A Curry in a hurry
Stephen Curry is set to host the AFI Awards, writes Colin Vickery
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.
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Stephen Curry has shed 14kg to portray jockey Damien Oliver, and (below) playing Graham Kennedy in The King. Picture: REBECCA MICHAEL