Actor James Stewart in his role as Billy King in Gallipoli.
Actor James Stewart in his role as Billy King in Gallipoli. natasha blankfield

James Stewart reveals his motoring history

DURING his latest role as Billy Sing in Channel Nine drama Gallipoli, James Stewart is a legendary Chinese-Australian marksman responsible for killing hundreds of Turks.

It's a far cry from his best known role of Jake Barton in the long-running series Packed to the Rafters which earned him a Logie nomination for Most Popular New Male Talent.

But Stewart has been around for some time on stage and screen, first making his television debut in Breakers before appearing in the US series Beastmaster.

Other TV credits include Sea Patrol, Monarch Cove, H20: Just Add Water, and Mortified.

On the big screen he has appeared in Di Drew's Hildegarde with Richard E. Grant, Nick Cohen's Voodoo Lagoon, Lionsgate's The Condemned and Sue Brooks' Subdivision.

His numerous theatre credits include Cosi, The Narcissist and Svetlana In Slingbacks for La Boite; The Crucible, The Glass Menagerie and Richard II for Queensland Theatre Company; The Narcissist for Sydney Theatre Company; and Caucasian Chalk Circle and Love's Labour Lost for Harvest Rain Theatre Company.

We caught up with him between scenes on set for Gallipoli.

What was your first car?

It was called a Mitsubishi Cordia and cost $5k in 1993. I'd just got out of school and was boat-building. I loved my first car and drove it until it could drive no more.

What are you driving now, and what do you love and hate about it?

I drive a Mercedes-Benz C200 Kompressor - I love the little supercharger and the way my daughter has kicked off the passenger headrest. I hate the air-conditioning.

What cars did your family have while you were growing up?

I remember a Datsun 120Y, canary yellow. Then the second car was Ford Falcon station wagon. Followed by a Toyota LandCruiser - the family travelled around Australia in it.

What is your biggest frustration on the road?

Peak hour is the most frustrating. But it is a good opportunity to put on some audio books.

Do you have any preferred driving music?

At the moment I really love Happy by Pharell Williams.

If you were to pick anyone in the world to go on a road trip, who would it be?

That would have to be my girls.

What is your dream car?

A gunmetal grey Shelby.

Vital statistics

Who: James Stewart.

Born: October 21, 1975.

Resume: The stage, television and film actor is best known for his appearances in the television series Breakers and Packed to the Rafters. He has a daughter with former Rafters co-star Jessica Marais. This year he is also staring in the ABC-TV drama series Hiding.

See him: Gallipoli, Channel Nine, Mondays at 9pm.

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