It is just after midday on a sunny winter’s day, and Alex Dimitriades eats lunch at a caf?metres away from where he is rehearsing his new play, The Emperor Of Sydney .

As Dimitriades devours his salad, he speaks with enthusiasm about his latest stage venture, talking about how this play by Louis Nowra is close to where he finds his own life these days. The word he keeps using is resonates.

It’s not just the role I am playing, it is the whole play which really resonates with me, he says. It is about what it says and how it says it.

There is a universal theme about family, and you can’t deny family. That topic has the ability to touch anyone and everyone, and that is what I think this play does well.

Not that Dimitriades is suggesting he is having problems with his own clan, who originate from the suburb of Earlwood. Rather, the fiery young artist of past years seems to have given way to a laid-back man of easy charm and good company.

The role of Ari in 1998’s seminal movie Head On has never seemed further away. In his place is a seasoned player with many strong acting credits to his name, as well as an ongoing commitment to such causes as the AIDS Trust.

Dimitriades admits the past few years have marked changes in his life. I would be scared if there weren’t any, he says. It is a natural thing and I think we have to change, and hopefully for the better. But you have to hold on to the things you know.

Being thirty-something now and knowing life a bit better and being a bit more comfortable with it makes the difference.

The stage is providing his life with enough drama, particularly in his reprising the role of Todd, the troubled son, in the final play of the Boyce family trilogy in The Emperor Of Sydney .

It is the same role that Dimitriades created in the 2004 play The Woman With Dog’s Eyes , but the character did not appear in last year’s second instalment, The Marvellous Boy .

With this play, we are wrapping up the lot, he says. We see what direction these people head towards as they deal with the death of their father, who was always such a huge presence in their lives.

This time, the boys of the family are on an even keel, and Todd returns to prove himself. The play then looks at who the power of the family will go to. It looks at what we are given and what we pass on.

It is also about the ghosts we leave behind, and there is a theme that you can free yourself from the past.

While he says Head On marked a major career turning point, Dimitriades also admits that the movie which shot him to fame as a 19-year-old in 1993, The Heartbreak Kid , remains his favourite.

And these days, he finds himself working on both sides of the Pacific, having appeared in such Hollywood fare as Ghost Ship and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo , and he is also slated to make the upcoming Victor In December .

I don’t think I have worked out Hollywood yet, he says. It can be exciting and ugly at the same time, and the amount of activity generated in that town is amazing. It is a tricky one.

The Emperor Of Sydney opens 17 August at SBW Stables Theatre. Bookings on 1300 306 776.

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