When he was offered the chance to be involved in friend and Radio/TV personality Ed Kavalee’s self-funded comedy telemovie “Scumbus”, acclaimed Aussie actor Lachy Hulme (“Howzat!”, “The Hollowmen”) didn’t need the 60-seconds of thinking music before answering – it had him at ‘logline’.
Based on a story originally conceived by actor Josh Lawson (“Any Questions for Ben”?”), Kavalee’s script fixes on a ‘good cop’ (Kavalee, “Thank God You’re Here”) and a ‘bad cop’ (Toby Truslove) who are transferred to a seedy police station in the town of Scumbus. Glenn Robbins, Peter Helliar, Christian Clark, Dave Hughes, Tony Martin, Kate Langbroek and Ryan Shelton have amusing appearances, with Hulme typically stealing scenes, playing a drug-dealer.
On the eve of the film’s premiere at the L.A Comedy Film Festival on November 4 (and ahead of it’s screening on TEN on November 10), I had the chance to catch up with long-time pal and one of Australia’s most gifted thesps, Lachy Hulme about the ‘arresting’ new laffer.
First of all, the girls aren’t “scantily dressed” – they’re tastefully outfitted in authentic 1686 AD Cossack costumes. And secondly, when Ed Kavalee comes a’knockin’, it’s like getting a visit from Jack Nicholson in “THE SHINING.” He swings an axe through your door, shoves a script in your face, and threatens you with exactly what role he wants you to play. It’s scary. In this case of “SCUMBUS,” however, Ed wanted me to play a local shit‐bag drug‐dealing pimp. So I wasn’t scared at all. Turns out I was perfect for the role.
You’ve worked with many of the guys in the flick before, but largely before your transition into superstardom. Were they referring to you as “Mr. Hulme” this time around?
Not at all. Ed Kavalee, Tony Martin, Glenn Robbins and Christian Clark still refer to me as “Hey you!” if they bother referring to me at all. It was the newbies like Ryan Shelton, Peter Helliar, Toby Truslove and Ash Williams who had to address me as “Mr. Hulme.” And as for that snapperhead Luke McGregor, you don’t even wanna know what he was forced to call me, the poor bastard.
I’ve been out on the drink with you a couple of times, mate; having seen your self ‘knight’ yourself, I can only imagine what Luke’s been calling you. Now they say that TV is as good, if not better, than feature films these days. What’s your take? Is the box where the gold is?
In terms of audience numbers, a hit TV show will trump a hit movie every single time. That’s unavoidable. TV doesn’t require you to hire a babysitter or park the car or spend $20 at the candy bar before you’ve even thought about how much it costs to buy the actual tickets to see the damn thing. But that in no way means that TV is trumping movies in terms of quality. Cinema can still do things that TV can only dream of. Then again, when it comes to subtler forms of storytelling, television does seem to have the edge at the moment. That said, I would like to state for the record that none of those intelligent insights apply to the mindless idiocy of “SCUMBUS.”
When did you film “SCUMBUS”? Was it before or after you transformed into “Kerry Packer” for “HOWZAT”?
It was either 20 years before I started filming “HOWZAT,” or 20 minutes after I finished filming “HOWZAT.” I wish I could be more specific, Clint, but you know me. I’m not sober for any of this “filming” shit.
Which is why we wheel-barrowed you to the set of “Boytown” all those years ago. Mate, your career has, in the past couple of years in particular, really taken off. Which movie or TV series, do you believe, led people to start banging down your door? Was it the role of ALF’s hirsute half-half boss from Melmac on that ‘Very Special Christmas Episode’ all those years ago.. or something else?
Without doubt “THE HOLLOWMEN” was the thing that changed everything for me. That was the TV show that Working Dog did that dealt with political spin‐doctors in Canberra, in case you missed it.
It was Jane Kennedy who suggested me for the role of “Murph” in “THE HOLLOWMEN,” and thanks to her I haven’t stopped working since. So things like “BEACONSFIELD” and “OFFSPRING” and “HOWZAT” and, dare I say it, “SCUMBUS,” are just a by‐product of that. So if you’ve got a problem with what I’ve been up to, all I can say is: blame Jane Kennedy. I’ll be posting her private phone number on Twitter as soon as this interview goes online, by the way.
What’s next for you?
Raiding the Punky Brewster underwear-collection at the Hulme mansion.
“Scumbus” is at the L.A Comedy Film Festival November 10 and airs on Channel 10, November 10 9:00 PM.