If you (or your ex-boyfriend’s brother) have a Netflix account and a predilection for rom-coms, chances are you’ve already enjoyed the streaming service’s latest romantic offering, Falling Inn Love — and subsequently developed a crush on its leading man, Australian actor Adam Demos. Don’t worry, we get it.
With his camera-ready looks (have you ever seen a longer torso?) and easy aptitude on screen, it might surprise some to learn that Demos came to the acting game a little later than most. Growing up in the small, blue-collar town of Wollongong, about 50 miles south of Sydney, he didn’t consider acting to be a realistic career choice and instead started working construction after graduating from high school, temporarily burying his aspirations.
“It took me a long time to get up the courage to give it a try,” Demos tells EW. Finally, at age 23, he took the plunge, calling his mom one fateful day and telling her to Google acting classes in the area. “I was raised by a mum who encouraged me to go with my gut,” Demos says. “I called her that day because I couldn’t stop thinking about acting. I had to get rid of it somehow; I just had bite the bullet and try it or commit to the life that I was living right now. With acting, you jump in front of the camera and either you love it or you realize you just like watching movies, so I had to figure out which one was me.”
With his mom’s online search turning up a drama school in Sydney, Demos signed up immediately, regularly making the hour-and-a-half journey to the city to attend a beginners’ class. Soon he was impressing teachers enough to land a role in a play. There was just one problem. “I’d never actually seen a play before — that shows you how green I was,” Demos says with a laugh.
Fortunately, that inexperience didn’t shine through from the stage, and an agent in the audience took interest. Demos began landing small parts on Australian television, including every Aussie actor’s rite of passage: the iconic soap opera Home and Away. After putting together a reel, he found himself jetting out to L.A. and ultimately landing a role on the third season of UnREAL, Lifetime’s scripted series about the behind-the-scenes drama of a Bachelor-like dating show.
Relocating to rainy Vancouver, Canada (where UnREAL was filmed), from the perpetually sunny skies of eastern Australia could’ve been quite the adjustment, not to mention that Demos was walking onto the set of an already established show in an industry he was still relatively new to. Luckily, there were a few friendly faces to keep him right.
“It was intimidating working with the likes of Constance [Zimmer] and Shiri [Appleby] because they’re just so good, but they could not be lovelier,” Demos says. “Now Constance is one of my dearest friends, which is amazing; she’s like family. She could be the greatest human being on planet earth.” Zimmer even invited her former costar over to spend his birthday at her home, not wanting him to be “without family” on his big day. “If you walk away with friendships like that, it often surpasses the show itself,” Demos says.
After being asked back for the fourth and final season of UnREAL, Demos sent out an audition tape for Falling Inn Love, which centers on a stressed-out American woman who moves halfway around the world to run an inn and falls for a local carpenter. Feeling a connection to the “powerful backstory” of his character, Jake Taylor, and excited to be part of something that “makes people feel good,” Demos had the pleasure of heading back Down Under to shoot — though this time to New Zealand, not his native Australia.
“Weirdly enough, New Zealand is only three hours away from Australia and I’d never been there before,” says Demos, who had to soften his Aussie accent slightly to pass as Kiwi Jake. “It’s incredible. You just see why they shoot so many movies there. Sometimes it’s almost too much for your brain to comprehend: the scale of the mountains and how stunning it is. We felt very spoilt.”
The picturesque landscape wasn’t the only thing that wowed Demos: He was equally impressed by the movie’s director, Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions, Just Friends), and his costar, Christina Milian. “Christina’s one of the friendliest and nicest people around,” Demos says. “She’s been successful and been in the public eye forever, yet every single day while we were on set — no word of lie — she’d be so appreciative and grateful to be there and just taking in every single moment.”
Behind the camera, it was Kumble’s “pretty awesome” resume that initially sparked interest in the project for Demos, who adds that he felt safe in the director’s hands immediately after “chatting with him and seeing what he’s done.”
Since the flick’s Aug. 29 release, fans have shown their affection for Demos on social media, and the actor is overcome with gratitude for the warm response. “My social media’s definitely grown, which is kind of wild,” he says. “The feedback’s been incredible, and I can’t thank everyone enough for all they’ve been saying.”
And he fully understands the appeal of “kicking back and indulging in all the good feels” that a rom-com has to offer. “Ultimately people just want to feel good after a movie at the moment. That’s why rom-coms have such a strong planting in the world, because people want laughter, a happy ending, and to just to feel good.”
As for Demos, he’s certainly happy with where his career is, though it’s unlikely it’s anywhere close to ending. “I come from a construction background and that’s hard work, so to be lucky enough to be employed in acting and get to do it on set every day? How can you not be grateful?” he says. “It’s my favorite thing to do in the world, and that’s something to be happy about. I never want a day off — I’d rather an earlier call time so I’m there longer.”
He might come to regret those words if his career continues at the pace it’s going, but for now Demos’ outlook is as sunny as a summer’s day in Sydney. “I’m very fortunate,” he says. “All I want to do is continue to work with high-caliber people like I’ve been lucky enough to do so far. If I can keep up that trend, I’ll just be stoked with that.”
Falling Inn Love is currently streaming on Netflix.