NEW ROLE’S IN CLEVER KOEN’S BLOOD

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY - SHANNON MOL­LOY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

Shortly af­ter por­tray­ing an in­dige­nous spir­i­tual char­ac­ter in a new tele­vi­sion drama, ac­tor Hunter Page-Lochard dis­cov­ered he has a deep con­nec­tion of his own to the famed fig­ure.

The 22-year-old stars in new ABC se­ries Clev­er­man, a thrilling fan­tasy set in a dystopian Aus­tralian so­ci­ety in the near fu­ture.

It’s part so­cial state­ment, part sci-fi plot, with a heavy dose of Abo­rig­i­nal mythol­ogy.

Page-Lochard plays Koen, who be­comes a Clev­er­man in the first episode. The Clev­er­man is a kind of su­per­hero, a ma­jor fig­ure in in­dige­nous cul­ture act­ing as a con­duit be­tween this world and the spirit one.

“Not long af­ter we fin­ished, I was talk­ing to my un­cle who men­tioned that on my pop’s side down the line there was a Clev­er­man in the fam­ily,” he re­veals. “He says it’s in my blood. It’s in­sane. Well, that’s the story any­way — I can’t be 100 per cent sure.”

The rev­e­la­tion came at the end of last year, while the young up-and-comer was mak­ing a four-part doc­u­men­tary se­ries about Abo­rig­i­nal spirit sto­ries and ur­ban leg­ends.

Many of these sto­ries are typ­i­cally off lim­its, PageLochard ex­plains.

“Like the Abo­rig­i­nal bo­gey­man, who we as kids were warned never to talk about due to cul­tural pro­to­col, we went off to in­ves­ti­gate that,” he says.

Clev­er­man has gen­er­ated plenty of buzz among crit­ics both here and abroad.

De­spite draw­ing on sto­ry­telling el­e­ments from thou­sands of years ago, it has very cur­rent themes of prej­u­dice, gov­ern­ment con­trol and so­cial fear.

It will also air in the UK and US af­ter pre­mier­ing at the Berlin Film Fes­ti­val in Fe­bru­ary to rave re­views.

“It’s ground­break­ing and it’s time for peo­ple to see it fi­nally, so I’m over the moon,” PageLochard says. “I think this is a piece of gold.”

CLEV­ER­MAN, ABC, THURS­DAY, 9.30PM

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