The human side of the horrors of war is the focus of a new series looking back at the experiences of Anzacs at Gallipoli 100 years ago
Rising Hollywood star Kodi Smit-McPhee hates war. Now he despises it even more after being emotionally moved playing the key character in the Nine Network TV miniseries Gallipoli.
Smit-McPhee stars as 17-year-old Thomas “Tolly” Johnson who lies about his age to enlist with his brother Bevan (Harry Greenwood) in the Great War and they go on to become the first to land at Gallipoli.
The South Australian teenager says as an opponent of war, being part of the TV series has given him even greater respect for every soldier who has fought for this country.
“I’ve never agreed with war, it’s a horrible thing and horrible to think about.
“Even though this happened a 100 years ago ... it will open the eyes of most people and make them think about war.
“The experience these young boys have is something that you would not want anyone to ever go through.”
Smit-McPhee became involved in the series after being approached by producer Robert Connolly.
The pair had worked together on the Aussie feature film Romulus, My Father in
2007 which helped launched Smit-McPhee’s career. The chance to team with Connolly and return home for an historical production is what lured Smit-McPhee from Hollywood where he had just made Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.
“There was nothing more important than coming back for Gallipoli,” says Smit-McPhee.
“In a good way this is showing that soldiers aren’t the patriotic brave souls they look like, it’s showing them at their most vulnerable in tragic times and when they are terrified.
“They are human like everyone else and it definitely shows that side.”
Like his character, Smit-McPhee was only 17 when he was rushing through trenches and thrusting his bayonet at the Turks on the set of Gallipoli at a rifle range in Melbourne.
“All I got out of it was tragedy and just how horrible it was,” says Smit-McPhee.
The eight hour miniseries is based on Les Carlyon’s book Gallipoli and recounts the battle from the aspect of soldiers caught in an unwinnable conflict.
Gallipoli, 9pm, Monday, Channel Nine.
Bevan (Harry Greenwood) and Tolly (Kodi Smit-McPhee) at Lone Pine.