“Bad Eggs” isn’t Tony Martin’s first film, it’s just the first one that’s actually made it past the script stage, financed and turned into something that fits into the machines at the local multiplex. “I’ve wanted to make a movie since I was kid”, tells Martin, from a Melbourne hotel suite. “This is actually the third one I’ve written”.
Martin started writing the crime comedy “Bad Eggs” in 2000, in what the industry’s ribbing as one of the longest films to make it to cinemas. And like so many films these days, he wrote the characters with actors already in mind to play them – markedly, good chum and long time collaborator Mick Molloy, who he immediately wanted to play the film’s lead character. “I wrote it with all of them in mind”, says Martin, of casting Molloy, Judith Lucy and Bob Franklin. “The only person that had to audition was Bob’s wife. She had the accent we needed”. And those endless supporting players came easy too, says Martin. “They all work for cheap”, he laughs. “That’s how we were able to get them all”.
And how did Pete Smith, distinguished voice-over artist for Channel 9, get roped into all this? “We met Pete years ago when we doing the Late Show pilots for Channel 9 – All four of them [Laughs]. We were doing some scenes that were supposed to look like the station was interrupting the show, and needed the channel’s voice over artist at the time to do the announcing. It just so happened to be Pete. And he was great. What was great about Pete was that he’d do it so seriously, as if it was really happening”, says Martin. “And we’ve used him in ever since. He was in Crackerjack too”. Surely, Pete’s in with a chance to be the lead in the next Martin-directed film then? “He’ll be too expensive by then”, laughs Martin.
In “Bad Eggs”, Molloy and Franklin play Ben Kinnear and Mike Paddock, two detectives with the Melbourne Police force’s elite Zero Tolerance Unit. When a freak accident involving a dead magistrate lands them on the front page of the local paper, Ben and Mike are busted down to uniformed duties. But when Ben discovers a strange link between the accident and the business affairs of a shady casino boss he and Mike have been investigating, the pair decides they cannot turn a blind eye to the corruption surrounding them.
“Australia just didn’t have any good cop comedies…” explains Martin. “Any good comedies”, cheekily adds Molloy.
And to true to the Classic Cop show, there’s an overdone chase – involving a driver-less vehicle – set in a busy Shopping Complex. “It was filmed two nights at Fountain Gate, which is where Kath and Kim is set. Funny thing, some of the stores was closed so we’d have to put signs up in them to make it look like they were still in business. There’s all these “re-opening soon” on their windows”.
Also integral to Martin’s film was finding the perfect music score. “I just hate it when you see an Australian film and the music’s just all wrong. For instance, in “The Nugget”, they’re playing bloody INXS”, he laughs. Martin looked no further than ARIA-Award Winning musician Dave Graney, a fan of original movie scores himself, who conceived a soundtrack of newly recorded tracks with partner and drummer Clare Moore. Now, it was all coming together…
Martin’s lead, Mick Molloy, headlined last year’s “Crackerjack”, which was in post about the same time Molloy started on “Bad Eggs”. Was Martin worried that if that film flopped, his wouldn’t be met with much reception either, being that it’s also a Molloy starrer? “No. I mean I’m in Crackerjack too”, he laughs. Thankfully, “Crackerjack” was a modest hit, and Molloy, commended for his first big screen turn.
Martin says he’s known Molloy for sixteen years, and Judith Lucy, over ten. “I met Judith about 1991”, adds Martin. “On the comedy circuit”. Together they all appeared on the adored ABC comedy series “The Late Show”.
At the end of the series, Martin and Molloy went one way and co-stars Rob Sitch, Jane Kennedy, Santa Cilauro and Tommy Gleisner went in another direction. “They were suddenly sitting at the Adults table. They wanted to go off and do film, and things like Frontline”, laughs Martin. “But we’re all still good friends”.
Lucy adds, “I was the Yoko of the group. I broke all the boys apart”.
And what can we expect with the impending “Bad Eggs” DVD? “A Documentary. That’ll be on there. Yep, and also a commentary. We might do a few actually. I love commentaries”, says Martin.
“Talking of DVDs, I’ve even been asked if [the police unit in the film] ZTU was a play on words, because on “24”, they have the CTU. But I haven’t actually seen 24. I thought I’d wait until it came out on DVD to watch it. But now that it’s out on DVD, it’s an overnight release. How can you watch 24 overnight?” chuckles Tony.
Something to ponder.
BAD EGGS is now showing across Australia