Cut­ting loose

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - GEOFF SHEARER AND ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS Un­der­belly: Ra­zor, Will air on TDT later this year

THE blood­thirsty ra­zor gangs of 1920s Syd­ney con­tinue to throw long shad­ows and have nearly claimed a new vic­tim.

Ac­tor Jeremy Lind­say Tay­lor ( in­set) said the in­tense process of bring­ing the role of no­to­ri­ous gang­ster Nor­man Bruhn to life for the up­com­ing se­ries Un­der­belly: Ra­zor left him an empty shell, un­able to move and ‘‘ strug­gling’’.

‘‘ It takes its toll; night­mares and not sleep­ing, break­downs, but it’s worth it, com­pletely worth it,’’ he said on set in Syd­ney re­cently, run­ning a hand through his cropped and dyed pe­riod-style hair­cut.

Lind­say Tay­lor has in­vested, in his words, ‘‘ 150 per cent’’ in the role of Bruhn, a Mel­bourne-based fa­ther-of-two sent by un­der­world fig­ure Squizzy Tay­lor to Syd­ney in 1927, where he takes on brothel queens Kate Leigh ( Danielle Cor­mack) and Tilly Devine ( Chelsie Pre­stonCray­ford, pic­tured).

It was Bruhn – a lov­ing fam­ily man at home and vi­cious evil strate­gist in the crim­i­nal un­der­world – who struck on the idea of us­ing ra­zors as weapons.

In a time when be­ing found guilty of mur­der meant you were hanged, and locked up for car­ry­ing a gun, the cold steel blade of a ra­zor could ei­ther dis­fig­ure or kill and in­stil ab­ject ter­ror.

If you were found with one, you told the cop­pers you were just on your way home for a shave.

‘‘ It’s the role of a life­time,’’ said 37-year-old Lind­say Tay­lor, best known for his stint as ‘‘ Buf­fer’’ on Sea Pa­trol.

‘‘ It’s the break I’ve been wait­ing for for 20 years. The writers have given me ma­te­rial that I just never would have be­lieved pos­si­ble.’’

But the evil deeds and di­chotomy of the role messed with his head. And it was only the ground­ing of his fam­ily and fi­ancee, high school teacher Marnie Pl­ef­fer, that kept him go­ing.

‘‘ We had Easter break. I did the first block, first two episodes and I couldn’t have gone on and done this block [ with­out them],’’ he said.

‘‘ I lit­er­ally couldn’t move. I had noth­ing. I phys­i­cally was an empty shell and we had a week off, thank God. And that week gave me a lit­tle bit of strength back to get through this. Had that not been there I hon­estly think it all could have gone to s---for me. I didn’t have any­thing left in the tank.’’

At one stage it was sug­gested he have coun­selling.

‘‘ Yeah some peo­ple sug­gested talk­ing to some­one, but I talk to my fi­ancee and she’s in­cred­i­bly ground­ing,’’ he said of Pl­ef­fer, whom he will marry in Novem­ber.

‘‘ I wouldn’t have been able to do this role as well as I have if I hadn’t met her three years ago. She’s re­ally put my feet firmly on the ground.

‘‘ If I’d rung it in, it wouldn’t be good. If you pro­tect your­self as an ac­tor it wouldn’t be good and so I did ev­ery­thing you see emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally.’’

Lind­say Tay­lor moves on to shoot­ing a role in South­ern Cross’s drama Wild Boys next week. Again he will play an­other ‘‘ evil bas­tard’’.

‘‘ Once I have a rest I’ll be good to go. They won’t know what hit ’ em,’’ he laughs.

It’s the break I’ve been wait­ing for for 20 years. The writers have given me ma­te­rial that I just never would have be­lieved pos­si­ble

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