Ben Chapple Is Acting For Keeps In New Role As AFL Player
Sydney-born actor and soon to be Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts graduate Ben Chapple had never played a game of AFL in his life, but he is set to make his Australian television debut as an Aussie Rules player.
The second season of 'Playing For Keeps', a glamorous take on the world of AFL focused on the wives and girlfriends of players, airs on Wednesday when Chapple will play Liam Flynn - a charismatic footy superstar.
“I was never a massive AFL fan growing up -- I was a Sydney boy so I go for the Sydney Swans, but I played rugby so I never really knew much about AFL and the whole culture,” Chapple told 10 daily.
Chapple didn’t aspire to be an actor, and only two years ago was studying law at the University of Technology Sydney. But it was here where some friends asked him to join in on a sketch comedy group -- and he was hooked.
“Sketch comedy is this crazy genre, and you can be the most obscure characters and you have to go to extremes,” he said.
“I adored inhabiting someone absurd for a two-minute sketch and then moving straight onto the next one, and I was finally finding joy that I didn’t really have on the law side.”
Soon after, he began writing his own plays and within a year decided to audition for WAAPA -- and got in.
“I envisioned WAAPA as a distant dream -- but it was always an imagination, it felt unreachable at the time -- and then to audition and to get in on the first go was something I never dreamed possible,” Chapple said.
In May, in his third year at WAAPA, Chapple and other students were approached by the casting director from 'Playing For Keeps'. Chapple explained it’s rare that television shows reach out to students, so he was excited to audition.
“We’d heard of the show because other WAAPA graduates were already in it, but in my third year I thought it would just be good practice, no one expects to get the job but you still put your all into it,” he said.
“Just a couple of days after I submitted my tape I got a call letting me know I got the role. I dropped to my knees, I couldn’t believe it.”
Without an AFL background, Chapple certainly had his work cut out, but he started research right away.
“I could not have known what that world was like, but talking to people who are part of that culture -- players, ex-players, coaches, fans -- made me realise the show really does mirror real life.
“Being over in Perth I got in contact with some local clubs and tried to learn the actual sport itself, physically that was the most complicated part of the role, learning the sport.”
Despite spending three years over in Perth at WAAPA, Chapple will barrack for the "Sydney Swans till I die".
'Playing For Keeps' Season Two Begins Wednesday, 16 October At 8.30 pm On 10 And 10 Play.
Featured image: Network 10.