Tele­vi­sion: Cliffy role no walk in the park ..................

Kevin Har­ring­ton per­fects the Cliff Young shuf­fle in a new tele­movie, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

CTOR Kevin Har­ring­ton be­came so fix­ated with play­ing Aussie sport­ing hero Cliff Young he went be­yond his com­mit­ment of los­ing 10kg for the role.

Har­ring­ton shed al­most dou­ble that to play the Vic­to­rian potato farmer who be­came a house­hold name in 1983 af­ter win­ning the gru­elling Syd­ney to Melbourne ul­tra marathon aged 61.

Clif­ford won the the 875km race in five days, 15 hours and four min­utes, claim­ing that his pre-race prepa­ra­tion in­cluded run­ning for 2-3 days straight round­ing up sheep in gum­boots.

The first thing Har­ring­ton did to lose weight was cut out bread. Then he started walk­ing, up to two hours at a time, run­ning and rid­ing an ex­er­cise bike.

In all, Har­ring­ton took four months to drop the weight nec­es­sary to play Young in the ABC1 tele­movie Cliffy, which airs on May 26.

Not since he played Lewis Mo­ran in the orig­i­nal Un­der­belly in 2008 has Har­ring­ton’s weight been an is­sue.

On that oc­ca­sion, Har­ring­ton had to add 5kg to his medium-sized frame to play the crim­i­nal. Adding weight is a lot more en­joy­able, quicker and eas­ier than shed­ding it, Har­ring­ton says. Even af­ter he dropped sev­eral clothes sizes, Har­ring­ton was still not con­vinced he had lost enough weight to rep­re­sent how lean Young was.

‘‘I com­mit­ted to lose 10kg. Af­ter I had done that rea­son­ably swiftly, I thought that I’d lose an­other five and ended up los­ing 17kg. But he (Young) was skele­tal and I reckon that I’d have to lose an­other 10kg if I wanted to get right down to his shape.’’

Los­ing weight was just one as­pect of Har­ring­ton’s prepa­ra­tion for the role. He also spent hours per­fect­ing the vet­eran’s unique shuf­fle-like run­ning style with one of the Syd­ney to Melbourne ul­tra marathon or­gan­is­ers, Martin Noo­nan.

Noo­nan filmed Har­ring­ton in mo­tion and then cri­tiqued the ac­tor’s style and changes that needed to be made to per­fect the ‘‘Cliff Young shuf­fle’’.

‘‘We worked on the ac­tion in a step-by-step process and he gave me feed­back on how to get it ac­cu­rate,’’ Har­ring­ton says.

‘‘You have to sit a bit lower when you’re run­ning so your thighs and bum mus­cles are do­ing more work and your knees and an­kles aren’t.’’

Har­ring­ton also also spoke with Young’s sur­viv­ing brother Sid about their life­style and up­bring­ing.

‘‘I spoke to his young brother, who is 90 now, and what I got was that Cliffy ap­pre­ci­ated the beauty of na­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment,’’ he says.

‘‘That’s why he en­joyed run­ning so much.’’

– DAR­REN CARTWRIGHT

Cliffy: Sun­day, 8.30pm, ABC1

Cliffy.

Kevin Har­ring­ton stars in

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