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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - DAR­REN CARTWRIGHT,

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.

Pic­ture: BEN KING

Be­van (Harry Green­wood) and Tolly (Kodi Smit-McPhee) at Lone Pine.

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