In Underbelly: Vanishing Act, Tai Hara plays ASIC investigator Vincent, but his role was supposed to be bigger.
“Unfortunately, I was designated a close contact before my last week of shooting,” Tai tells TV WEEK.
“As a result, some scenes had to be changed, and I had to isolate myself from the rest of the actors and crew. But that’s just the way the world is right now.”
COVID has a habit of modifying his plans, which the 32-year-old actor is used to. He and his wife, singer Fely Irvine, had been dividing their time between Australia and the United States until the pandemic struck.
He’d landed roles on dramas like Madam Secretary, in which he played David Akua, Nauru’s de facto president.
He comments, “Madam Secretary was a blast.” “I got to go to New York for that, and working alongside Téa Leoni on such a well-known set was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
For the past two years, Tai and Fely have been unable to return to the United States. But, with the arrival of their daughter Chi in 2020, they’ve had a lot of joy in that time.
“Becoming a father has been one of the most magical things,” Tai adds.
“She’s just the sweetest little girl. She makes my and Fely’s lives so much more enjoyable.”
Fely, 33, whom Tai met at an audition for the children’s musical ensemble Hi-5, is “wonderful” with Chi, according to Tai.
“It makes me so pleased to see her move into her role as a mother, and to see the love and affection she has for Chi.”
Chi is growing up in a “very musical” household, with Fely having been a member of Hi-5 for three years and Tai being a singer and guitarist.
Chi enjoys dancing and music, according to Tai, as well as seeing her mother act on film.
“We’ve definitely been showing Chi all of her old Hi-5 episodes, and I can say she’s a huge fan.
She doesn’t mind The Wiggles as much — there’s a little friendly competition going on – but she adores watching Mum in Hi-5.”
Tai, on the other hand, has only fond recollections of the show that launched his career, Home And Away.
“I still see a lot of my castmates from when I was on,” he says, citing Lincoln [Younes], Alec [Snow], Pip [Northeast], and Charlie [Clausen] as examples.
“We had such a lovely time together. We were all fairly young when we met, and we grew up and learned a lot together – as well as form lifelong friendships.”
He doesn’t rule out his character’s return to Summer Bay. “I’m not sure where Andy Barrett is nowadays.”
“I’m not sure if he’s still in Australia or has fled to another country.” I never say never when it comes to Home And Away; I adore everyone who works there.”
Tai has been very active in the last two years, despite COVID. Based on his personal experiences with film and television casting, he co-produced the web series Colour Blind, which he wrote, directed, and starred in. He’s glad it sparked a conversation about diversity.
He describes the online discussion as “very hot.”
After that, Tai worked hard to prepare for his Underbelly part.
“I spent a significant amount of time researching how ASIC investigates white-collar offences like this. That was both fascinating and eye-opening.”
Tai is now working on Colin From Accounts, a new Binge comedy series produced by Patrick Brammall and starring Harriet Dyer.
“They’re both quite humorous and talented people, so it’s been a full role reversal and a lot of fun.”
Now that the travel restrictions have been eased, Tai is looking for suitable opportunities wherever they may be.
He says, “You never know where things are going to take you.”