Suddenly Corser’s career goes gangbusters
UNDERBELLY has been a career booster for Rodger Corser, who has landed the lead role in Rush and a lucrative car commercial after playing Sgt Steve Owen in Channel 9’s crime drama.
‘‘It was great to be part of that process (Underbelly). Some of my shows haven’t been as well received, so I was blessed to get the gig,’’ Corser says.
‘‘For everyone who was involved in it, it has heightened our profiles.’’
Owen and Const Jacqui James — played by Caroline Craig of Blue Heelers— wear uniforms in the first episode but rise through the ranks during the 13-part series to become senior members of the Victoria Police gang-busting Purana Taskforce.
Corser says Owen and James were ‘‘an amalgamation’’ of real Victoria Police members who worked on stopping Melbourne’s gangland war.
‘‘There were 50 to 60 people on the Purana Taskforce in real life,’’ Corser says. ‘‘The investigation went on for years and people would come and go. It’s too hard, in a 13-part drama, to portray all of those people and give the audience a sense of who they were.
‘‘The audience needs to get to know a handful of characters so they can identify with them over the series. So what the writers did was amalgamate a lot of police members and put them into a couple of characters that the audience could identify with.
‘‘Steve was based on the experiences of four or five different guys.’’
Corser spent time with police who worked for Purana.
‘‘I was lucky that I worked very closely with people who were there — Purana Taskforce and Victoria Police members and detectives,’’ he says.
‘‘I became friends with some of those guys and girls. They gave me a real insight into what had happened because they were the people who were dealing with the real guys on a daily basis.
‘‘I asked questions until they were pretty much sick of me.’’
Former SeaChange favourite Kevin Harrington, who plays Lewis Moran in the crime drama, took the opposite approach to Corser.
Despite playing a character based on a real person, he was involved in a dramatisation of the story and was ‘‘not trying exact truth’’.
‘‘A lot of dramatic liberties have been taken (in the series),’’ he says. ‘‘When I got the role . . . I did a little research, but decided to let the scripts tell the story.
‘‘I didn’t meet anyone from the story and that was a conscious choice ... I didn’t want to be clouded by anyone’s personal views.’’
Corser says the plot was the real highlight of Underbelly.
‘‘We all lifted as actors because it was based on truth and there was always that authenticity about the narrative,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s easily the best thing I have done and it will be up there with some of the best television we have seen in Australia.’’
Copping it sweet: