seriously, who gave Sydney permission to be such a stunner when it comes to beaches? Sydney beaches know how much of a babe they are and we’re spoilt for choice. Tamarama is my fave at the moment, mainly because there are often dogs galore gallivanting around in the rock pools to the left of the beach. Heaven.

What are you currently reading?
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. It’s an unholy mash-up of Beaches and The Exorcist set in the 80s following two best girlfriends, one of whom is randomly possessed by the devil. It’s funny, scary, sweet and strange. I love me a genre blend!

What are you currently listening to?
I listen to The Rachel Maddow Show every other day. As an ex journo, I enjoy politics, in that I “enjoy” the trashy, addictive drama of it all. Rachel is also such a supreme political commentator. She researches like no one else and is whip-smart. When I’m not punishing myself with political podcasts, I’ve been loving the Back From Reality podcast and when I don’t have a podcast playing in my ears, I’m probably listening to one of my many playlists with subtle, mature names like: 90s TUNEZ and POP BANGERZ.

Happiness is?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That show saved me from many hellish moments during high school, my twenties and a global pandemic. She saved my world. A lot.

What does the future hold for you?
Just working as an actor at the moment is success for me after the dumpster-fire of a year for our industry that was 2020. So, if “the future” happens to be reading this, just keep sending more of those acting jobs this way! I’m (slowly) writing a TV show and will also continue to act the fool on Play School and Play School Art Time and improvise my way through Story Salad on the ABC Kids Listen app.

Matthew stars in the Australian premiere of the Mel Brooks kooky musical comedy, Young Frankenstein at the Hayes Theatre Co from 18 February 2021. For more information, visit: www.hayestheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Matthew Backer (supplied)