Pass­more’s US mail

Word is the Un­der­belly de­tec­tive is set for Amer­i­can TV star­dom, write Dar­ren Devlyn and Erin McWhirter

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

MATT Pass­more knows all about the dis­ap­point­ment that can come with choos­ing an act­ing ca­reer. He in­vested heart and soul into Last Man Stand­ing, The Cooks and The Alice only to see them quickly axed.

His luck turned with a role in McLeod’s Daugh­ters. And this year, he’s proved a hit in Un­der­belly: A Tale of Two Cities and he has shone op­po­site Gold Lo­gie win­ner John Wood in The Cut.

Now he has been cast in the lead role of the US TV drama pi­lot Mas­ter­work.

In the project, from Prison Break cre­ator Paul Scheur­ing, a male FBI agent (Pass­more) joins a fe­male MI5 agent (Natalie Dormer, The Tu­dors) in a world­wide hunt to re­cover stolen arte­facts.

A sort of The Da Vinci Code meets The Amaz­ing Race, it could make Pass­more as big a US star as The Men­tal­ist’s Si­mon Baker or Without a LaPaglia.

It’s fair to say Un­der­belly has boosted Pass­more’s prospects both here and over­seas.

Pass­more, who dates ac­tor Rachael Carpani, is a strong pres­ence as good cop War­wick Mobbs. Mobbs has spent most of Un­der­belly chas­ing shad­ows, but is now lead­ing the charge against drug kings Terry Clark (Matthew New­ton) and Robert Trim­bole (Roy Billing).

Pass­more’s Mobbs is mem­o­rable for a cou­ple of other rea­sons as well: he’s one of the few New South Wales de­tec­tives who isn’t cor­rupt and one of the few


An­thony char­ac­ters who doesn’t whip off his clothes at the drop of a hat.

‘‘The feel of Un­der­belly is fan­tas­tic,’’ Pass­more (above) says with a laugh. ‘‘We all have dodgy hair. I look like a ’70s ver­sion of Michael J. Fox, but it’s a good gig. My char­ac­ter is based on two sep­a­rate guys and they were pretty un­avail­able, so mine’s a bit more of a ba­sic story.

‘‘I keep my kit on in Un­der­belly, but I was in the bud­gies (Speedos) quite a bit in The Cut. I had to play out a scene in which I lost my trunks, so I had this tiny, skin-coloured G-string on. That was a ‘How’s your fa­ther?’ day for the crew, work­ing with my lit­tle friend.’’

Ac­cord­ing to Pass­more, Un­der­belly’s War­wick Mobbs has some­thing in com­mon with An­drew, the hap­less son of rogue agent Bill Telford (John Wood) he played in The Cut.

‘‘Most of the char­ac­ters I have played have been cocky — the ‘cheat­ing-on-women’ type of guys,’’ he says. ‘‘It was nice to get a guy who has this stan­dard, moral­is­tic, has-his-own-val­ues qual­ity, who’s a lit­tle bit un­com­fort­able with all the other side.

‘‘War­wick makes a heart­felt prom­ise to Don­ald Mackay’s wife that he will do what­ever he can to find out who did it (killed Mackay). He’s more of an ide­al­ist and he brings his heart to it.’’

When Pass­more is busy play­ing cops and rob­bers, the 33-year-old draws on his life in the army as much as pos­si­ble. He spent three years in the army be­fore study­ing at NIDA.

‘‘I cer­tainly don’t re­gret it,’’ he says of his army days. ‘‘It made a man out of me. That was what my par­ents said when I came home: ‘Wow, you’re a man now’. I learned some amaz­ing skills.’’

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