‘WE STOLE A CAMERA TO MAKE OUR FIRST SKETCH’
Working Dog’s ABC comedy Utopia mercilessly sends up government bureaucracy via the fictional Nation Building Authority, an organisation that fails to achieve pretty much anything. The series won the Logie for most outstanding comedy this year, and star and co-creator Rob Sitch gives us the lowdown on season two.
What’s the new season about? For the second series we always wanted to keep the mantra that the office gets bigger, it gets even more applauded and it still manages to not achieve anything.
Do you use events from the Working Dog production offices for the show? While the subject matter is big, large-scale national dreams, what we’ve found funny is the tiny little things sit side by side with that and offices have an ability to do that, so over a period of time we often note something down. One of the guys in our office did a barista course and we all walked around feeling really selfconscious using the cappuccino machine!
Is the security upgrade issue your character Tony faces this season drawn from real life? Twenty years ago (security) was virtually non-existent and now, everybody seems to think they’re fighting the Taliban. That did come from our office. Someone borrowed someone’s pass … Channel 10 (home of Have You Been Paying Attention?) has that on steroids.
Are they trying to stop their presenters from leaving? (Laughs) Yes or the receivers from getting in!
How did you choose the other comedians in the cast? We’ve known and watched and liked (Kitty Flanagan) for a very, very long time and that’s the way we’ve always cast, we’ve never auditioned really. Luke McGregor is a good example, Ed Kavalee who’s an old mate of ours said keep an eye out for this young bloke from Hobart.
Your producer Michael Hirsh told me you guys started filming your own material in 1990 using the camcorder major prize nicked from Funniest Home Videos …. It was in the car park for Channel 9 and we only had very limited access to a part of the wardrobe department and there was a pair of red overalls. We had a helmet, I think it was my old mini bike helmet that we sprayed silver and we shot (S---scared) in the carpark using Jane’s car!
How do you divide the creative tasks up? In something like this I direct, Tom (Gleisner) will sit back and do the re-edit, that’s a real task. Fortunately the set is so big he grabbed one of the fake offices and turned it into his office. And then Santo (Cilauro) will shoot it.
I noticed while you were shooting, Dave Lawson was booking a holiday on TripAdvisor in the background … Those computers are wired up so if he’s got four hours of sitting at a seat you’ve got a licence to Google.
Tell us about your longawaited animation series, Pacific Heat, for Foxtel. Big global drama, crime, nuclear weapons, throw it all in. It’ll look like the future of the world will be resting on their shoulders.
UTOPIA, ABC, TONIGHT, 9PM