GYTON Grantley shot to fame in the first series of Underbelly, playing the role of one of Australia's most infamous men, Carl Williams.
As an actor, he loves to be challenged, and that was certainly the case when he took the role of another vile character, that of paedophile Kevin Guy in the new Australian film Don't Tell which opens tomorrow.
Filmed in Toowoomba and Ipswich, it tells the story of Lyndal (Sara West) who spoke up about the abuse she suffered as a boarder at a Toowoomba school. The case is seen as the catalyst that led to a Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.
As someone who grew up in Brisbane, Gyton has friends from the area, so the movie was close to home for the former Anglican Church Grammar School student.
"I'm a Brissy Boy and went to 'churchie' as a student," Gyton said.
"Lots of my friends were Toowoomba boarders. My age group was a little after the events of the movie, but I do know lots of people from that time, and it was close to home for me. It was important to tell this story.
"It wasn't the main motivation, as there's many reasons. I'm also an ambassador for an organisation called The Polished Man which raises awareness and revenue to stop abuse against children. It fits in perfectly to play this part and help stop the abuse out there."
Gyton has been heavily involved in a few children's charities over the years, and wanted to be a part of this project in the hope that it encourages other victims to come forward and speak up against sexual abuse.
"It's still happening today but what is changing is that people are having the courage to speak out…that's why it was hidden for so long, nobody would speak up," he said.
"Just like Lyndal spoke out and took on the church, we hope this film will encourage others to talk to friends and family, and speak out."
Playing the role of a paedophile may not be to every actor's liking, but Gyton says it was an honour to be involved with such a cast.
"On any given day there's a whole variety of scenes to be shot, and I knew most of the cast already. I didn't get to work with Jack Thompson but I did meet him at a recent film convention, that was such an honour," he said.
"It was great to see them all, but Sara (Lyndal) is a phenomenal actress and a huge revelation in this movie. The list goes on, but for me it was a real honour to be a part of Don't Tell.
"The one thing I love about acting is the opportunity to explore different characters, put myself fin their shoes and explore the different facets of human life, whether it is a murdering drug dealer, a gay husband or in this case a paedophile."
Gyton approached the role with a determination to do his best to get this true story on to cinema screens.
"It's quite an experience to get into their psyche and try to understand why these people make the choices they make…or act the way they act. That's something I find fascinating about the craft, and I also saw it not only as a great opportunity as an actor, but to aid the film in the sense it's trying to tell the story and make a great social comment," he said.
"There's a common thread that most abusers were abused themselves. In Kevin Guy's suicide note he didn't really admit to any guilt, he didn't understand why other people didn't understand that he loved these girls.
"I'm not defending him at all, it's wrong, it's against the law and it's not natural. As an actor, when you play a part you can't judge your character…you need to find their reasoning, and don't think for a second that I, Gyton Grantley am defending him. That's just a little insight into how I approached the performance."
Gyton hopes Don't Tell will give courage to other victims of abuse to speak up.
"As with The Polished Man charity, the reason why most of these crimes remain hidden for so long is because people won't talk about them," he said.
"Conversations open up people's eyes. Talking can help so many problems, and we hope that Don't Tell will encourage people to talk."
Don't Tell is in selected cinemas from tomorrow.