Interview : Vince Colosimo


Australian actor Vince Colosimo is the first to admit his recognition has been a long time coming. “20 years, I’ve been at it. Films kinda did it [caught peoples eye] and some high profile Television. Truth is, I haven’t really stopped since leaving College though. I did a lot of theatre, which takes up even more time. Films like ‘Lantana’ and ‘Chopper’ bought my face out there again and people saw what I did and thought ‘lets open our minds to these parts of whatever’, ‘let’s test Vince, see how he goes’. I guess I made them think a little differently I suppose. I took a risk. I did “The Wog Boy” as well which was very successful; you need these hits now and again too.”

And while he’s a leading player in his latest film, “Takeaway”, the story of two rival Fish and Chip shop owners who team up to fight off the multinational fast food outlet, Vince admits he’s much more at ease when the focus isn’t on him. “I liked doing The Hard Word and The Nugget where you’re not the driving force of the film and you go in there in a smaller capacity, a smaller role. It’s a lot more relaxed and the weights not on your shoulders. Whereas with a film like Takeaway, and even the more dramatic, Walking on Water, you’re the lead and driving the film, there’s a lot more pressure on you. With the others, if the film makes it or doesn’t make it, it’s not on your shoulders”.

Colosimo says “Takeaway” – even with the pressure of being its leading man – was an offer too good to refuse. “About a year before we shot it, I was sent the script by Mark [O’Toole]. I laughed out when I read it. And when I was told Stephen Curry was going to be playing the other Fish and Chip shop owner in it, I knew this could be an interesting film – and a good little mix”.

In the film, Colosimo plays Tony, a perfectionist shop owner, who’s always at loggerheads with rival shop owner, Trev, played by Curry. Of his character, Colosimo says they share very little in common. “I like to be organized, but not to that extent. There’s another world outside my work. Tony needs to get a life”, he laughs.

Not that Colismo didn’t get to experience what it would be like to live in Tony’s shoes for a while. “We had a bloody Fish and Chip consultant – who took his job really seriously – and taught us about the fryers, oils, how to batter fish – turned us into Fish and Chip Shop attendees. We didn’t really need to know all that but it was really interesting and to watch a guy being so serious about Fish and Chips gives you a great balance”.

Colosimo says there was an occasion when he might have even been able to play Fish and Chip shop owner for real. “We took over a strip of shops for a couple of weeks. We dressed the stores up so well that people would come in and ask for Chips and Hamburgers and stuff”, he laughs. “We should’ve probably had a run, could have maybe made a few bucks”.

Colosimo’s had a good run lately – also appearing on Channel Ten’s “The Secret Life of Us”. But how does doing series Television compare to headlining a feature? “Clint, I’ve been so fortunate to work in theatre, TV, and Film and all have their positives and negatives. TV is very fast, but “Secret Life” is great working with Claudia [Karvan] and great producers in Amanda Higgs and John Edwards. When the hours are so long, and it’s all very fast, it’s great to be involved in a series that is so good, and one which I’m allowed to have input into.

“With film you can be really precise. You can get all those little bits worked out. Takeaway we did in six weeks and we only did liker 2 or 3 takes each scene, but even then, we just say if it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. But what it all comes down to – be it TV, theatre or Film – is how the good the script is”.

And to end, what better a question to ask than what’s your favourite fast food? “I like Fish and Chips; I like the little Fish and Chip stores. There’s a great one on St.Georges Road [in Melbourne] called St George’s Fish and Chips, and there’s another great placed called Danny’s which makes good hamburgers. But my fondest memory of Takeaway would have to be Pizza when I was a kid. Dad would bring it home every Friday night. It was just the best”.

TAKEAWAY Commences Thursday around Australia