James Stewart of Home and Away spoke with Digital Spy about last-minute rewrites in Theo Poulos’ recent plotline.
Theo’s history has been explored on the Summer Bay soap, with the shocking revelation that his father Dimitri was aggressive towards him as a child.
Theo’s aunt Leah Patterson was away from the Bay at the start of the story, visiting her son VJ. Ada Nicodemou, who plays Leah, was unable to attend work owing to local lockdown limitations in real life.
As a result of his painful background with his father, Justin was the one who saw Theo acting abnormally. Initially resentful of Justin’s intervention, Theo and Justin began to form a bond, resulting in a shift in the dynamic before Leah returned.
When asked if Justin’s involvement in the story was always planned, James told Digital Spy: “While Ada was in lockdown, Leah went to help her son in Cyprus, leaving Theo and me, our very capable and adaptive writing team, to play with in terms of plot.
“I think they did a fantastic job. Justin and Theo have formed a wonderful friendship.
“I think we found some gold in there if you’re going to go through a pandemic or a moment when half your crew can’t come to work.”
James went on to say of Justin’s transition from disliking to like Theo: “Justin recognises a part of himself in Theo. He is a young man who, with a little encouragement, may make a significant difference in his life.
“Theo arrived in Summer Bay with a bang, but Justin is now beginning to take him under his wing, and it’s a fun tale to play.”
In this week’s shows on Channel 5, Dimitri returns to the Bay and has a terrifying outburst at Justin in the garage.
Dimitri exits the scene as Justin is struck unconscious, leaving Theo and Leah stunned when they discover what has transpired.
James went on: “Every actor enjoys pretending to fight, and I had a great time doing it. I went to a drama school where every Wednesday afternoon was like a battle class.
“Acting out striking and punching someone is simple, but acting out being hit in the face, falling on the ground, and making all the appropriate noises is more difficult.
“The scenes were both amusing and sombre. Those scenes had a serious tone and seemed important at the end of the day.
“Dimitri will need to see a therapist and deal with some of his earlier issues as a result of the incident. It is unquestionably the turning point that the family required.”
Even after Dimitri has been punished, the story’s ramifications will continue to play out for some time.
When Justin observes indicators that Theo is suspicious around him, he becomes anxious, anticipating him to behave like Dimitri whenever something goes wrong.
James stated, “Theo begins to treat Justin like an authority figure, as if he were someone who could have done what Dimitri would have done.
“We see the consequences of a young man growing up frightened that if he did something wrong, this would happen. So it’s the creases that need to be ironed out. The story’s timeframe appealed to me.
“Matt Evans, who plays Theo, is a fantastic kid in real life. He enjoys studying, practising, and asking questions. He prefers to do things correctly. He does not like to impose himself on others.”
“And obviously, he’s got a six-pack, he can sing, he can compose – and he’s got curls in his fringe,” James said.