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Ned Kelly - Geoffrey Rush Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

EXTRACTS taken from the Australian press conference....

Q. How do you feel about playing Superintendent Hare?
A.
At first, I got the script, a version of the script about 15 months ago and it kept saying things like, 'Superintendent Hare gallops into shot, dismounts and races up to the police station'. And 'Superintendent Hare races from the police station, jumps on his horse and …' And I thought, 'no, this is too hard for me'. [Laughs]
About a year later, they sent me the script and it said, 'Superintendent Hare arrives by train'…
[Laughs again]
And 'Superintendent Hare walks through the train addressing his men' and I went, 'oh, I'll do this'.
It was great. I get asked a lot about what people think about the Australian film industry, 'how's it going, Geoff', they say. Here and in America. And I would say, you know, if you look at what on at the Barbican in London at the moment, there's a retrospective of current Australian cinemas; terribly impressive. There's probably 25 features screening over 10 days. And it's knocking the Brits sideways, because they're seeing about this industry that they don't quite recognise is there.
But that to me doesn't mean that it's in great shape. I think it's something that is always very fragile and needs a lot of nurturing.
But, we do have people like Tim White, who produced this film, and people like Jan Chapman who produced Lantana. I get very attracted to those kind of productions, because these are the visionary people who are still kind of doing it from square one. They've still got to struggle very hard.
There is no essential industry infrastructure that assures that the industry will just rock along and keep making exciting marketable movies. People still do it with a great sense of pioneering, I think.
And this was one of those projects where I thought, if I can be involved -- at 23, I could have played Ned. [Laughter] Possibly. I really wanted to attach myself to the scale of this sort of production, knowing the kinds of actors who were going to be involved.
And with Gregor at the helm, and with Working Title, who I'd worked with in Britain, through their Australian limb. I knew that we had a good chance of getting something substantial up, and then see whether we could make a good film. Because they're difficult beasts to make.

 

Q. And how do you feel about being portrayed as sort of the villain of the piece - the man who captured Ned Kelly?
A.
Um, I liked it, it was in the script. He's very … he's not written very much dialogue, and Gregor gave me a very key note. He said, the moment you step off that train, I want the audience to know this gang is not going to survive. That the forces of law and order and going to squash them and kill off any instinct or impulse that they're following.
And that was very good to play. To have an adversary like Ned, or to be his nemesis, where I'm not just an out-and-out villain. He's a guy who recognises an equal adversary. I mean, it's not in the script, but Hare historically came out from South Africa in the 1850s. And he joined the newly formed Victorian police force that was set up around the time of the gold rush.
And he would have been Ned's age at that point. And I think if given a choice, you'd be an Irish shitkicker, or you join the police force and kind of pull yourself up by the bootstraps. He'd already done that when he was 22, and was going to kind of pursue that relentlessly, but that was his background.

Q. What's it like working with such a young crew and rushing to do the final scene first?
A.
We did, actually, we shot the showdown at the end on the first night.
Ledger: Yeah, first week!
A. I loved telling people, because we didn't shoot up at Glenrowan for a lot of logistical reasons. The art department wanted to create a certain look for the film. But I can actually claim that I shot Ned Kelly in the Yooyang [phonetic] [Laughter]. Which can be quite painful. It was great. I had about three or four weeks on the film, and we had a table [phonetic] read-through maybe a week or two before we started the principle photography.
And I'd read the script, but it's only when you hear it out loud and you start to hear people's voices coming towards the characters, it is - we forget - it is a story about a gang of young guys within a family with a sister and a mother. And these boys are aged between 17 and 22.
And the great thing about John McDonald's script is it is terribly poignant and very sad that this predetermined life, that this path that they're on … it's a great, very palpable story about doomed youth, which I think has a very strong resonance for people now. That we're not offering potential in the future to the next generation. And that's very much at the heart of this story.

Q. How long did it actually take to film and finish that scene?
A.
I think we did four nights, didn't we?
Jordan: Um, well, I know on day two we were a day over on our schedule. [Laughter] We actually shot the - we shot the biggest stuff in the film first, and we ended up doing Glenrowan exteriors. Took us about six or seven days. Then there were all the interiors as well, which we shot at the end.

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