Lots of children dream of being movie stars. But Matthew Krok of Castlereagh, Australia, has already been one—a very successful one—for several years. In fact, Matthew may be one of the best known actors in all of Australia.
Although he’s only 11 years old, Matthew has already been in a number of commercials and a feature film, and for four years has had a supporting role in a television comedy called Hey, Dad. He’s the winner of two People’s Choice awards and has been interviewed in and appeared on the covers of numerous national magazines.
But the two things that truly seem to impress people when they get to know Matthew may surprise you. First, they’re impressed that he’s from a big family (five children) with strong values, something that’s all too rare in the acting industry. Second, they’re amazed at how humble he is, despite all the attention stardom can bring.
Maybe it’s because he understands that fame doesn’t last forever.
“We’re not really concerned about how long Matt’s success in acting continues,” explains Matt’s father, John. “If it continues, great. If not, he’s doing well in school, and he’ll go on to something else.”
“I only got into acting because we were trying to earn some spending money,” Matthew explains. “First we were gathering cans for recycling, but all that driving around ended up costing Mum a lot of money in petrol.”
So when his sister Lisa talked about a friend of hers who had done some TV work, “we thought we might have a go at that. We went to an agency. I auditioned and got a commercial. From then on, they kept asking me to do commercials. It was slow at first, and then it started getting faster and faster. Then there was a break, and that led me to doing the television series.”
Hey, Dad is the story of a widowed father who is struggling to be both mum and dad to his children. Matthew plays the part of a neighbor, the son of a single mother. There are lots of lessons learned, lots of discussions about family values.
“But the family on the show is a lot different from our family, because their lives are so disjointed,” Matthew’s father says. “I think that sometimes Matt finds it hard to relate to the situation.”
Maybe that’s because Matt knows families can be—and should be—forever. He talks reverently about receiving a priesthood blessing from his father. He’s excited that he’ll soon turn 12, because it means he’ll have the opportunity to receive the priesthood himself. It also means he will be able to do baptisms for the dead in the Sydney Australia Temple, about an hour’s drive from his home. He’s pleased that his family was shown on a national news program having prayers before dinner. He’s excited to have four cousins serving full-time missions—and would like to serve one himself. And he has a great love for his parents and his brother and sisters.
“My brother, Ethan, teases me a lot,” Matthew jokes, “but that’s what older brothers do!”
Seriously, he adds, “I know my Heavenly Father loves his children and that we’re in families to feel that same kind of love.”
When you visit Matthew and watch him play with his friends, you realize that he’s a normal 11-year-old Australian. He lives in the country, jumps on the trampoline, helps his dad and brother with chores, and likes to ride his bicycle.
He will probably continue to do well as an actor. But as one director wrote in a letter to the Krok family, “If in time he gets out of acting, I wouldn’t worry. He has a solid set of values that will see him through.”