THE BIG ASK MARTIN DIN­GLE-WALL

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - with DAR­REN DEVLYN

UN­DER­BELLY: A Tale of Two Cities has of­fered Martin Din­gle-Wall the role of a life­time.

Din­gle-Wall plays Mel­bourne stan­dover man Les Kane, who was de­scribed as the most vi­o­lent crim­i­nal in Aus­tralia.

It’s been said his wife Judi (played by Kate Ritchie) was a good woman mar­ried to a bad man. Her life was shat­tered in 1978, when she and Les ar­rived home af­ter a night out.

Judi walked to the kitchen and Les went to the bath­room to clean his teeth. Three gun­men burst in and forced Judi and her chil­dren to the floor. Les was ma­chine-gunned to death and his body dragged to the boot of his car. Nei­ther he nor the car were found. How do you get your head around a char­ac­ter like Les Kane? I re­ceived a vast amount of ma­te­rial from pro­duc­ers, then started to build this mo­saic— the fam­ily tree and the food chain and where they all sat. Peo­ple re­ferred to Les in sweep­ing state­ments, such as the most vi­o­lent man and so on. That’s when it dawned on me that it was a sheer plea­sure, what I’d been given (script). It was the free­dom of tak­ing bound­aries away and see­ing where your own nat­u­ral adrenalin and in­ter­pre­ta­tion take you. It was al­most like a freestyle im­pro­vi­sa­tion. Do you think Les was a vic­tim of his up­bring­ing? Both (brother Brian and Les) were born into crime. If he was as­sessed to­day it would be bipo­lar, patho­log­i­cal— any­body who has no im­pulse or de­sire to stand in front of their emo­tions and steer them, but just be dragged across a field of bro­ken glass by them. I think the most fas­ci­nat­ing part about him was that he was a fam­ily man. As far as I was con­cerned, he was mo­ti­vated to pro­tect his own, but he had no con­cept of a rea­son­able bound­ary. He viewed his be­hav­iour as his birthright and that is what is so ter­ri­fy­ing. You have to un­der­stand that th­ese guys had big per­son­al­i­ties. My first hur­dle was, if this guy was this bad and ter­ri­fy­ing . . . there had to be some­thing about him that would en­gage the heart of a good woman. How does Judi deal with his vi­o­lence? Judi’s pri­or­i­ties at the start of the show have shifted. She knows the thun­der is com­ing. You can feel the ground rat­tling, the stam­pede is hurtling to­wards them. She has all but aban­doned try­ing to con­trol Les. She knows the road he’s on and to her it’s all about (pro­tect­ing) the chil­dren. How do you think Les and Brian Kane adapted to the chang­ing land­scape of crime— the em­pha­sis shift­ing from il­le­gal gam­bling and so forth to hard drugs? Les’s prob­lem is he was in­ca­pable of adapt­ing. One of their strengths was that Brian knew he had Les on a leash and that Les was a pit bull. That worked in their favour, but only to a point be­cause Brian also knew if he and Les kept go­ing like this, it couldn’t end well. Les was so blinded by pride, pro­tect­ing his own stash. Brian was the brains, the strate­gist, he con­ceived ev­ery­thing. There had to be some nor­mal­ity in Les. But then there would be those mo­ments, af­ter that 13th drink, he was that kind of guy who’d cross over. Not just be­ing sus­cep­ti­ble to vi­o­lence, but start­ing to sniff it out. Do you think there’s merit in the the­ory that most vil­lains don’t see them­selves as vil­lains, but as peo­ple who are mis­un­der­stood? Mate, you will never get any­one to fol­low you as an ac­tor un­less you find out first and fore­most what it is you like about the char­ac­ter (you’re play­ing). Even with psy­chopaths, there has to be a glitch in there some­where that peo­ple can re­late to. It’s been said every­one’s per­son­al­ity is like a key­board. The way you iden­tify your­self is by three or four keys. That’s your sound. We have ac­cess to all the sounds, it’s just a mat­ter of which keys you use to iden­tify your per­son­al­ity.

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