Another side of Anzac
ACTOR Dan Spielman (pictured) was drawn to the frail human element in An Accidental Soldier which he says is far removed from the heroic Anzac legend. The ABC telemovie is based on John Charalambous’s novel Silent Parts, about a baker who reluctantly joins the army in World War I and deserts during the fighting in France. Spielman said the telemovie looks at an aspect of Australians at war which is rarely acknowledged. ‘‘It’s not often told in our mythology of war, but nonetheless this is very real,’’ Spielman says. ‘‘Our national mythology remains largely unexamined and I have always been concerned about that. This questions the myth that everyone who goes to war must be brave.’’ Production notes for An Accidental Soldier reveal; more than 3300 Australian soldiers were courtmartialled for desertion in World War I. Spielman plays baker Harry Lambert who, after deserting, takes refuge at the farm of Colombe Jacotot (played by French actress Marie Bunel). Veteran actor Bryan Brown plays Captain Terrence Foster, who defends Brown on charges of treason. Julia Zemiro, best known as a comic and presenter, branches out to play Isabelle Bravy, Bunel’s co-worker. Spielman, who has been heavily involved with theatre productions in recent years, says this was one TV production he really wanted to be involved in. ‘‘The script was just really unusual and the idea it would be a bilingual production – something that is rare on ABC – was very interesting to me,’’ he says. ‘‘Thankfully the script was written in English with French subtitles.’’ An Accidental Soldier, which was directed by Rachel Ward, is the first of two ABC productions in which Spielman will star. He has also been cast in a lead roles in the six-hour political thriller Code, which is filming in Sydney, Canberra and Broken Hill. Code’s ensemble cast includes Adam Garcia, David Wenham, Lucy Lawless, Aden Young and Aaron Pedersen. ‘‘There’s general excitement about working in TV at the moment,’’ Spielman says. ‘‘There’s a lot of quality productions coming out the states and it’s spilled over into Australia.’’
– DARREN CARTWRIGHT An Accidental Soldier: Sunday, 8.30pm, ABC1.