NASH FI­NALLY GETS HIS MAN

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER - NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

Like a dog with a bone, Nash Edger­ton has been try­ing to get Foxtel se­ries Mr In­be­tween made for over a decade. “If I say I’m go­ing to do some­thing I’m pretty de­ter­mined, no mat­ter how long it takes,” he says.

The multi-tal­ented writer/ r/ di­rec­tor/ac­tor/stunt­man rubbed shoul­ders with some of the big­gest names in Hol­ly­wood, di­rect­ing Char­l­ize Theron, Thandie New­ton and his younger brother Joel in the ac­claimed black com­edy Gringo ear­lier this year.

But his per­se­ver­ance with h this distinctly Aussie project, , star­ring an al­most-un­known n lo­cal, has fi­nally paid off. And he’s hugely relieved au­di­ences will fi­nally see the hit­man drama se­ries, based on Aus­tralian film The Ma­gi­cian.

Edger­ton made the pas­sion project with Scott Ryan, who first sub­mit­ted The Ma­gi­cian as a short film to the St Kilda Film Fes­ti­val in 2004.

“Scott had writ­ten, di­rected and starred in it. It was like a fake doc­u­men­tary about a hit­man. Su­per low­bud­get. I thought it was great,” Edger­ton re­calls. “I met him af­ter the screen­ing and asked him for a copy of it be­cause I thought my brother would re­ally en­joy it as well.”

Edger­ton helped Ryan re-edit a fea­ture-length ver­sion of the film which en­joyed crit­i­cal suc­cess. Still, Ryan felt it could the idea could be fur­ther de­vel­oped into a TV se­ries and en­listed Edger­ton’s help to make it hap­pen.

It was a long, slow road to get the se­ries made, mainly be­cause Edger­ton re­fused to cast any­one but Ryan in the lead role.

“We tried to get the show up and we came close a few times but kept hit­ting dead ends. At some point we re­alised we’d have more chance of get­ting it made if I di­rected. Any chance I had where I thought peo­ple would be into it, in LA and Aus­tralia, I’d show them the film and the script. I held out un­til my ca­chet as a di­rec­tor had risen enough that some­one would let me cast Scott in the show.

“The whole rea­son I got in­volved with the show is that I think he is a tal­ented ac­tor and writer. I wanted to direct him. I wasn’t in­ter­ested in it un­less he got to play the char­ac­ter. He was the right per­son to play it as far as I was con­cerned.”

Ryan wasn’t the only tricky cast­ing de­ci­sion. Once the project was un­der way, Edger­ton be­gan the search for a young girl to play hit­man Ray’s daugh­ter.

He was sur­prised to find the per­fect choice right un­der his nose: his step­daugh­ter, Chika Ya­sumura. The sug­ges­tion came from his wife, Carla Ruffino, af­ter Edger­ton had au­di­tioned 50odd young­sters for the role.

“My wife sug­gested, ‘Why do don’t you try Chika out?’,” he re re­calls. “I said, ‘Well, be­cause if she’s no good I’m not go­ing to cast her’. I didn’t go to the a au­di­tion. I let my wife take her in. I called af­ter­wards and said ‘How did she do?’ and they said, ‘She’s pretty awe­some’.”

The gam­ble paid off and b be­came “one of the best di di­rect­ing ex­pe­ri­ences” E Edger­ton has ever had.

“It was the most scared I’v I’ve been di­rect­ing any­body be­cause I wanted it to be a good ex­pe­ri­ence for her and I wanted her to be good in the show and I didn’t want peo­ple to think I’d cast her be­cause she’s my kid,” he says.

His foray into the world of TV hasn’t kept Edger­ton from serv­ing as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and stunt co-or­di­na­tor for brother Joel’s up­com­ing film Boy Erased, in which the son of a Bap­tist preacher is forced to par­tic­i­pate in a church­sup­ported gay con­ver­sion pro­gram.

As well as a role for Joel, Boy Erased brings two of Aus­tralia’s big­gest ex­ports, Ni­cole Kid­man and Rus­sell Crowe, to­gether on the big screen for the first time.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful film,” says Edger­ton. “It’s a spe­cial film and it’s awe­some to see Ni­cole and Rus­sell on the screen to­gether for the first time. ” MR IN­BE­TWEEN, SHOW­CASE, TO­MOR­ROW 8.30PM; BOY ERASED OPENS NOVEM­BER 8

“It was the most scared I’ve been di­rect­ing any­body

Chika Ya­sumura and Scott Ryan in Mr In­be­tween and (be­low) di­rec­tor Nash Edger­ton. Main pic­ture: Mark Rogers

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