Sydney’s Toks James has appeared alongside some of the most well-known personalities in his growing screen career – but starring alongside a duck called Daffy was a first.
As one of Australia’s most in-demand male models over 40, Toks stars in new TikTok and online series Lets Get Ducking Famous alongside some of Australia’s most up and coming new talents.
Produced by talent agency Bella Management and BlackFisch creative agency, the series which consists of seven five-minute episodes, can be downloaded at tiktok@lgdfseries.
The entire series was cast using Bella talent with the idea of giving actors who may encounter type casting, or limited opportunities due to their ethnic or personal backgrounds, an opportunity to perform. Author and former Miss Universe Australia Maria Thattil plays Naomi, non-binary model Jonti Ridley is Olivia, and Indiana Blue who starred in Bali Nine plays Naomi’s brother Tyler. Celebrities Jack Vidgen and Tony Bonner make cameo appearances. The duck Steven was played by two ducks – Daffy and Daffy 2 supplied by Golden Ridge Animal Farm in Dural.
Having starred already in campaigns for Myer, Levi’s, Bonds, Harris Scarfe, Big w, Aldi, Target, Iconic and Boody, here Toks tells us more about his career as a ‘hot dad’ and the show.
What is Let’s Get Ducking Famous About?
The show centres around Naomi, 20, and her childhood best friend Olivia, 21, who attempt to become social media famous with the help of Naomi’s pet duck. As their following grows, their relationship is strained making them question why they wanted to go viral in the first place. I play Robert Naomi’s dad. He is a lovable kind of guy, a bit daggy. He tries to play the dad role but Naomi has him wrapped around her little finger.
What was it like working with the rest of the human cast?
I loved it! It’s had been the most diverse group of people I had worked with up to that date and everyone brought their A game and that was because we all wanted it to be a success and a model for true representation on screen.
Were you in any scenes with Daffy who plays Steven the duck?
Yes – Daffy was a complete boss! He came, he saw, he delivered. He also made realise I had to raise my game. Side Note: he was a lot softer than I thought a duck would be.
Any other funny or interesting anecdotes from the shoot?
I never realise how much ducks poo! It’s like it’s straight in and straight out. Also I did wonder why my onscreen son Tyler was always topless.
You had a bit part in TV series Pieces of Her which also starred Toni Collette did you spend any time with her?
I met Toni briefly and she was lovely, just like most Australian actors that I’ve come into contact with. I love being on the set of major productions, I love the atmosphere and to see so many people and moving parts coming together to achieve one goal, shows what we humans can achieve if we put our minds to it.
You also featured as a security guard in Trial by Kyle in 2019 – did anyone see that series?
That’s a good question I’m not sure! That was a shame really because it was quite funny and entertaining. I didn’t know who Kyle was until the show and found out that opinions about him were divided down the middle. In my opinion he is a very funny, smart and compassionate man, I believe he plays into a character that works for him and doesn’t show who he really is but my experience of him was quite positive.
How does playing a dad on screen compare to being a dad off screen?
It was quite different as my daughter is only 8 and I’ve yet to have to deal with some of the issues that I had to deal with Naomi, like bailing her out of jail, twice… in one week! Hopefully I get to skip that in real life but considering how sassy my daughter is, I don’t hold out much hope for myself She’s very proud of what I’m doing and has done a few things herself, like a Lego campaign, a Big W shoot and Playschool on the ABC.
In this show and ad campaigns you’re often portrayed as the hot dad. Is that flattering?
Are you sure you’ve got the right guy? That’s news to me ???? I thought I was just fulfilling the diverse quota for size or ethnicity. It is very flattering, considering that I got teased for my looks as a kid and I don’t think I’m particularly hot but I’ll take it!
What else do you do outside of modelling and acting?
I have my own brand called UNDIVIDED that I’m building up to being a household name. I also DJ and occasionally design logos and illustrate. I’m actually illustrating my wife’s book, Not everyone is going to like you, at the moment, which I think is going to be a great book for kids, explaining the intricacies of beliefs, belonging and friendships.
Dad bods get some fun poked at them – why should we as a society embrace the dad bod and the mum bod?
Mum and Dad bods are just nature’s way of showing you’ve become a fully matured person. The unrealistic body images that we generally get forced upon us are representative of a very small part of society and are usually associated with manufacturers pushing products that mostly, falsely promise unrealistic results.
Most of the people we see are either genetically disposed to look that way, worked very hard at it or are photoshopped within an inch of their lives or all of the above! I think humans are beautiful in all shapes and guises and if people open their minds to that, they’ll start to see it too. I believe if people start to see more campaigns featuring people that actually look like them, retailers will sell more products.
What are your other career aspirations from this point onwards?
My aspirations are quite humble. I wouldn’t mind having a few more bit parts in major movies or tv series, being the ambassador for a clothing brand and making a success of UNDIVIDED. The main reason behind my aspirations is to be able to achieve some kind of platform so I can use my voice for good. Outside of that honestly, quality time with the family is my number one goal.
Let’s Get Ducking Famous drops once a day at 6pm nightly over seven days from Monday, February 6 until February 12, on TikTok via handle tiktok@lgdfseries – the entire series will posted on Instagram and Facebook from February 20.