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