Mad, but in a good way.
NO family is normal. That’s one of the key points rammed home by the aptly titled Mental and the film’s star, Anthony LaPaglia, couldn’t agree more.
‘‘ They all have their own idiosyncrasies. In fact, if you put a magnifying glass on anyone, you’ll find something that makes them look a little nutty. Hey, they do it professionally in the States!’’ shouts LaPaglia, who has lived and worked in LA since the 1980s.
‘‘ There’s been a few cases where quite credible people are suddenly being portrayed in the press as lunatics because they’re touching on something somebody doesn’t like.
‘‘ It’s very easy to start zooming in on somebody’s eccentricities.’’ And what should we zoom in on with LaPaglia?
‘‘ It’s up to you, you’ll have to find it,’’ he smiles. ‘‘ I’m not going to help you.’’
Mental is writer/ director P. J. Hogan’s first return to Australia and Toni Collette since
It was also a return of sorts for LaPaglia who, after releasing
Balibo to great acclaim locally, took a two- year break from acting.
The break was a kind of recovery for the 53- year- old after an eight- season stint on TV drama
Without a Trace.
With a sheepish grin, LaPaglia admits it was a rude shock going back to work. ‘‘ I enjoyed retirement . . . a little too much.’’
He has since whipped through several projects, including the Aussie TV drama ( from Balibo director Robert Connolly) and
Underground, about Julian Assange, which screens Sunday here on TDT.
But that job resulted in him bailing on a small part in Quentin Tarantino’s much- hyped Django
Unchained after constant delays on the movie forced him to choose between the two.
‘‘ This is not uncommon by the way,’’ LaPaglia says. ‘‘ The list of actors that had to drop out of that film – Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Joseph Gordon- Levitt – is just endless because of the scheduling problems. ‘‘ That’s just the way it goes.’’ In Mental LaPaglia plays a small- town mayor who has neglected his wife and daughters to the point he barely knows their names. When his wife ( Rebecca Gibney) is sent to a mental hospital, he is forced to re- connect with the kids.
Over dinner, he tells his daughters he wouldn’t have so many problems if he’d had boys.