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BY COLIN VICK­ERY

Ebut ac­tor David Field can go one bet­ter. Field’s Wild Boys char­ac­ter, Cap­tain Gun­pow­der, is a 50-year-old vir­gin.

That is be­cause Gun­pow­der (aka Fred North­wood) has shut him­self off from so­ci­ety af­ter be­ing sent to the pe­nal colony as a child for steal­ing a loaf of bread.

It looks as if Gun­pow­der’s luck may be about to change, though, now that he is woo­ing Hopetoun school­teacher Cather­ine Bell (Caro­line Bra­zier).

Field is one of Aus­tralia’s most im­pres­sive char­ac­ter ac­tors with roles in Chop­per, Two Hands and City Homi­cide among his cred­its. VERY­ONE has heard of The 40-Year-Old Vir­gin, You’re play­ing a 50-yearold vir­gin. What’s go­ing on there? I thought I should try to play the un­playable — es­pe­cially for me. What do you make of Cap­tain Gun­pow­der? Here was a guy who’d come to Aus­tralia as an or­phan kid and has had to sur­vive. I think that is why he has os­tracised him­self from the world. Then he meets these young fel­las – Jack (Daniel MacPher­son), Dan (Michael Dor­man) and Con­rad (Alexan­der Eng­land) – and he be­comes like a fa­ther to them. How­much power did you have to shape the Cap­tain Gun­pow­der char­ac­ter? The pro­duc­ers were com­ing from the an­gle that he wants to be fa­mous, but I didn’t re­ally see that in the script. He’s a taxi­der­mist, he’s got the abil­ity to build things, he’s taught him­self to read, make ex­plo­sives — so he’s poorly ed­u­cated, but he’s ob­vi­ously very smart. Is he go­ing to get lucky with the school­teacher? He’s com­pletely ob­sessed with Cather­ine, but he’s got no so­cial skills. He’s in­ept with her. That’s a nice di­chotomy in the char­ac­ter. It looks like you’re hav­ing a lot of fun on Wild Boys. There seems like a gen­uine ca­ma­raderie be­tween all the ac­tors. I’ve al­ways had in­cred­i­ble ad­mi­ra­tion for Michael as an ac­tor. Daniel and I have had a great re­la­tion­ship since I met him (and worked to­gether on City Homi­cide). Young Alexan­der I’d never met and he is a divine young man — great in­tel­li­gence, but great gen­tle­ness. It must be a chal­lenge on Wild Boys get­ting that bal­ance be­tween humour and drama right. With a new se­ries you’re try­ing to find the right en­ergy — the right note. I don’t think we re­ally got those notes to click un­til the fourth or fifth episodes. I think that hap­pens a lot with new se­ries. Some­times we might have to re­hearse a scene 15 or 20 times to get it (the bal­ance) right, but there are a lot of

jokes on set. You can play funny or scary. What do you en­joy most? I al­ways wanted to do com­edy, but once I did Ghosts of the Civil Dead and a cou­ple of other tough roles like Chop­per and Two Hands, I got boxed in (to se­ri­ous roles). I yearned for com­edy and couldn’t get it. Wild Boys, Chan­nel 7, Sun­day, 7.30pm

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