Good Neighbours: Aussie soap stars in Hollywood | Virgin Media
Good Neighbours: Aussie soap stars in Hollywood

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With Bad Neighbours 2 moving onto Virgin Movies this week, we got to thinking about the other kind of Neighbours – not the ‘ can I borrow a cup of sugar’, ‘ check out my hardcore Belgian trance at 5am’ kind of neighbour, but the Aussie soap star kind. There are precious few actors who make the transition from Ramsay Street to the red carpet; most Neighbours stars who enter Erinsborough do not have what it takes to break out (sorry Lou, but they just can't let you leave). Every once in a while, however, a Neighbours actor makes it big in La La Land.

Kylie Minogue

Played: Lovable dungaree-sporting mechanic and all-round bonza girl next door Charlene.

Hollywood high: Kylie cast a spell on all of us when she played the Green Fairy in Baz Luhrmann's rousing singalong epic Moulin Rouge, appearing only when copious amounts of Absinthe have been drunk. Kylie: the fairy of choice for French drunks.

Hollywood low: Minogue poured herself into skintight lycra to play special agent Cammy in the laudably terrible Jean-Claude Van Damme Street Fighter videogame adaptation. Her special moves included looking mortified and KOing her agent.

Success rating: 6/10

Guy Pearce

Played: Amendable chap Mike Young, whose relationship with Jane Harris had us all on tenterhooks.

Hollywood high: Christopher Nolan's Memento got him noticed, thanks to a blistering turn as a tattoed nutjob out for revenge. For reasons unexplained, Ridley Scott hid him under old man prosthetics in Prometheus, but Pearce shone as the villain Killian in Iron Man 3.

Hollywood low: His 2002 adaptation of The Time Machine was pretty bum, but Pearce can make even bad movies watchable: look no further than blatant John Carpenter rip-off Lockout, which Guy elevated from sci-fi schlock into fun action romp.

Success rating: 9/10

Alan Dale

Played: Uncle Jim. You know, Uncle Jim? Jim Robinson? Ramsay Street royalty? Starred in over 1,000 episodes? Died of a heart attack after pay demands backfired? Uncle Jim.

Hollywood high: Dale has been around the block a few times: if you need a tall, well-built, vaguely threatening government official in your movie, Alan is your man. You may remember him from such projects as Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Lost and 24, in which he played the Vice President. Not bad, Jim.

Hollywood low: Work must have been thin on the ground in 2004, when he accepted a voiceover gig for Everquest II, voicing 'Generic High Elf'. We bet he did a damn good job of bringing that generic elf to life, though.

Success rating: 8/10

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is available now on Virgin Movies

Margot Robbie

Played: Fashion designer Donna Freedman, whose relationship with Ringo Brown I'm sure we all remember (note to self: make Wikipedia cut-and-paste jobs less obvious before filing copy).

Hollywood high: Well, you can't get much higher than being a blonde bombshell for Martin Scorsese. Robbie played Naomi, the Brooklyn babe who made The Wolf Of Wall Street howl. Those dresses. Those shoes. That accent. Ow-ow-oowwwwooooo!

Hollywood low: She starred opposite Christina Ricci in airline soap PanAm but it was cancelled after one season, proving that TV executives are stupid people. “Let's not let people see any more of Margot Robbie in a stewardess uniform,” they agreed, idiotically.

Success rating: 7/10

Natalie Imbruglia

Played: Beth Brennan, but she also played the role of 'Soap star turned actual respectable pop singer', with hits like 'Torn' and all the other ones.

Hollywood high: Um, we guess that would have to be the role of love interest Lorna Campbell in regrettable Rowan Atkinson comedy vehicle Johnny English. We're stretching the definition of the word 'high' here though.

Hollywood low: Not even being asked back for Johnny English Reborn. That's got to sting.

Success rating: 4/10

Holly Valance

Played: Flick! Lovely Felicity 'Flick' Scully. Holly was cast after a cast member saw a picture of her in a magazine and offered her the job. See, aspiring actors? Get yourself in a magazine and stop being so lazy.

Hollywood high: Taken made a lot of money at the box-office, but you can't really attribute any of the movie's success to Valance's bit-part role of pop star 'Sheerah', who didn't even have the decency to be related to He-Man.

Hollywood low: Even the best videogames make for challenging movie adaptations, so imagine how awful the movies based on bad videogames are. You just imagined Dead Or Alive, a movie based on a fighting game where combatants occasionally stop to play volleyball.

Success rating: 5/10

Liam Hemsworth

Played: Paraplegic Josh Taylor in a recurring role in 2008. He's come on leaps and bounds since; now he can do walking and acting at the same time.

Hollywood high: Being cast as Jennifer Lawrence's gormless love interest Gale in The Hunger Games, cursed to watch the actual Hunger Games from the sidelines like the kid who gets picked last for football.

Hollywood low: His tumultuous relationship with pop siren Miley Cyrus saw the tabloids run him ragged. The Expendables 2 was a bit rubbish, too.

Success rating: 7/10

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is available now on Virgin Movies

Russell Crowe

Played: Cheeky conman Kenny Larkin, whose proposed spin-off, 'Larkin' Around', never came to pass after his four-episode stint came to an end.

Hollywood high: Does being nominated for the Best Actor Oscar two years running count as a high? The man who brought glory to Gladiator and a beautiful mantelpiece to A Beautiful Mind is Oscar catnip. Shane Black's retro cop thriller The Nice Guys looks like a return to form.

Hollywood low: Pushing a TV exec against a wall for cutting his poem from an awards ceremony speech he gave is simultaneously the manliest and girliest thing he could have possibly done, unless he recites sonnets while wrestling bears in his spare time.

Success rating: 9/10

Peter O'Brien

Played: Shane Ramsay, owner of the truest, straightest mullet in all of Erinsborough.

Hollywood high: He's Wolverine's dad! O'Brien – who has the kind of face you can identify as Australian even through a bedsheet with a very high thread count – played John Howlett, father to the young proto-X-Man in the 2009 origin movie that no one liked.

Hollywood low: O'Brien did his time in soap opera purgatory; not just in Neighbours, but in Casualty too. Hell, he even starred in The Bill, which screen son Hugh Jackman has never done and would never do.

Success rating: 2/10

X-Men Origins is available on Virgin Movies now

Kimberley Davies

Played: Sex bomb Annalise Hartman, who was jilted at the altar because she was a total b-i-t-c-h.

Hollywood high: A guest spot on Friends, in The One Where The Stripper Cries. She does not play the stripper, but an old school friend of Ross and Chandler. We forget what happens but we're sure it was hilarious at the time. Could it be more hilarious? And so on.

Hollywood low: Cor, everything else, really. A role on Pacific Palisades didn't pan out, Psycho Beach Party and The Next Best Thing sank without trace, and in 2005, Davies moved back to Australia because she didn't want her kids to “grow up American” (which will happen if you live in America trying to find work).

Success rating: 1/10

Bad Neighbours 2 is available now on Virgin Movies.  To rent, simply press Home on your Virgin TV remote, then go to On Demand > Movies.

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