Sud­denly Corser’s ca­reer goes gang­busters

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide -

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:


Rodger Corser.

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