James Stewart steps back in the spotlight for ABC's Hiding
JAMES Stewart was able to balance his dad duties to play a father under pressure in the ABC's new drama Hiding.
The eight-part series is Stewart's long-awaited return to Australian TV since his starring role in Packed to the Rafters.
He plays Troy, whose family is placed into witness protection in Sydney so he can testify against a Gold Coast crime boss.
"I read somewhere that there were 43 people in 2014 who went into witness protection in Australia. I just can't imagine their life," Stewart tells APN.
"It would be terrible. You would be on tenterhooks the whole time. Everyone would be someone you had to have a good look at to make sure they're not the bad guy."
It's a dark departure from Stewart's lovable Rafters role as tradie Jake Barton.
"When my daughter turns 21 and I have to turn around to her and tell her what a good human being is I'm probably not going to pick Troy up as the framework," he says.
"Troy's in a world that just borders on the underworld, but he wants to better himself. He wants to get out of it and he never really intended for this to happen. I think that's a good thing.
"Sometimes I felt for the lead guy (Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston) in Breaking Bad but he was making drugs. You go 'there's no chance in the world you're a good fella'."
During his two-year hiatus from the small screen, Stewart has been looking after his young daughter Scout as his wife, and Rafters co-star, Jessica Marais has pursued TV roles both here and in the US.
"I like fatherhood more than anything in the world," he says.
"But coming back to it (acting) was really, really great. I got to sink my teeth into the best bits of acting that I love."
Hiding was created thanks to the same TV drama development fund, Scribe, which produced House Husbands and The Code.
It also stars Kate Jenkinson as Troy's wife, Lincoln Younes and Olivia De Jonge as their teenage children and Stephen Curry as federal police officer Pinder.
Hiding debuts tonight at 8.30pm on ABC1.