"...One rip-off artist, seven heroes...and a party to crash..."
What do you get when you put two extremely talented and funny guys in the one room together? Lock them up for twelve months with no food or water (okay, well I made that part up for maximum effect!), and tell them to put their creative minds together and come up with the next big Australian movie?
The result is the very humorous and action-packed flick, "Let's Get Skase", the film that takes the mickey out of the whole Andrew Denton prank about getting a bounty hunter to kidnap Christopher Skase! In a hilarious story of bravery and bravado, Peter Dellasandro assembles an inept bunch of would-be heroes and sets out to the impossible: to catch Skase and bring the mission fortune home.
With a strong cast including Alex Dimitriades, Lachy Hulme, Craig McLachlan and Bill Kerr, "Let's Get Skase" is a slick, canny and enjoyable Australian film.
FEMAIL recently caught up with the creative geniuses behind this new film - Co-writer and Director Matthew George and Co-Writer and Actor Lachy Hulme.
Femail: Well I have to ask, what was it like working with Alex Dimitriades?
M: When we wrote the script, we always had Alex in mind playing the role of Danny D'Amato. He is one of the only other actors we thought about when we first wrote the script. Working with him was great. He loved the project and the script. He brings intensity straight away to a role. The amount of experience that he brought as an actor to the project along with his intensity made for a great combination for the role of Danny.
Femail: How would you sum up the overall experience of shooting this film?
L: It was a lot of hard work because we were working very long hours. At the time when you're making a feature, you don't really have five minutes to sit down and catch your breath. Part of the atmosphere that was created during the making of "Let's Get Skase" was a really genuine effort to replicate the events that were happening on the screen as we were shooting it each day. So you ended up with a very close knit bunch of guys making this film and hopefully this does come across onscreen.
M: We did have a lot of laughs because we're all idiots! (laughs) Especially when Craig McLachlan arrived, the idiot meter went through the roof then!
L: Yeah it was just a blast working with these guys, we've become very good friends as a consequence of working on this movie together. It's nice to be involved in something where it is not just a transient relationship, we've actually formed friendships hopefully for the rest of our lives.
Femail: While we're on the topic of Craig McLachlan, I noticed that a song he wrote features in the movie. Was this a song he wrote specifically for the film?
M: Yeah he did, he did it off his own bat actually. Craig travels everywhere with his guitar, so when you hire him you don't just get Craig McLachlan, you get an industry that goes with it! We were looking for an anthem that really charges up the audience so much so, that they feel like they want to get up and dance and they leave the cinema on a high. The song we were after also had to embody the spirit of the film. Craig was toying around with a song during the making of the film and he ended up presenting us with a song called "We're Coming".
Femail: Lachy, as well as being a co-writer of the film, you also play the lead role of Peter Dellasandro - a character who sees an opportunity of cashing in on the whole Chase for Skase. When writing the script, were you always going to play a part in the film?
L: Absolutely, no one else out there was writing a role for me in a movie so I thought I might as well write a role for myself! (laughs) Fortunately, I have been very lucky with Matthew as he has shown an extraordinary amount of support for me as an actor over the years. We've worked together previously on a film called "Four Jacks" which Matthew wrote and directed and that's how we met, essentially Matthew gave me a job.
M: We were looking for a film to do and Lachy had this core of an idea of what if someone took the Andrew Denton prank seriously? The role of Peter is quite a hard one to play and I think Lachy is one of the only actors in the country who could pull it off successfully. And it's taking something that is so off the wall and making it believable.
Femail: Lachy, the character you play in the movie is based on a real-life person. Was the real Peter Dellasandro forthcoming with information on how best to play the role?
L: Whilst I had to bring a certain amount of interpretation to the part, the real Peter did give me an extraordinary level of access to his own personal life, so I had a firm encyclopedia of knowledge to draw from to try and make it work as a character.
Femail: How long did the whole writing process take?
M: We basically turned the idea we had into a film outline in the space of two weeks, then spent another twelve months writing the script.
L: It was a really interesting process to go through as Matthew had never written with anyone before and neither had I. So to lock us in a room for the year, we had some really funny days...
M: There was one knife fight...
L: Yeah he pulled out the knife so I shot him! (laughing hysterically)
M: So then we started writing again after he got me out of hospital (laughs)
L: So yeah sometimes things got tense but then they could be very funny, this is just all part of the process you have to go through. We hoped at the end of the day that we'd bring an entertaining story to the screen.
Femail: Now with the recent death of Christopher Skase, was there ever any doubt about the release of the film?
M: No the release date was locked in way before that and at the end of the day it's a story.
L: And the film really isn't about Christopher Skase, it's about Peter Dellasandro and his merry bunch of lunatics.
Femail: The actor who played Christopher Skase had an uncanny resemblance to the man himself. How did you set about finding an actor to play the part?
M: We had several "Skase" days in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. I'd walk into a room and I'd be surrounded by 20 Skase lookalikes! (laughs) But once we put them on camera, Wayne Hassell could do the shark eyes, which is what Skase had. And again with the casting of Pixie Skase, we'd have "Pixie" days. That was definitely a big thing we feared, how would we find someone to play Skase, besides doing massive makeup and prosthetic work? Thankfully we lucked upon his twin brother! (laughs)
L: Actually I felt really sorry for Wayne because by the time he came onto the set to shoot his sequences in the movie, the cast of course was so whipped into a frenzy about getting Skase that he nearly got murdered on the first day he arrived! (grins)
Femail: So what is next on the agenda boys?
M: Well Lachy is working on the Matrix films at the moment and I am developing another project at the moment - a World War II film.
Femail: Thanks for your time guys. It's been lovely meeting and talking with you, good luck with the new movie and your future ventures.
L: Thank you, it was our absolute pleasure!
- Annemarie Failla