The strife of Brian

Tim McCunn is Kane and able to re-en­act some of Aus­tralia’s most mur­der­ous mo­ments, writes Colin Vick­ery

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide -

AC­TOR Tim McCunn is un­recog­nis­able un­der a wig, fake beard and mous­tache. McCunn, play­ing Mel­bourne stan­dover man Brian Kane in Un­der­belly: A Tale of Two Cities, has spent the morn­ing film­ing the in­fa­mous 1979 court­house mur­der of Ray Chuck, the mas­ter­mind be­hind the Great Bookie Rob­bery.

The killing, by a heav­ily dis­guised Kane, was re­venge for the mur­der of his painter-and-docker brother, Les, ma­chine-gunned to death at his Wan­tirna home within me­tres of his wife Judi (played by Kate Ritchie) and chil­dren the year be­fore.

Brian Kane was never charged with the killing, said to have been aided by cor­rupt po­lice, but three years later he was gunned down in a Brunswick pub — a pay­back for the pay­back.

‘‘I orig­i­nally au­di­tioned for the role of Les, but they (the pro­duc­ers) de­cided I’d be bet­ter for Brian,’’ McCunn says.

‘‘I’ve done 20 years of bad guys — killers, drug ad­dicts. Ev­ery­thing I’ve done (in­clud­ing guest parts in Wild­side, Wa­ter Rats and All Saints) makes me the per­fect fit to play Brian.’’

McCunn says Kane is a fas­ci­nat­ing co­nun­drum — though he was one of the un­der­world’s most danger­ous char­ac­ters, he was no cow­boy. The char­ac­ter notes de­scribe him as ‘‘the classy Kane brother, who could bash, toe-cut and kill with the best of them’’.

‘‘When I first saw the char­ac­ter break­down it was fairly ob­vi­ous that Brian is the brother who’s more the or­gan­iser, the thinker, the plan­ner,’’ McCunn says.

‘‘Les is the ex­plo­sive one and Brian is the cool one — he stays con­tained.

‘‘The fact that he shows a lot of con­trol ac­tu­ally makes him an ex­tremely danger­ous in­di­vid­ual.

‘‘To con­struct him was quite easy. I used a lot of still­ness— threat­en­ing pauses and so on. Still­ness is power. Then all you need to do is flick an eye­brow and that speaks vol­umes.’’

Plung­ing into the 1970s Aus­tralian un­der­world has been fas­ci­nat­ing for McCunn. It was an era be­fore se­cu­rity scan­ners and elec­tronic sur­veil­lance. There is no way Brian Kane could get away with a court­house killing th­ese days.

‘‘What doesn’t make sense to me is that there’s no legs in this (gang­ster) life­style,’’ McCunn says.

‘‘Each new gen­er­a­tion that comes along thinks they’re go­ing to be the ones who are go­ing to crack the code and rule un­til they’re old men, but they never make it. His­tory shows that again and again.’’

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