He’s one of the good Guys

Quiet achiever Guy Pearce adds an­other Aussie role to his re­sume, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY PAY TV -

OR an ac­tor who has ap­peared in his fair share of Hol­ly­wood block­busters and ac­claimed Academy Award win­ners, Guy Pearce could be seen as some­thing of a quiet achiever.

Be­cause he seems to es­chew the trap­pings of star­dom, it would be easy to un­der­rate the lo­cal lad who went from work on Neigh­bours to an eye-catch­ing drag-queen post in The Ad­ven­tures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert be­fore break­ing into Hol­ly­wood with a star­ring role in the cel­e­brated 1997 crime drama LA Confidential. He gave the big-bud­get thing a whirl, but roles in such sci-fi spec­ta­cles as The Time Ma­chine didn’t sit com­fort­ably with him.

In­stead, he played it a bit stealthy, tak­ing on chal­leng­ing projects such as The Dark Knight di­rec­tor Christo­pher Nolan’s tricky thriller Me­mento.

Or he’d pop up un­ex­pect­edly in Os­car­win­ners such as The Hurt Locker or The King’s Speech, bring­ing tex­ture and depth to brief cameos or sup­port­ing roles.

Just re­cently Pearce started to em­brace his higher pro­file, ap­pear­ing in Prometheus and sign­ing on for Iron Man 3, which he’s film­ing in the US.

De­spite his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, though, he still re­turns home from time to time and lends his tal­ent and pres­ence to home­grown pro­duc­tions, among them the two Jack Ir­ish tele­movies on ABC1.

Based on Aus­tralian crime nov­el­ist Peter Tem­ple’s award-win­ning crime nov­els Bad Debts and Black Tide, the tele­movies fol­low the ex­ploits of Pearce’s Jack Ir­ish, a for­mer crim­i­nal lawyer try­ing to put his life back to­gether af­ter a per­sonal tragedy that left him a shat­tered man who sought so­lace in the bot­tle.

Back on the straight and nar­row (well, pretty much) thanks to the in­ter­ven­tion of his mates, Jack has turned his back on the law and now works as a debt col­lec­tor and un­of­fi­cial pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor for ‘‘colourful rac­ing iden­tity’’ Harry Strang (Roy Billing), when he’s not try­ing to get the hang of ar­ti­san car­pen­try un­der the guid­ance of vet­eran cab­i­net­maker Char­lie Taub (the late Vadim Glowna).

A stel­lar Aussie cast has been as­sem­bled for Bad Debts and Black Tide, with Colin Friels, Steve Bis­ley, Don Hany, Diana Glenn, Lachy Hulme and House Hus­bands stars Rhys Mul­doon all adding sup­port.

Some­thing of a stand­out, how­ever, is Bea­cons­field and Kenny star Shane Ja­cob­son as slovenly, rude and bloody ef­fec­tive cop Barry Tregear, Jack’s contact on the po­lice force. (Ja­cob­son proudly points out his dad Ron also ap­pears in Black Tide).

‘‘Barry is lit­er­ally a dough­nut-eat­ing cop,’’ says Ja­cob­son, laugh­ing as he re­calls a scene where his char­ac­ter makes the most of a bowl­ing club buf­fet.

‘‘But he’s also the kind of char­ac­ter who re­ally wants to get the bad guys and will do any­thing to make that hap­pen. He’ll cross a thou­sand lines.

‘‘Crim­i­nals don’t fol­low the rules. Barry wants to catch crim­i­nals. So he’ll do a lit­tle bit wrong to catch some­one who’s do­ing a lot wrong. And he’s also one of those guys, you prob­a­bly know one or two, who are as rude as all get out but they do help you.’’

Ja­cob­son’s not short of work lately – he has the crime thriller The Mys­tery of a Han­som Cab on the way, is film­ing the ensem­ble drama The Time of Our Lives and even ap­peared in the re­cent big-screen hit The Bourne Legacy – but he jumped at the chance to work with Pearce.

‘‘One thing you need to know is Guy is the nicest per­son in en­ter­tain­ment,’’ Ja­cob­son said.

‘‘I’d give any­thing to have 10 per cent of the ca­reer he’s had – I’d be happy to walk away with that. He’s done so much but I think a lot of peo­ple don’t ac­tu­ally recog­nise it.

‘‘He’s al­most like the football player no one re­ally talks about be­cause he’s never won the Brown­low but when you look at his stats you re­alise he’s been there all the time, play­ing like a cham­pion.’’

8.30pm, ABC1.

Sun­day,

Shane Ja­cob­son and Guy Pearce.

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