A Curry in a hurry

Stephen Curry is set to host the AFI Awards, writes Colin Vick­ery

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide -

FANS of Stephen Curry will be shocked by his ap­pear­ance when he hosts the AFI Awards this Fri­day.

The diminu­tive ac­tor has lost a whop­ping 14kg over re­cent months but it’s not be­cause he’s ill or has an eat­ing dis­or­der. In­stead, he is shed­ding the pounds for The Cup, an up­com­ing biopic on well-known jockey Damien Oliver.

His fast-fad­ing fig­ure wor­ried friends at first, who thought that he must be suf­fer­ing from some sort of dire dis­ease. He says he had to quickly re­as­sure them that ev­ery­thing was OK.

‘‘I’ve got to lose 16 ki­los all up and I’m cur­rently in the gym three days a week and rid­ing horses two days a week,’’ he says.

‘‘We shoot in March so from the start of Jan­uary I’ll be rid­ing four days a week and start­ing to do some train­ing on the race track.’’

Curry took out last year’s AFI Award for Best Lead Ac­tor in a Tele­vi­sion Drama for his por­trayal of TV leg­end Gra­ham Kennedy in The King (he also won the 2008 Lo­gie for Most Out­stand­ing Ac­tor for the same role.)

He was amazed when or­gan­is­ers asked him to host this year’s AFI cer­e­mony (its 50th an­niver­sary) and is a sur­prise choice given his lack of ex­pe­ri­ence and the in­ter­na­tional cal­i­bre of re­cent hosts Ge­of­frey Rush and Rus­sell Crowe.

Hol­ly­wood favourite Eric Bana, Os­car win­ner Dr Ge­orge Miller, of Happy Feet fame, ac­tors Guy Pearce and Hugo Weav­ing, di­rec­tor Fred Schep­isi and Academy Award win­ner Adam El­liot will be at­tend­ing the cer­e­mony.

‘‘My first re­sponse was ‘ how many peo­ple have said no to this?’,’’ Curry says of the host­ing gig.

‘‘When I tell some­one I’m host­ing the AFIs every­one breathes in sharply. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean ‘go for it’. I think it means ‘that’s pretty scary’.’’

It is the tele­vi­sion, rather than fea­ture film, awards that are gen­er­at­ing the most buzz this year be­cause it is such a high-qual­ity field.

It’s the year of Un­der­belly with nom­i­na­tions for Best Tele­vi­sion Drama Se­ries, Best Lead Ac­tor (Gy­ton Grant­ley), Best Lead Ac­tress (Kat Ste­wart), Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tor (Vince Colosimo and Damian Wal­she-Howl­ing), Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress (Madeleine West), Best Screen­play (Peter Gawler) and Best Di­rec­tion (Peter An­drikidis).

It faces some tough com­pe­ti­tion from City Homi­cide, Rush and Sat­is­fac­tion as well as East West 101 across most cat­e­gories.

Chris Lil­ley’s Sum­mer Heights High is favourite to take out Best Tele­vi­sion Com­edy Se­ries (other nom­i­nees are The Hol­low­men, The Li­brar­i­ans and Chan­don Pic­tures).

‘‘There are a lot of things to cel­e­brate,’’ Curry says. ‘‘Across the board we’ve got amaz­ing tal­ent. We should be proud of our­selves.’’

Curry lists Sum­mer Heights High, Un­der­belly, The Hol­low­men and East West 101 favourites.

For Curry, host­ing the AFIs is nearly as fright­en­ing as tak­ing on Gra­ham Kennedy in The King.

He re­alises the film and tele­vi­sion in­dus­try is lit­tered with en­ter­tain­ers who dam­aged their ca­reers host­ing ma­jor awards cer­e­monies. It is a high-pro­file job that can turn into a dis­as­ter if it is done badly.

Who can for­get Steve Vizard or Wendy Harmer fronting the Lo­gies? David Let­ter­man’s one-time stint pre­sent­ing the Academy Awards was a shocker.

Curry is co-writ­ing all of his own ma­te­rial for the AFIs with com­edy writer Adam Zwar.

‘‘In terms of stakes, it’s very high be­cause (if you do it badly) you could look like a mas­sive tool,’’ he says.

Most peo­ple re­mem­ber Curry as Dale Ker­ri­gan in 1996 film The Cas­tle, but in the past cou­ple of years he has been es­pe­cially pro­duc­tive, star­ring in movie Rogue and tele­vi­sion shows Thank God You’re Here, Stupid Stupid Man and The In­for­mant as well as The King.

He is one of the very few ac­tors who has shone in dra­mas as well as come­dies. Next on screen will be mini-se­ries False Wit­ness, a nu­clear at­tack thriller with a Bri­tish and Aus­tralian cast in­clud­ing Dougray Scott, Rachael Blake, Jeremy Lind­say Tay­lor and Richard Roxburgh.

as re­cent per­sonal

Char­ac­ter:

Stephen Curry has shed 14kg to por­tray jockey Damien Oliver, and (be­low) play­ing Gra­ham Kennedy in The King. Pic­ture: RE­BECCA MICHAEL

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