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