Breezy style helps draw in view­ers

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

T’S called the long con – an ex­tended bit of trick­ery and de­cep­tion that aims to put one over your tar­get. How­ever, the mak­ers of UK crime ca­per Hus­tle have been en­gag­ing in a dif­fer­ent kind of long con, for years draw­ing in view­ers with tales of grifters and scam­mers who use their il­le­gal tal­ents to rip off marks who re­ally had it com­ing.

In Aus­tralia, ABC1 is now air­ing the seventh sea­son of Hus­tle whose cre­ator, Tony Jor­dan, re­veals some tricks of the se­ries’ trade. I’ve heard you re­fer to con artists as the aris­toc­racy of crime. Does hav­ing these smart, el­e­gant crooks make things eas­ier for you as a sto­ry­teller?

In the early days, when we were pitch­ing Hus­tle, we were asked some very valid ques­tions: ‘‘Why would we be cheer­ing for these guys? They’re crim­i­nals, ba­si­cally’’. The an­swer to that, and some­thing we al­ways en­sured we did with the sto­ries, was to make the mark some­one you’d want to go af­ter your­self. We’ve had our marks be bankers, politi­cians, ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies – peo­ple many mem­bers of so­ci­ety don’t have a lot of re­spect for be­cause they’re char­la­tans. The con only works if the mark is greedy, so the hustler might bring about their down­fall or de­struc­tion, but these peo­ple have brought it on them­selves.

is kind of light in that re­spect. It’s a drama but it’s not dark or gritty.

Yeah, I think that kind of thing is bol­locks. Mak­ing a drama doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily equal mak­ing peo­ple mis­er­able. I think you mis­judge the au­di­ence if you think that way. There is of course some re­mark­able, out­stand­ing drama that is a bit grim and a bit hard to watch at times, but you can’t say that’s the only way to make good drama. There are plenty of med­i­cal dra­mas out there you think you have to watch be­cause they’re ap­par­ently so good for you. There must be only so many cons the crew can pull. Does spend­ing so many sea­sons with these char­ac­ters, and

You do get to know the char­ac­ters bet­ter, al­most inside out, the longer you spend with them and the ac­tors do as well. What’s tougher is find­ing sto­ries for them to work within. Some­times we’ll tell the same story more than once, but find a new way to ex­plore it. The show is an ensem­ble char­ac­ter piece rather than a con-of-the-week sort of thing.

It’s the sign of a good show, one with cre­ative in­tegrity and a strong heart, that it can be about the group rather than in­di­vid­u­als. Peo­ple thought it might be the end when Adrian Lester (as Mickey Stone) left, but Marc War­ren (as Danny Blue) took the lead and he was great. It didn’t end the show when Marc and Jaime Mur­ray (as Sta­cie Mon­roe) left ei­ther. The only per­son I’d strug­gle to do the show with­out would be Robert Glenis­ter as Ash Mor­gan – he’s kind of like the engine room. I’ve al­ways seen him as the hub – as Hus­tle’s wheel. Even if you brought in an­other ac­tor, I think it’d be hard to re­place Robert Glenis­ter. Is there a char­ac­ter that’s the most like you?

Sta­cie (Jaime Mur­ray) is my cross-dress­ing side . . . You could do worse than look­ing like Jaime Mur­ray if you dressed in drag, Tony!

I think there was a bit of me in Danny Blue when I started. I’ve al­ways had that ir­rev­er­ent streak, as far back as when I was at school. So mostly Danny, I’d say. I like to think I’m as smart as Mickey, but I’m not.

Satur­days, 9.20pm, ABC1

in­tro­duc­ing the odd new one, help keep things fresh?

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