The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

By George, he’s become a class act

- Amy Price amy.price@news.com.au

George Pullar is learning to take advantage of any opportunit­y, even if it means landing a breakthrou­gh US role from an undergroun­d hotel in Coober Pedy.

At the end of filming the second season of Channel 10 drama Playing For Keeps in late 2019, the Brisbane actor landed the lead role playing a street kid in independen­t Australian movie Moon Rock For Monday, in cinemas on April 22, which required him to shave his head and lose weight.

Pullar (pictured left) was filming within the fortnight and had boarded a light plane to the South Australian mining town when he landed a callback audition for starstudde­d US crime series, Coyote.

“I couldn’t fly to Los Angeles because I was in Coober Pedy of all places,” Pullar said.

“I got up at 4am, smashed a couple of coffees, did this audition in an undergroun­d hotel on my crappy laptop. “I was on a plane a month later filming on an enormous US film set in

Mexico and living in LA for six months until COVID cut us short.”

“It was a huge stepping stone for me.”

In the CBS series Pullar plays the rookie partner of a Border Patrol agent played by Emmy winner Michael Chiklis.

The large-scale set was a complete turnaround from Moon Rock For Monday, Pullar’s first film role, which also stars Ashlyn LoudenGamb­le, Aaron Jeffrey, and David Field.

The heartwarmi­ng road movie follows a young terminally ill girl named Monday who befriends a wanted fugitive (Pullar) and they embark on a road trip to visit a moon rock (Uluru) she believes will heal her.

The role meant Pullar, a Brisbane Grammar School alumnus, had to ditch the clean-cut image he fostered in his breakthrou­gh roles on Playing For Keeps and Foxtel’s Fighting Season.

“The script just got under my skin instantly,” Pullar said. “They wanted me to shave my head, stop gym, lose weight and look much more fragile.”

“I was filming Playing For Keeps. I walked around dingy streets in Melbourne in dingy clothes just after I shaved my head just to see what it was like. And I noticed how people related to you, keeping their distance.”

“I was kind of frightened. So many moments of doubt crept in where I’m thinking, I’m the furthest thing from this guy.

“I’ve grown up on the beach, healthy happy life and here I was in the middle of the desert playing a frail fragile homeless kid. It really challenged me. It totally changed my perspectiv­e of what I want out of acting.”

Pullar has already won a Best Lead Actor gong for the role at the Australian Screen Industry Network Awards.

While he said it was initially “crushing” to leave LA due to the global pandemic last year and return

to Queensland, he was now in talks for work in Australia while producing and writing his own feature film.

“The last two years have given me confidence to continue to take risks,” he said.

OUR BIG FAT GREEK PARTY

Brisbane’s food and music scene is set to collide for the ultimate Greek party next month.

Confidenti­al can reveal Brisbane dining hot spot Hellenika at The Calile has partnered with the Fortitude Music Hall to bring Greek

singing star Giorgos Tsalikis (above left) to the city for a one-night show and a Greek feast.

Tsalikis, who will quarantine in Sydney after arriving from Greece, will perform at the Fortitude Valley venue on Friday, May 14, which will be transforme­d into mostly tables of 10, in traditiona­l Greek style.

The first three rows of VIP tables will enjoy a Greek buffet dinner at Hellenika prior to the show, which Tsalikis will join, as well as afterparty drinks.

“He’s fun and active and people will be up dancing on the table and chairs and throwing flowers,”

Hellenika owner Simon Gloftis said.

“I just think it’s really cool. This guy is the first big name that said, ‘You know what I’ll do the two week quarantine’.”

“We thought we’d promote the Brisbane leg of the tour.”

Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday via Ticketmast­er.

WHERE’S JOE?

It seems Joe Exotic is taking a little longer than expected to set its stars loose in Brisbane.

While the NBCUnivers­al series, produced by and starring Kate McKinnon (inset above), was initially tipped to film at Screen Queen Queensland Studios this month,

Con Confidenti­al sources say it will now kick off in July and film th through to Oc October.

It is part of a fede federal government deal with NBCU that will see three series film back-to-b b back-to-back at the Br Brisbane risbane s studios, which be began egan with Young Rock bet b between O October and early Fe February.

Joe Exotic is a dr dramatised telling of the ch characters seen in hit 2020 N Netflix docu-series Tiger Ki King.

While McKinnon, who is bu busy filming Saturday Night Li Live in the US, will play Joe Ex Exotic’s nemesis Carole Baskin, th the rest of the cast is yet to be announced.

Confidenti­al understand­s casting for some of the main characters in the series, such as John Reinke,

Travis Maldonado and ‘Saff’ Saffrey is still underway.

A Screen Queensland spokeswoma­n said “Shifts in production schedules sit with the production, but production will definitely be starting up soon at Screen Queensland Studios and on location around southeast Queensland.”

SETTING THE SCENE

Meanwhile filming on Ron

Howard’s new movie Thirteen Lives got underway on schedule on the Gold Coast – despite the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Queensland.

The production, based on the 2018 Thai cave rescue, was kicked off with a Thai worship on set, which the Academy Award-winning director and actors took part in.

A host of Thai actors, who quarantine­d in Sydney, have descended on Gold Coast beaches in the past fortnight and have shared videos practising their cave diving skills nearby.

Australian star Joel Edgerton, who is portraying Dr Richard Harris, has been spotted at Broadbeach.

RIDING SOLO

After writing and producing songs with some of Australia’s best known names, Brisbane instrument­alist Graham Ritchie (right) is stepping into the spotlight with a solo project.

Ritchie, who is part of popular indie rock band Holy Holy, created a new identity as Scenes and debuted his first single Henhouse, featuring vocals by Ainslie Wills, last month with an EP set to be released later this year.

“It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, since I’ve been in music and before. I’ve always been composing and writing solo work in the background,” Ritchie said. “I’ve got hard drives of ideas that I reserved for myself.”

“I was finding what I want to say and was able to have that outlet of the musical expression and the catharsis of playing live, which I could do with other people and people who are really good at it.” Ritchie has collaborat­ed and toured with artists including Big Scary, Japanese Wallpaper, Emma Louise, Airling, Thelma Plum and Gretta Ray and is in the middle of a tour with Holy Holy, playing shows at The Tivoli in Brisbane on April 23 and 24.

“It’s just as great as one could imagine it would be to be in the room when (a hit song) happens. It’s totally invaluable for what I’m doing now,” he said.

It was Holy Holy singer Tim Carroll who picked the name Scenes after Ritchie “lived with a couple” to see how they felt. “I had a list going and I don’t think this was even on the list,” he said. “Broadly speaking there’s thoughts about identity and who we are and there’s love and grief and growing.”

“Henhouse is really about what we are up against as people and how easily it can fall apart, even just in our heads. It’s heavy but I try to make it sound warm and hopeful as well with the music.”

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 ??  ?? Ron Howard kicks off filming on Thirteen Lives on the Gold Coast. Picture: Instagram
Ron Howard kicks off filming on Thirteen Lives on the Gold Coast. Picture: Instagram
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