TALE TIME

TRUE STORY: HAMISH BLAKE AND ANDY LEE’S NEW SE­RIES IS STRANGER THAN FIC­TION

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SEANNA CRONIN

It’s a beau­ti­ful sunny day in Mel­bourne and there are beau­ti­ful blooms of flow­ers at Flem­ing­ton Race­course. You couldn’t ask for bet­ter con­di­tions for a film crew, es­pe­cially one wran­gling 150 ex­tras.

Hamish Blake and Andy Lee are aware of their good for­tune to get this iconic lo­ca­tion on such a magic day.

It’s the set­ting for a hi­lar­i­ous story at the cen­tre of one of the episodes in sea­son two of their Lo­gie-nom­i­nated com­edy se­ries True Story with Hamish & Andy.

“Some­thing like to­day’s shoot would not have come close with­out the Vic­to­rian Rac­ing Club gen­er­ously say­ing to us ‘we’re happy to be in­volved and you can shoot at Flem­ing­ton’. I don’t even know if you can hire Flem­ing­ton,” Blake says.

“It’s a bit of a side ef­fect of do­ing sea­son two. We’re lucky in that re­gard that peo­ple have seen the show and get it when we ex­plain it to them.

“You can’t re­ally do a Mel­bourne Cup story and shoot it at your lo­cal park.”

Blake says the pro­duc­tion team was spoiled for choice this year thanks to the pop­u­lar­ity of the show.

“There were 8000 sto­ries this time around, so peo­ple cer­tainly watched the show and went ‘I’ve got a story that can beat that’,” he says.

“There are a few easy fil­ters (to whit­tle them down). If it in­volves you be­ing more than PG drunk or drug use then that weeds out half of them.

“It was months to get every­one on a short list and to talk to them. It’s like play­ing Guess Who. There are a few key things like can you come down? Does this story last half an hour? Are you cool to tell it and does the re­search team think this is a truly clas­sic tale?”

While he and Lee aren’t in­volved in choos­ing the sto­ries, to en­sure their re­ac­tions are authen­tic when they first hear the tale, they do help write and di­rect the ac­com­pa­ny­ing re-en­act­ments.

“It’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing writ­ing for this,” Blake says. “As op­posed to sit­ting down at the start of an episode of Love Child where any­thing could hap­pen, you know what hap­pens. It’s fill­ing in the colour.

“Say we had a to­tally dif­fer­ent show where we said ‘here’s 10 sto­ries we’re go­ing to make up and film’ … I don’t think you’d be­lieve them. There are sev­eral sto­ries this sea­son where the only rea­son you’ll be­lieve this as an au­di­ence is be­cause the per­son is sit­ting there go­ing ‘this hap­pened’. If you wrote it as a piece of fic­tion and gave it to a cre­ative writ­ing teacher then they’d say ‘do it again and make it more be­liev­able’.”

An all-star Aus­tralian cast has been as­sem­bled again this year in­clud­ing Essie Davis, John Wa­ters, Dave Hughes, Mandy McEl­hin­ney, Luke McGre­gor, Bruce Spence, Denise Scott, Dan Wyl­lie and Michala Banas. “We got a lot of Hol­ly­wood peo­ple throw­ing them­selves at us – a lot of Depps and Goslings – and we said ‘send us a tape of you do­ing an Aus­tralian ac­cent’,” Blake jokes.

“We’re match­ing peo­ple to sto­ry­tellers. You can’t cast a ter­rific ac­tor who looks noth­ing like the per­son.”

True Story with Hamish & Andy airs Tues­days at 8.40pm on Nine

WE’RE LUCKY IN THAT RE­GARD THAT PEO­PLE HAVE SEEN THE SHOW AND GET IT WHEN WE EX­PLAIN IT TO THEM

Hamish Blake and Andy Lee are ex­cited about the new sea­son of their Chan­nel Nine se­ries True Story with Hamish & Andy.

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