Damian Wal­she-Howl­ing


Last week, Janet King star Damian Wal­she-Howl­ing emerged from his Brunswick East home to dis­cover the po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing the body of a lawyer gunned down in the street. Iron­i­cally, over break­fast that same day he’d been ex­plain­ing to Switched On how the sub­ject of the law drama’s se­cond sea­son — a Royal Com­mis­sion into gun vi­o­lence — was “very cur­rent at the mo­ment.” (Fans of his work as tat­tooed killer Benji Ve­ni­amin in Un­der­belly no­ticed a few par­al­lels too). In Janet King, he plays Owen, a for­mer de­tec­tive turned crown pros­e­cu­tor.

The show keeps evolv­ing: it be­gan as Crown­ies, turned into a show about Janet King (Marta Dus­sel­dorp) at the DPP and it’s now about a Royal Com­mis­sion … It still has the same dy­namic be­tween the char­ac­ters. It’s a to­tally vi­able story that they would take a crown pros­e­cu­tor to run a Royal Com­mis­sion into gun crime — which is also very cur­rent at the mo­ment. With ev­ery in­car­na­tion it grows.

Do Owen and Janet clash? There were a lot of sparks be­tween them, you know who is top dog. (But now) there’s more co-op­er­a­tion, there’s a grudg­ing re­spect that’s start­ing to grow.

Were you a Crown­ies fan? Crown­ies was not some­thing I watched a lot of so it was a real sur­prise to me when they asked me to come and do Janet King. I had played Adam Cooper on Blue Heel­ers for four years. This guy’s (Owen) an ex-cop­per so there was a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence I was able to take from do­ing that be­cause we had a lot of con­tact with the po­lice. Again when I did Un­der­belly, I spent a lot of time with de­tec­tives talk­ing about var­i­ous aspects of the story. Lisa McCune said you guys cranked out about a bil­lion episodes of Blue Heel­ers … Lisa’s right, I think we were do­ing 45 or 46 episodes a year, it’s crazy. It was re­lent­less at times. But it builds a real ca­ma­raderie, and that re­mains in a show like this too, but you’re only do­ing it for three months.

How do you find spout­ing le­gal jar­gon? On this show more than any other my so­cial life goes out the win­dow while I’m shoot­ing it be­cause I’m just spend­ing hours and hours and hours drilling lines be­cause they’ve got to be tripping off the tongue.

What’s Marta like on set? Marta is a ma­chine on set. Noone has more to say than Marta in terms of di­a­logue and any scene Marta’s in, Janet King is driv­ing those scenes. She has a very good eye for story and where the key con­flicts are.

Con­grats on be­ing one of four win­ners of the Lexus short film com­pe­ti­tion ... At the mo­ment I’m do­ing a lot more writ­ing and di­rect­ing. They asked us to write a twopage treat­ment based on ‘An­tic­i­pa­tion’. That was what won. So I’ve been writ­ing that since De­cem­ber and we start shoot­ing in un­der four weeks.


Damian Wal­sheHowl­ing is spend­ing more time on writ­ing.

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