Alex Bertrand on swimming with sharks, Rebel Wilson and art imitating life

Gillian Wolski
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Les Norton star Alex Bertrand dropped by Build Series Sydney. Photo: Build Series Sydney.

Homegrown star Alex Bertrand swung by Build Series Sydney to chat about playing the titular character in ABC’s Les Norton, a retelling of iconic Australian author Robert G. Barrett's classic novels.

As country-boy-turned-King’s-Cross-bouncer Les, Alex dives head first into Sydney’s debaucherous ‘80s heyday of illegal casinos, underground criminality and crooked cops.

While many actors won’t admit to sharing similarities with their on-screen personas, the 29-year-old happily draws parallels between himself and Les.

“Believe it or not I actually did work in the Cross when I was younger... I was a host and a bouncer,” he admits, adding that the experience “helped his character”.

Despite Les’ hard-as-nails exterior and penchant for fisticuffs, Alex tells Danny that “there are similarities [between us] but not in the intimidating sense, more that he’s a bit of a softie”.

Alex goes on to mention how working with his Les Norton co-star, comedian Rebel Wilson, “definitely keeps you on your toes”.

He recalls one scene in episode one in particular where the Pitch Perfect funny lady threw him off by ‘freestyling’ her lines every single take.

“It took me eight or nine takes to keep a straight face,” he laughs.

That was nothing compared to filming a scene that required Alex to spend six hours in the freezing sea two kilometres off Bondi Beach.

Not only did he suffer “borderline hypothermia” but he tells Danny that he wasn’t the only thing in the water that day.

“They [the crew] neglected to tell me that two mako sharks had just come up and buzzed the boat right before we got dropped off,” he says.

Watch the full chat with Alex above.

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