Adam Garcia On Family, Cars & Ping Pong With Susan Sarandon

Adam Garcia Talks Family, Cars & Playing Ping Pong With Susan Sarandon
Tegan Lawson


Aug 15, 2016

Here, he talks to Tegan Lawson about family life, his musical Singin’ In The Rain, his passion for cars and playing ping pong with actress Susan Sarandon.

The Australian entertainer, along with his wife and 11-month old daughter, now call London home. But when Garcia scored the lead role in the Australian tour of the musical production Singin’ in the Rain, he and his family returned Down Under and of course, they needed a car to get around in.

Enter the Fiat 500X, a small SUV which, by his own admission, Garcia wasn’t sure would be big enough for his compact family. A large Fiat Freemont was on the radar if the little Fiat SUV didn’t cut it.

Singin’ in the Rain is currently showing at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney. The stage spectacular will then move on to Brisbane and Adelaide, before wrapping up in Perth mid-January.

Musical star Adam Garcia and motoring correspondent Tegan Lawson
Musical star Adam Garcia and motoring correspondent Tegan Lawson

An unfortunate calf injury has sidelined Garcia and he will return to his role as Don Lockwood on the Brisbane leg, so I had the opportunity to catch up with the heartthrob from the 2000 film Coyote Ugly and find out how he is getting on with the Fiat 500X.

Garcia is intelligent, engaging and has an interest in a wide scope of topics and we talked everything from expanding and elastic universes, to Susan Sarandon and muscle cars. Very appropriately, it was raining at the time.

What was your first car?

My first car was a hand-me-down white Triumph 2000 Mk2. It was literally bulletproof because it was made from solid steel so very safe and weighed 500,000 tonnes – it was an icebreaker! It was originally my grandmother’s and had a full wooden dash; it was beautiful.

My cousin had it first, then my other cousin, then my brother got to drive it and finally it was my turn – so I don’t know how many thousands of miles it had done, but it was a lot. We got it towed away in the end, but we should have had it embalmed or something, it was such a great car. Harry the Huntsman lived in the car with me.

Are you a car person?

I’m a car person now, but I actually didn’t really used to be. My brother was into muscle cars and had a Holden HQ Monaro for a while. My uncle collected cars, he had a penchant for Ferrari and had a Ferrari Dino which was so good looking. I started to appreciate them. I had what I call classic cars, a Volvo P1800, the same as the one from The Saint, same colour too. Then I brought a 1974 BMW 3.0CS – a really good looking two-door car. So I like European cars.

What are your favourite things about the Fiat 500X?

You want a car with utility, but also something that’s a bit distinct looking and not just a bland box. I think car manufacturers are starting to do that with lots of things, take even the Nissan Qashqai – the new one is a very good-looking car.

You’re not just buying something for utility, you want it to have some sort of personality and I think the Fiat 500X does that. I guess people want a blend – or at least that’s what I want – a blend of personality and function. Something as simple as just being able to go to the shops and have a car that is quiet, fuel efficient and safe.

Adam Garcia and Tegan Lawson talk cars and life on the stage
Adam Garcia and Tegan Lawson talk cars and life on the stage
We know that you sing in the rain, but do you sing in the car?

All the time. In fact it’s probably the one thing that doesn’t put my daughter to sleep in the car. There is always lots of singing and my wife is actually a much better singer than me so she often takes control in that department.

She loves musicals, she knows all the songs. I’m in musicals but I don’t listen to musicals so there’s always a bit of an argument about what should go on the iPod.

Has being a parent changed how you use your car and what you look for in a car?

Definitely, you need something that will haul your family around that’s efficient and comfortable, possibly vomit proof and safe. Come to think of it, my Volvo P1800 is possibly the antithesis of a family car.

Cars are now an incredible sleep device for my daughter. Put her in the baby seat and drive around. You do use them for different purposes now. There is utility in them, I mean they are a utility device essentially.

Inside Andy Garcia's Fiat 500X
Inside Andy Garcia’s Fiat 500X

The Fiat has a rear-view camera, and I never thought I’d need one of those but it’s really handy.

Singin’ in the Rain is an iconic story. Is the show close to the musical?

MGM classic musical, rated the best, the greatest musical of all time. This one is close, even script wise it’s very, very close to the movie. There are various versions of the theatre production, but there’s no getting away from the movie.

You can’t escape the fact that Gene Kelly was a genius and Donald O’Conner was an amazing entertainer. The whole movie was so iconic that you can never get out of its shadow so they wanted to quite literally pay homage to it, tweak it to a certain extent but keep the tone of it, the sensibility and the joy of it. As much as people feel that nostalgia for it, they would get that replicated on stage.

So you’re based in London now, when did you leave Australia?

I left back in 1994. I was back here doing the Tap Dogs movie Bootmen in 1999 and then I got Coyote Ugly.

I remember that! I was in grade 12 and it is iconic.

It’s a slightly cult chick flick. So yeah, went over to London with a show called Hot Shoe Shuffle in 1994 and then decided to be Australian and backpack and do all that sort of stuff. Then ended up finding an agent and started getting work and decided not to come back.

What was it like being a bit of a heartthrob, particularly when Coyote Ugly came out?

I was incredibly beautiful at the time and I think this is an exercise in how looks fade (laughs). I’m sure I became a little vain and arrogant for a while, but for the most part, I’m also incredibly vague so I didn’t quite get it.

Were you initially aiming for musical theatre, or acting?

I was aiming to get out of University for six months and then go back and finish my science degree. I was studying biological science.

Did you ever go back to it?

I did a bridging course at UCLA in behaviorology, just a terms course which was quite fun and I got to be at LA Zoo for a while. I still love it. I think it’s the perennial actors paranoia or neurosis. I’m not going to get another job so I might as well… I’ll just do this job… and then I’ll prepare myself to go back into the normal, real world. Never happened, so I was quite lucky.

What is something you’d like to do in your career that you haven’t done yet?

I think I’d like to do an action movie. Why not? I don’t think I could do Kung Fu, probably more Terminator or something set in space, maybe a bit of Aliens, that sort of thing.

Aliens… was that Susan Sarandon? She’s still got it, so another movie could happen!

No… that was Sigourney Weaver (laughs). But I got to meet Susan when I did a TV show with her daughter Eva.

She was starting a ping-pong club in LA. I remember thinking, what? And she said just come along and join in. So I went along and it was awesome. It’s like beer pong but people take it really seriously. She’d created this pop-up ping-pong club and it was pretty cool.

What’s next for you?

Hopefully a holiday when the show finishes in Perth in January. Maybe a nice long drive in the Fiat.

Adam Garcia singing along in his Fiat 500X
Adam Garcia singing along in his Fiat 500X


By Tegan Lawson


Tegan Lawson is the Lifestyle writer and Motoring Expert for The Carousel. Tegan produces in-depth interviews and reviews and helps readers make the best choice for their next car purchase. Tegan got her first taste of motorsports journalism working for a regional newspaper. She was still a student at the University of Southern Queensland but was moonlighting patrolling the pits at the Leyburn sprints and heading to the drags, as well as working trackside at the Queensland Raceway V8 supercar rounds in the early 2000s. With petrol firmly in her blood, these early days spawned her love of all things automotive. Her driving career as a 17 year-old began with the unique experience of a Suzuki Carry Van that was quickly upgraded to a more image-appropriate Holden Barina.


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