Fat Tony & Co.
Robert Mammone as Fat Tony. Robert Mammone is treading carefully. When it comes to Fat Tony & Co., the latest true- crime drama from the makers of the Underbelly franchise, the actor portraying the title character – convicted drug kingpin Tony Mokbel – can talk about the part he’s playing and the way he approached it, but learns he has to be a bit circumspect about the man himself. growing the way it did.
Our guy didn’t have much of a formal education. There really is only one way to attain the success and influence that he wanted. There’s no old- school tie network or connections for him. But if he’d gone to a good school and been welleducated, I have no doubt he would have been even more successful. And legitimately.
Robert, what set Tony Mokbel apart from his criminal contemporaries? When it comes to him, I can talk about the character I play and the decisions we made. And with the character I portray, he’s very smart, very cunning and very motivated to achieve success.
History is littered with some pretty impressive criminals, and some not- soimpressive criminals. And the ones not so are the ones who didn’t have a lot going on upstairs. I spoke with some police officers involved in the Purana task force years ago, and they said he was basically the smartest crim they came across. At the same time, in the underworld you probably need a dash of ruthlessness to back up your intelligence. The character we present is a natural leader. It’s a pretty ruthless world, that’s true, and people achieve that leadership status through physical means. It’s just not given to you by anyone else. You have to take it.
In our portrayal, that was never the road we took for this guy. It was purely through smarts and natural influence over others, his business Was there anything you learned about Tony Mokbel while researching his life that you didn’t expect? That he was so likeable! [ Laughs] That was the thing that kept coming up in talking with people who had met him or had dealings with him – he was a people person.
I had a conversation with a gentleman involved in the law, having a drink with him at a bar, and he said that if [ Mokbel] was in the bar right now, we would know about it. Not because of a heavy vibe but because it’d be a party. Everyone would be having a great time; he’d be buying people drinks and making sure everyone was having fun.
Fat Tony & Co., Sunday, 8.40pm, on Nine