A stretch for Wood
A busy theatre and TV schedule keeps challenging veteran actor John Wood, writes Darren Devlyn
JOHN Wood considers himself one of the lucky ones. Gold Logie winner Wood has not only avoided the curse of unemployment since his 12-year run on Blue Heelers ended in 2006, he has thrived in a string of theatrical and TV productions.
Today, however, Wood feels as though his achievements as an actor are of little significance.
He’s fortunate his rural retreat escaped the bushfires that ravaged Victoria, but is sad for the loss of life inflicted by the disaster.
Wood had been in Sydney with his family when he heard about the fires and made an urgent flight back to Melbourne.
‘‘We saw the footage on TV and got the first flight back,’’ Wood says.
‘‘We drove back from the airport and through Eltham, Research and Warrandyte, Wonga Park, Lilydale to home to give us an idea of what was happening. When we got within 5km from home, we saw the first burnt-out paddock.
‘‘We’ve been extraordinarily lucky. Our place is untouched.
‘‘The wind had turned around. We are bloody lucky, because our fire plan is non-existent, really.’’
It appears Wood’s acting colleague Reg Evans, 80, and Evans’ partner, artist, Angela Brunton, were not so lucky.
The pair have not been heard from since fierce flames tore through their town, St Andrews.
Evans, regarded as one of Australia’s finest character actors, appeared with Wood in Blue Heelers.
‘‘Reg was a man of his community, active in the Labor Party and very much an Actors’ Equity man. He was a terrific bloke,’’ Wood says.
Wood (right) speaks from the courtyard of Gasworks Theatre in Port Melbourne, where he’s in rehearsals for the one-man show A Stretch of the Imagination, which opens in Melbourne next month.
There are plans to take the show to Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, adding to a tour schedule that Wood at times has found challenging.
He has barely been home in 18 months, busy with theatrical productions and filming roles in Underbelly and The Cut.
Matt Passmore, who plays good cop Warwick Mobbs in Underbelly, was reunited with Wood on the set of The Cut, in which they appear as father and son.
Set in the murky world of sports management, Passmore portrays Andrew, the hapless son of rogue agent ‘‘Wild’’ Bill Telford (Wood).
TThe Cut, M ABC1, Monday, 9.35pm Wry look at sports management Duration: 55 minutes HE series opens with largerthan-life Bill breaking the shackles of work pressure by taking a holiday in Thailand.
While sipping a cocktail, the bar is bombed, with Bill next seen waking to find wife Roz (Julieanne Newbould) and Andrew by his bedside.
Bill and Andrew might be estranged, but it soon becomes apparent the sports-management business will struggle to survive if Andrew is not prepared to run it in Bill’s absence.
The more Andrew delves into his dad’s affairs, the more obvious it becomes that Bill’s business practices are not entirely ethical.
Wood is chuffed the role of Bill was written with him in mind.
‘‘ The Cut is a great concept. We are all amazed by the bad behaviour of sports stars,’’ Wood says.
‘‘ It’s unfortunate footballers achieve all this notoriety and money before some of them have a chance to mature.
‘‘You see it happen in our business ( acting), too. People become enormously wealthy and famous and go nuts. I didn’t become famous until into my 40s and I was slightly more mature, but it still goes to your head a bit.’’