IT’S a good thing Jason Gann’s not motivated by money. The Australian actor, whose TV show Wilfred has become so successful in the US that it attracts guest stars such as comedy legend Robin Williams, has been dealt a major financial blow.
Gann, who plays bongsmoking mutt Wilfred in the US remake of the Australian comedy series, says he pleaded guilty to assaulting a bus driver at the 2007 Spring Racing Carnival because he was advised that would give him the best chance of escaping a conviction that could have stopped him working in the US.
He was ordered to pay the driver $325,000 compensation.
‘‘ I lost a lot of days from worry and a lot of money,’’ Gann says.
‘‘ It has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. It has cost me everything financially.
‘‘ I’ve made mistakes and done my best to remedy them, and sometimes no matter what you do it doesn’t play in your favour.
‘‘ I don’t do this (acting) for the money. I do it for the same reason I dressed up as a bear for 100 kids in Toowoomba in 1991. People like to see me perform.
‘‘ I’ve sacrificed everything for this (America).
‘‘ I had this opportunity to come to America so there was only one choice to make (plead guilty).
‘‘ In Australia, I was running out of opportunities. How do you put Wilfred in as ‘ gangster number three’ in Underbelly.’’
Gann says some people were ‘‘ saying I was a sell-out’’ for taking Wilfred to America.
Robin Williams was not one of them.
‘‘ I’ve never been as nervous to meet someone,’’ Gann says.
‘‘ He said, ‘ It’s an honour’ (to meet Gann). I said, ‘ The honour is mine’.
‘‘ To have someone like that respect me after all the things I’ve gone through was very special.’’ SEE our iPad app for the full Jason Gann story plus our special report on the success and failure of US remakes Wilfred, Eleven, Tuesday, 9pm