Icon Film Distribution
THE TENDER HOOK
Written and directed by Jonathan Ogilvie
Hugo Weaving, Rose Byrne and Matt Le Nevez
Release Date: September 18, 2008
Running Time: 104 minutes
Set in a stylised version of 1920s Sydney, THE TENDER HOOK charts a young woman’s rise to the apex of a love/power triangle.
Femme fatal Iris (Rose Byrne), underworld figure McHeath (Hugo Weaving) and aspiring boxer Art (Matt Le Nevez) fight it out in the nightclubs, docksides and boxing rings of a wild Jazz Age Sydney.
Iris is distraught as McHeath’s two henchmen, Ronnie and Donnie, prepare to throw a bound and gagged Art off a bridge and into the murky waters of Sydney Harbour. McHeath keeps Iris captive inside his Rolls Royce, while the two men set about committing murder.
Three months earlier, Iris sits ringside at a boxing event with McHeath, a ‘prominent’ English businessman. She is impressed with Art’s good looks and winning style at his first professional fight. In a brief encounter after the fight Art is smitten with Iris’ independent spirit. McHeath is impressed by Art for different reasons and recruits him as a sparring partner for Alby, a promising Aboriginal boxer in his employ.
Alby warns Art to stay away from Iris. Art is offered Alby’s position and he trains for a showcase fight after McHeath demotes Alby on the grounds that as a black fighter his box office potential is limited.
Iris becomes sexually involved with Art as she grows resentful of McHeath’s violent behaviour; McHeath has presented her with a string of pearls after one malicious encounter.
When Art implies Iris has loose morals she reacts by spiking his drink on the night preceding the showcase fight. Art is unfit to box but McHeath insists he step into the ring. Art is knocked out and McHeath ends his boxing career. The only fight Art can secure is a humiliating ‘chaff bag’ fight where the boxers fight ‘blinded’ by bags over their heads.
Iris, overcome with guilt and love, suggests a scam whereby Art will impersonate American champion, Al Norwood. McHeath is strangely agreeable to the scheme. The fight is to be held in distant Brisbane and Alby is the opponent. Iris discovers that McHeath has arranged the fight to ensure that Art receives a severe beating. She warns Art and he loads his glove with his brother’s war medal. Art wins the fight by knocking Alby out and flagrantly defies McHeath. Iris flees to Sydney with Art.
While McHeath is provoked to further acts of jealousy and violence, and Art persists in the only course he knows, Iris’ desires and faltering steps towards maturity lead them all to an unexpected and destructive final destiny.
My aim for this film was a look and feel that matched the contradictory implications of the title. A suggestion of both brutality and gentleness via a cinematically sharp but historically blurred approach to the period.
The story and characters are both unique and familiar; they derive from the familiar boxing picture but subvert and transcend genre expectations. In relationship to its surrounding universe, the world of The Tender Hook is like a spotlighted boxing ring; outside the perimeter of the ropes, detail and visual information drops away.
Rather than being a re-creation of Australia’s past, The Tender Hook is, to use a Miles Davis-ism, a yester-now tale. This approach is most explicit when McHeath (Hugo Weaving) sings Jazz Age arrangements of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan songs, and in the use of colourised archival footage from the period. I love the idea of temporal playfulness in the audience seeing Iris (Rose Byrne) and Art (Matt Le Nevez) walking with long dead pedestrians.
The 1920s setting is an iconic representation of a decade rather than an attempt at historical accuracy. This gives a simultaneous sense of past and present to both story and character. There is a pointed modernity in Iris’ irrepressible nature, Art’s existential fatalism and McHeath’s disdain for the prevalent prejudices of the age.
THE TENDER HOOK delivers a sensual interplay of sex and violence with undercurrents of corruption, rebellion, culturalism and destiny. It offers elements particular to the Australian experience but thematically it could be overlaid onto any person, family, country or culture.
The journey begins…
THE TENDER HOOK is set in 1920s Sydney, in the vibrant jazz age, a time of change as the fledgling city grew at a rapid rate, the Sydney Harbour Bridge began construction, political parties were forming, and underworld crime had a powerful grip on the city. It was a world of violence, opportunism and larger than life characters.
Writer and director Jonathan Ogilvie’s inspiration for THE TENDER HOOK came from reading histories of the Australian underworld. Their territory in the 1920s and 30s was inner Sydney Surry Hills and Redfern where Ogilvie was living at the time. "A lot of the action took place in the streets all around where I Iived!"
It was a fascinating time in Australian, and indeed world history. The politics were all up for grabs and you had this tension between the right wing and the left wing.
Ogilvie loved the crime kings’ stories but it was one of the lesser characters that really caught his eye.
A small time boxer called Art Walker was mentioned a number of times. Firstly, a remark that he was a good ‘prelim’ boxer who could take punishment but never really made it as a professional boxer; the second, in an episode where Walker was trying to pick a fight with Chow Hayes, a notorious gunman of the time. Hayes’ gang kept beating him up, but he kept coming back again and again. Then I read that he survived a shooting on the corner of Albion and Riley Streets because the bullet was deflected by his coat button. He eventually met his demise after a fist flight with a sailor, when he fell off a ferry and drowned in the Sydney Harbour. What an amazing character!
Ogilvie began to imagine a triangle of love and power between Art Walker and an influential underworld character and a young woman. In his research he came upon notorious, female, underworld personalities such as Tilley Devine, Kate Leigh, and Nellie Cameron and became increasingly interested in the push and pull of these characters.
Ogilvie placed the story in the world of the boxing ring which was a popular entertainment at that time, and created the secondary character ‘Alby’, an aboriginal boxer whose skin colour meant he would never be a champion.
When you read about Aboriginal boxers in Australia you realise we had these fantastic talents but they were so badly managed and so badly exploited that it was always a downward slide for them. I wanted to touch on that idea, of Alby being a better boxer than Art but actually not getting the breaks.
Although set firmly in the 1920s, it was not a traditional period film that Ogilvie was interested in but something more stylised.
I borrowed from Miles Davis the term ‘yester now’ – that was kind of what I was always interested in, the idea of a film that was complicit with the idea that it was made in 2007 and it wasn’t trying to present a glass cabinet view of history with some pretence that we know how people lived back then. What I was interested in was a universal film experience but using icons of a period and using them in a playful sort of way.
Producer Michelle Harrison fell in love with the script when she read it.
I loved the strong female character and the script was so beautifully written. It was very moody and extremely stylish in the way it conveyed the visual images for the intended film.
It’s unusual to find a film with so much subtext. The script was written without much exposition in the top layers of the story so you had to read it, pay attention to the characters, and to the interplay of the plot, sub-plots and sub-text.
Producer John Brousek also loved the script and was excited by the opportunity of working with Ogilvie whose previous films he had greatly admired.
It is always a fantastic place to be as a producer when a director gets to work on their first feature, especially something as stylized as this.
I saw this film as an intrinsic Australian story. It encapsulated a time of change in Australian history, both politically and socially, when we were breaking away from our colonial ties, trying to assert ourselves and find our own identity.
The cast and characters
The producers and director knew that the casting was vitally important in such a character driven film.
We thought we should cast McHeath first and in a way that was the lynchpin character, says Harrison. If McHeath was a character that was credible and, despite being a bad guy, also someone that audiences could love, then we knew we could build a cast around him, so we were absolutely delighted when Hugo Weaving accepted the role. Hugo was intrigued by the complexity of the McHeath.
I read the script and loved it and then met Jonathan and talked to him about the way in which he intended shooting it, says Hugo Weaving. I like the way Jonathon’s mind works, the fact that he’s a musician at heart and the way he writes. I think within this love triangle, set in Sydney in this very, very particular world, he’s managed to write about the history of Australia in a funny way. There are many different levels to this film and different stories being told.
Hugo Weaving describes McHeath as a fascinating amalgamation of characters and quite unique.
McHeath is a businessman but in the sort of Abe Safran mould. There was a character in Sydney in the late 20s called Phil Jeffs, a businessman who ran a number of illegal clubs, gambling dens and the cocaine markets. I thought he was a good model, but McHeath is also a razor man. In Sydney in the late 20s there were a number of gangs who carried razors – there were a lot of deaths and maimings, so he’s also a standover man who wields the razor himself instead of getting his henchmen to do it. He’s very mercurial, violent man who you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of at all. And then there’s another side to him where he fancies himself as a bit of a singer and entertainer.
Rose Byrne became attached to the project soon after in the pivotal role of Iris.
I think for her it was an opportunity to play a steely woman of not always good intent, says Harrison. She’s also of an age and in a time of her life, I think, that embodies some of the transitions for that character.
The enigmatic Iris was a challenging role for Rose Byrne.
Iris is very canny and quite cagey, and quite a hard character to crack for an actor because she doesn’t give much away. It’s almost a coming of age story for her. She comes into her own power, her own intelligence, and her own ambition.
Rose was also interested in the political themes inherent in the story.
I guess it’s quintessentially about Australia being the child of England and struggling for independence. McHeath is this seemingly aristocratic British man who comes to the small colony of Australia and dominates all of us minions below him, and then there’s his henchmen – Ronnie, who is a monarchist, and Donnie, who is a communist, who represent the political pressures of the time.
Matt Le Nevez plays Art, the young, headstrong boxer. Matt had worked with Jonathan on several other projects and with Hugo on the Australian film ‘Peaches’ where they played half brothers. He acts with great intensity, inhabiting each of the roles he plays, and Jonathan had always imagined him playing Art.
I really fell in love with Art, professes Matt. He’s very noble, very honourable and extremely proud which ultimately causes his undoing. It’s a great role for an actor.
For all three actors, it was important to explore the complex dynamics between the three protagonists.
Art played by Matt and my character are diametrically opposed, says Rose. Art is very straight to the point. He deals with things physically and emotionally while, Iris is very strategic. She’s really attracted to this character that’s so different to her, whereas she and McHeath are birds of a feather. They’re natural leaders, natural manipulators.
Both Iris and McHeath are trying to reinvent themselves to some extent, they’re in a world but perhaps not quite of that world, comments Hugo. McHeath seems to be a classy figure but really he’s a bit of a charlatan and Iris comes from a very tough background and is working hard to improve herself.
They need each other but in very different ways. She doesn’t need him emotionally but she needs the power that he gives her and the money that he provides for her. He needs the idea of her perhaps more than who she really is, although when she gets drawn away he realises he is attached in a much more powerful way than he had realised. He actually can’t do without her whereas she can do without him.
Preparing for the roles
We had a lot of rehearsal which was great, says Rose. Matt and I had three solid weeks just one on one together with Jonathan and we really broke the back of our story, and then we had another two weeks down here with the cast so it was a long process. I also read some books about Tilley Devine who was a very famous character in the cross in the 20s and 30s.
Hugo Weaving was faced with the difficult task of making the violent McHeath someone audiences could relate to.
Often one of the ways to find the humanity in someone is to think, ‘Well, what are their weaknesses?’ and his weaknesses are that he can’t control his temper, and he can’t control himself in certain circumstances, so he loses control and that’s a very human thing. It doesn’t make necessarily him any less despicable but it kind of makes him more human.
For Matt Le Nevez there was also a challenging physical preparation. Matt had decided to do the boxing scenes himself.
It was a lot of fun preparing for this character because I got a chance to pick up a skill. A close friend of mine in Sydney is a boxer and I started some fitness training with him, boxing once a day for several months and spending a lot of time in boxing gyms observing the real camaraderie that exists there. I didn’t want to get too physically heavy like a modern boxer because the film is set in ’28 when they were lighter, so I needed to try to get the balance right.
Matt started working out with Luke Carroll, who plays Alby.
He’s a naturally talented athlete so every time we train we try to push each other a bit further, and lift the level of what we do. We were given sparring helmets so we could actually put a little bit extra into the sparring sessions – as soon as we put on the headgear there was a lot more leeway that we could play with. In the fight scenes you have to be a bit more careful of what you’re doing because you’re likely to do 30 takes a day so you don’t want to bust your nose.
Both Luke and Matt looked at old tapes of boxing matches to practise the boxing style of the time.
I haven’t really experienced that much racism in my life, says Luke, but to do that scene and hear some of the terms shouted out by the crowd was quite confronting even though it was only a film. The truth is these things did happen in the past and to a certain extent still do.
The crew on THE TENDER HOOK were, according to producer John Brousek, "a combination of experienced and new talents, people we knew and new faces that came highly recommended. That experience has been pivotal I think in allowing Jonathan to realise the vision of the film that he was after."
One of the new faces was cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson who came on board very late, directly from shooting ‘Romulus My Father,’ also in Victoria. One of Australia’s most successful cinematographers, he has a prolific career in both Australia and internationally.
He read the script in an afternoon and came to see me, explains Ogilvie. It’s fair to say we had a meeting of minds. He said he would love to shoot my picture so we went from there. He’s got a wonderful manner not to mention a fantastic eye. I’m just delighted by what he’s brought to the film.
It was also a terrific working relationship for Simpson. "There was a great feeling of trust on both our parts and that allowed us the freedom and confidence to work as quickly as we needed to get the days work done."
Production designer Pete Baxter was also delighted to work on the project.
I had heard about the project for some time and the slightly stylised nature of it sounded really interesting. The 1920s is something of an overlooked period in Australian cinema, and also a boxing movie was a very attractive project for an art department. Jonathan’s a great person to collaborate with, he takes an idea on board, thinks about it and then takes it to the next step.
What I was interested in was a universal film experience, says Jonathan, but using icons of a period in a playful sort of way. We were using archival footage and mixing our characters into that. The palette of the film is muted back to almost hand tinted tones somewhere between black and white and colour."
Says Baxter, "We tested some of the colourised backgrounds and then we found some other images we really loved the colour of, and those images set our choices with the palette of the film – using the cool, cool colours and quite a contained palette."
For the actors, Jonathan’s extensive research and preparation made the shoot much easier.
He knows this story so well, it’s in his blood," says Rose Byrne. "Jonathan doesn’t fuss. He’s a man of few words. A director who works more from the outside and communicates with you in a very sparse way."
He was very well prepared because he’d spent many years writing this film and it had been storyboarded so he was very clear about who the characters are and the way in which he wanted to shoot it. He was clear about his reference points and what he wanted from particular characters, so his demeanour on set was pretty relaxed. He was a joy to work with, says Hugo.
Arriving on set the male actors all had their hair shorn and then were transformed by costume designer Cappi Ireland into the world of the 1920s.
The biggest challenge for Ireland was sourcing 1920s clothing which unlike later periods, is not readily available in Australia. Ireland had limited stock to work with and sourced items from all over Australia trying to find a unique look or a component that would add to the characters.
We did extensive research on the period. An invaluable source was the research library of Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, which is an arts museum with detailed information about costumes and style of particular decades, and of course, we used the internet.
The process of working with every director is different but Jonathan had this project with him for over ten years. He had very certain ideas about what he liked style wise and loads of references so basically I just sat down with him in the initial stages and talked about tone and colour and references for the characters then I would go off and gather together my interpretation.
I read ‘Razor,’ a book about the razor gangs that operated in Australia in the Rocks and Surry Hills from before the turn of the century, not so much as visual reference but getting into the idea of the time. And also we had this fabulous book called ‘City of Shadows’ which was a collection of photographs from an exhibition in Sydney about criminals from that period.
For Ireland, it was a real joy creating costumes for Rose Byrne’s character Iris, and Hugo Weaving’s McHeath. "Iris was an obvious glamour role and there was a lot we could work with especially with textures and accessories because she is so beautiful and has such a fantastic figure."
One of the most beautiful dresses was designed by leading Australian designer, Akira Isogawa Harrison and Ogilvie had contacted Akira and asked him to design a key costume item for the film.
Once we picked up the dress, we were faced with the daunting task of replicating it as we needed a double so we could shred it!! Akira supplied the fabric and the pattern and I employed a very talented dressmaker, John Van Gaskel who had made and altered some of the cheung sams for ‘The Home Song Stories,’ to make the dress. He did an amazing job. The dress was made of an intricately beaded black piece of fabric and it was lined and trimmed with red silk tulle. It was quite a simple style which reflected the 1920s era; however the way it was cut and hung on Rose was amazing.
I also have a great love of men’s suiting. McHeath he was quite an interesting character in that he was so pedantic and controlled and we had a lot of fun working out his wardrobe, right down to the cufflinks, the tie pins and the collar studs. Hugo is such a wonderful person and he loved talking about McHeath and enjoyed wearing the three pieces suits. You don’t get to do that too often in contemporary design.
MUSIC, SOUND DESIGN
Chris Abrahams the film’s composer is also a member of the internationally successful music group, The Necks. Abrahams first met Jonathan when Jonathan worked on a film clip for a group Chris was playing in.
Jonathan himself is a musician so it’s quite easy to talk about music with him. I feel he’s very sympathetic towards music. I have done the music for eight of his films. They seem to have gotten progressively longer over the years although THE TENDER HOOK is the first totally funded, budgeted feature film.
It was very important to make the time frame which the film inhabits ambiguous. It’s not meant to be historically accurate; there are a number of things that are obviously out of place for the time that the film is set in. For instance, the two songs that McHeath sings in the film are both from the 1960s so straight away Jonathan wanted the audience to realise that there wasn’t that interest in making something totally accurate musicologically, it was more about making a contemporary film and playing around in a knowing sort of way. Jonathan explains.
What intrigued me about that idea was that the lyric would hopefully be familiar which gives audiences a contemporary link into it while the arrangement would have more of a period feeling to it, even though that is in itself hybrid – Chris Abrahams came up with a description of it as being ‘evil ragtime’. It is a ‘what if there was a thriving jazz scene in Australia in the 1920’? What sort of music might have been played?
Hugo sings Bob Dylan’s ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ and the Leonard Cohen song ‘I’m Your Man.’ I didn’t know he had such a good singing voice but he’s brought a wonderful Noel Coward-esque lilt to the music which is, very interesting and I’m delighted with how that comes across.
Key cast biographies
Rose Byrne (Iris)
Rose Byrne is one of Australia’s leading young film stars, winning acclaim both locally and internationally.
Rose is currently starring opposite Nicolas Cage in the thriller Knowing. The film, which is shooting in Melbourne, is being directed by Alex Proyas.
Later this year, Rose will return to her role as Ellen Parsons in the award winning legal thriller series Damages alongside Glenn Close and Ted Danson. Her portrayal of ‘Parsons’ earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Upcoming film projects for 2008 include Adam starring Hugh Dancy.
In 2007, Rose’s films included Sunshine, Danny Boyle’s sci-fi action drama film, in which Rose stars with Cillian Murphy; Juan Carlo Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later opposite Robert Carlyle, the follow up to the box office hit, 28 Days Later; in Karen Moncrief’s indie drama The Dead Girl with Toni Collette; and the black comedy Just Buried with Jay Baruchel which premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival.
Rose also appeared as the Duchesse de Polignac in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and screened at the New York Film Festival.
Rose’s additional credits include Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones, Paul McGuigan’s thriller Wicker Park with Josh Hartnett, the acclaimed I Capture The Castle and Danny Green’s The Tenants with Dylan McDermott. Rose also starred in Wolfgang Petersen’s epic Troy with Brad Pitt, Peter O’Toole and Orlando Bloom and she reunited with Peter O’Toole in the BBC drama Casanova.
Rose’s film career began in Australia with her standout role in the gritty crime drama Two Hands, opposite Heath Ledger. Rose went on to star in Clara Law’s The Goddess Of 1967 for which she was awarded Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival.
Rose is also a well respected theatre actress, appearing in leading roles for the prestigious Sydney Theatre Company in their productions of La Dispute and The Three Sisters.
Hugo Weaving (McHeath)
Hugo Weaving has made his mark internationally with two blockbuster film trilogies. He plays Agent Smith in the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix trilogy and a very different role – Elrond, leader of the Elves – in Peter Jackson’s epic The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Hugo worked again with the Wachowski Brothers as the lead in V for Vendetta opposite Natalie Portman.
Three-time Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award winner, Hugo is one of Australia’s most critically acclaimed actors. A graduate of the National Institute for Dramatic Art (NIDA) Hugo received his first AFI Award for Best Actor in 1991 for his portrayal of a blind photographer in Jocelyn Moorhouse’s breakthrough feature Proof. This was followed with a nomination for Best Actor at the 1994 AFI Awards for his drag queen Mitzi Del Bra (aka Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose) in Stephan Elliott’s The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Hugo also received the 1998 AFI Award for Best Actor in the Australian feature The Interview, written and directed by Craig Monahan. For the same role, he received the 1998 Best Actor Award at the World Film Festival in Montreal. In 2005 Hugo was awarded the AFI Award for Best Actor for his outstanding performance opposite Sam Neill and Cate Blanchett in Rowan Woods’ critically acclaimed Little Fish.
Hugo’s other film credits include the Australian features Russian Doll, The Magic Pudding, Strange Planet, Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, True Love and Chaos, Exile, The Custodian, Frauds, Reckless Kelly, Peaches and Rolf de Heer’s The Old Man Who Read Loves Stories.
Hugo also has a wealth of experience on stage. He has a long association with the Sydney Theatre Company, having performed in Rifle Mind, Hedda Gabler and The Real Thing. In 2006 Hugo appeared with Cate Blanchett in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Hedda Gabler at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Hugo’s recent credits include Wolf Man alongside Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro (currently in production), The Key Man and the voice of Megatron in the blockbuster hit Transformers.
Matt Le Nevez (Art Walker)
Since graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1999, Matt Le Nevez has become one of Australia’s leading film and television actors.
In 2007, Matt was awarded a Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actor for his extraordinary work in the Australian mini-series The Society Murders playing a mentally challenged young man who murders his wealthy parents.
Matt also won an Australian Film Institute Award for his work in the critically acclaimed television drama Marking Time.
Prior to THE TENDER HOOK Matt worked with Jonathan Ogilvie in his earlier film Emulsion. His other film work includes Alex Proyas’ Garage Days, and Craig Monahan’s Peaches. Matt’s extensive list of television credits also includes roles in Sea Patrol, Love My Way, Blue Heelers, Marking Time, White Collar Blue, Farscape and All Saints.
Pia Miranda (Daisy)
Pia Miranda made her film debut with the lead role in Looking for Alibrandi, 1998, for which she won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress and an If Award nomination. Since then Pia has gone on to secure roles in Garage Days, Right Here Right Now, directed by Mathew Newton, as well as the Paul McDermott short film The Girl Who Swallowed Bees.
A graduate of the University of Victoria in Arts and Performance, Pia has worked with The Melbourne Theatre Company as well as The Sydney Theatre Company in The Unlikely Prospect of Happiness, The Glass Menagerie and Fireface. She has also played appeared in a number of Australian television series including The Secret Life of Us, So Now You’re Famous, Grass Roots, All Saints and Neighbours.
Luke Carroll (Alby)
Luke Carroll has gathered a remarkable range of credits and experiences after beginning his career at a very tender age. He was nominated for AFI Awards in 2002 for Best Supporting Actor in Australian Rules, and in 2006 for Best Supporting Actor in a TV series for RAN. Luke won ‘Best Actor’ at POV 2003 for his performance in the Short Film Free.
Luke’s film credits include THE TENDER HOOK, Australian Rules and Children of the Revolution. In theatre, Luke has had lead roles in Capricornia (2006) and A Midsummer Nights Dream (2004) at Belvoir St Theatre, Riverland for The Adelaide Festival 2004, Eora Crossing for The Sydney Festival 2004, Conversations with the Dead (also Belvoir St), Purple Dreams, My Girragundji (Bell Shakespeare) and The Cherry Pickers (STC). Luke has recently filmed episodes in Home and Away for Channel Seven, worked with Catherine Freeman in Going Bush for SBS and starred in The Alice for the Nine Network. Working on RAN for SBS was a highlight and Luke has also appeared in Stingers, All Saints, Water Rats, Heartbreak High, Man from Snowy River and The Flying Doctors.
John Batchelor (Ronnie)
John Batchelor graduated from NIDA in 1992 and has since appeared in numerous film, television and theatre roles.
His film roles include Danny Deckchair, Inspector Gadget II and The Monkey’s Mask. He has appeared in many of Australia’s most popular television dramas including Sea Patrol, Stingers, All Saints and Water Rats.
Onstage he has performed with the Sydney Dance Company, Queensland Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare. In 1995, he was awarded The Matilda Award for Outstanding Achievement in Queensland Theatre (Millfire and Christmas At Turkey Beach), and in 1997 the Queensland New Film Makers Award for Best Actor (The Oblong Box) and the Matilda Award for Outstanding Achievement in Queensland Theatre (Sweet Phoebe, Oz Shorts).
Tyler Coppin (Donnie)
Tyler Coppin has enjoyed a long and illustrious acting career as a graduate of NIDA, working widely across film, television and theatre. Most notably his impressive list of credits includes roles in Three Dollars, Mad Max II, and the ABC’s MDA, Blue Heelers and Playschool.
Nominated for two Green Room Awards and claiming the title of ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical’ at the 2007 Sydney Theatre Awards, Tyler is also a seasoned theatre performer. Recent performances include the Melbourne and Sydney Theatre Company’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Baz Luhrmann’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Australian tour of Cabaret.
Key crew biographies
Jonathan Ogilvie (Writer/Director)
Jonathan Ogilvie was born in Christchurch, New Zealand where he spent his youth writing songs and performing in post-punk bands. His immersion in New Zealand’s independent music scene led to him making numerous music videos for influential Antipodean bands including Straitjacket Fits, Hoodoo Gurus, the Clouds, The Bats, Headless Chickens and the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience.
Jonathan worked on several high budget feature films while living in London in the 80s, including Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. He graduated from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in the early 90s.
His first 35mm short film, Despondent Divorcee, was selected for Official Competition at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1995, and went on to screen at over a dozen prestigious international festivals including Toronto, Clermont-Ferrand, Sao Paolo, Edinburgh and London. Jonathan took the opportunity to shoot some Super 8 footage in Cannes, which then became integral to his next short, This Film is a Dog, which was itself selected for Competition in Cannes the following year. This Film is a Dog won Tropfest in 1996 and screened at Telluride, Clermont-Ferrand, Tampere, Aspen and London amongst others.
Following this, Jonathan directed a 35mm short film Trunk, a digital short feature Jetset, and most recently a no-budget black and white Super 8 feature, Emulsion, which screened at the Brisbane International Film Festival, Cinema des Antipodes St Tropez and Ozflix in Toronto.
Jonathan was a Project Officer, Assessor and Reader at the FTO for several years, and has written a number of feature screenplays, both original and commissioned. The Tender Hook, the feature which Jonathan developed for several years as a writer/director, was completed in 2008.
Michelle Harrison (producer)
Michelle Harrison is a highly respected creative executive with a slate of films in development and pre production. Credits include THE TENDER HOOK, an AUD $7 million feature film funded by the Australian Film Finance Corporation (FFC) and Parkland Pictures (UK), and Black Water, an AUD $1.2 million feature film funded under the Australian Film Commission’s (AFC) Indivision program.
In 2006 Michelle was the Project Manager establishing the new National Indigenous Television (NITV) service from the first submission to securing $48.5 million from the Australian government to establish and operate the new television service for four years.
Michelle was Director of Development, Finance & Production for the FTO from 1998-2001. She administered a $10 million budget and was instrumental in funding development, production and loan financing of internationally recognised Australian feature films including Beneath Clouds (Berlin 2002, Premiere Award for Best First Feature), Walking On Water (Berlin 2002, Teddy Award), Lantana and The Man Who Sued God. She devised a low budget financing strategy enabling production of Jonathan Teplitzky’s Better Than Sex and David Caesar’s Mullet. With strategic investment in Australian talent in mind, Michelle devised the program framework that secured significant government finance for the Aurora Program, a script development workshop now entering its third year, from which have emerged Cate Shortland’s Somersault –Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2004 (Jan Chapman Prod.), Rowan Woods’ Little Fish starring Cate Blanchett and the Tristram Miall produced The Black Balloon.
From 1995-97 Michelle was a Production & Development Executive at the AFC. Features, short films and documentaries she funded and shepherded through production garnered international attention including Mallboy directed by Vincent Giarusso (Directors Fortnight, Cannes 2000), Mullet, City Loop (both at Toronto 2000), and Film Noir (Cannes 1996 Short Film Competition).
Prior to joining the AFC Michelle attended the Australian Film Television and Radio School to study writing and her credits range across theatre (Black Cockatoos, also adapted for ABC national radio), television (Law of The Land) and short film. She was awarded an AFC Script and Story Editing Fellowship in 1995, working first with Spring Creek Productions (Analyse This, Analyse That, Possession, Fearless) at Warner Bros in Los Angeles, and participating in the SOURCES (MEDIA ’95) script development workshops in Europe.
A graduate of the Australian National University (ANU) Michelle is also a lawyer with a background in private practice and with the Law Society of NSW.
John Brousek (Producer)
John Brousek is an established independent Australian producer who entered the Australian film industry in 1986. His credits include the Australian commercial hit The Wog Boy, which took AUS$11.4 million theatrically in 1999/2000.
John produced Hating Alison Ashley, an AUS$7 million feature adapted from Robin Klein’s best-selling young-adult novel which, since publication in 1984, has generated sales in excess of 250,000 copies in Australia and the UK. The film stars Delta Goodrem.
John has worked in all facets of Australian film production, including various roles as Production Accountant and Financial Controller on films such as Babe (Chris Noonan), Idiot Box (David Caesar), and the franchise Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. His producer credits range across feature film, documentary and children’s television.
In 1997-98 John worked as a creative executive for Becker Entertainment before starting his own production company in 1998. Prior to that, in 1996, he was the Production Consultant to the Melbourne Film Office building on his experience of two years in a similar role for the Australian Children’s Television Foundation in 1994-95.
Initially a theatre director with extensive credits devising and producing entertainment for audiences in all age demographics, John’s diversification into film saw him invited to attend the Sundance Institute Writer/Director workshops in 1990-91. With a graduate diploma in Producing from the AFTRS, John has been an Affiliate Director with the Sydney Theatre Company and has also studied acting and directing at the Ensemble Studios. John has also produced the documentary Against Wind and Tide and the feature film Sensitive New Age Killer.
Geoffrey Simpson (Director of Photography)
Geoffrey Simpson, one of Australia’s most successful cinematographers, has a prolific career in both Australia and internationally. He recently filmed Romulus My Father for director Richard Roxburgh, starring Eric Bana. He has also recently worked as a cinematographer on the US TV mini-series The Starter Wife with Debra Messing, Judy Davis and Miranda Otto. Geoffrey’s work includes The Last Holiday for director Wayne Wang, starring Gerard Depardieu and Under The Tuscan Sun starring Diane Lane. Throughout his career Geoffrey has worked on prestigious projects such as Little Women and The Last Days of Chez Nous for director Gillian Armstrong, Peter Weir’s Green Card, Jon Avnet’s Fried Green Tomatoes, Anthony Minghella’s Mr Wonderful, Scott Hick’s Shine, John Seale’s ‘Til There Was You and The Navigator directed by Vincent Ward and produced by John Maynard.
A recipient of numerous accolades, Simpson has won Australian Film Industry Awards for Oscar and Lucinda (1998), Shine (1996), The Navigator (1988) and was nominated for The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992). In 1985 Simpson won the Golden Tripod ACS Award and Milli Award as Cinematographer of the Year for the feature film Playing Beattie Bow and won an ACS Merit Award in the same year for Scott Hicks’ Call Me Mr Brown. The Shiralee, an Australian television mini-series, won him the Silver Tripod ACS Award in 1987, and in 1988, he won the Golden Tripod ACS Award for Kennedy Miller’s tele-feature Riddle of the Stinson.
Ken Sallows (Editor)
Ken Sallows began working in the Australian film and television industry in 1973, having deferred a scholarship to the University of Melbourne to study Arts.
At the beginning of his career he worked on staff at Crawford Productions as a trainee script assistant, transferring to assistant editor after three months. He then went on to edit the first 128 episodes of the Australian television serial The Sullivans, in 1975.
In 1976 Ken went freelance to combine work as the first assistant editor on 10 feature films including The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and The Man From Snowy River and several television mini-series, with work editing television mini-series and serials. A change of direction for Ken in 1982 led him into editing and post-production on documentaries and in 1984 he edited his first feature The Slim Dusty Movie.
Since then Ken has been able to combine editing work on cinema released features, television mini-series, documentaries, short films, music videos, cinema trailers and commercials. In addition, Ken lectures and writes about editing, initiating the publication of Walter Murch’s book In the Blink of an Eye about editing. He also initiated, co-produced and post-produced the award winning short film, Feathers, based on the short story by Raymond Carver in 1986.
In late 2000, the Australian Screen Editors Guild presented Ken with Honorary Life Membership and the Year 2000 ASE honour for his contribution to editing and in 2002 he became credited at Ken Sallows ASE.
Pete Baxter (Production Designer)
Pete Baxter has worked on projects of varying scope, scale and sensibility. Recent work includes a series of collaborations with Ivan Sen, culminating in the award winning Beneath Clouds; and conceiving the many and varied worlds in The Umbilical Brothers’ Upside Down Show (Logie winner for Best Children’s Show). He was designer for Michael James Rowland’s Lucky Miles (2007), and most recently re-created 1920s Sydney in the period feature The Tender Hook (2008) directed by Jonathan Ogilvie.
Bringing a lively and imaginative approach, he draws on both his fine arts and construction expertise and places strong emphasis on broad conceptual ideas in developing ideas and the finer textual details of implementing them.
Pete was born in New Zealand, and moved to Sydney to complete a degree in Visual Arts (Sculpture) at Sydney College of the Arts in 1990. The next few years saw him exhibiting in Australia and NZ, project managing at a set building company and working on Music Video clips. In 1995 he consolidated his skills and experience at AFTRS where he studied Production Design.
When not working on feature films Pete works with some of Australia’s top directors on television commercials.
Chris Abrahams (Composer)
Chris Abrahams is probably best known for his work as the pianist with the Australian trio The Necks. With them he has released thirteen albums and toured extensively in Australia, Europe and the USA. He has also released five solo albums and five albums with the singer/songwriter Melanie Oxley. As a film composer, Chris has written soundtracks for both television and the cinema. These include soundtracks for the feature films The Boys (with the Necks) and Emulsion as well as for the television series The Two of Us (SBS), Bad Behaviour (ABC), In the Mind of The Architect (ABC, with The Necks) and A Case for The Coroner (ABC).
Liam Egan (Sound Designer)
Liam Egan started his career in sound at community radio station 2XX in Canberra. He has been working freelance in the Australian film industry for just over 20 years.
During this time Liam has been the Sound Designer on over 20 feature films including Suburban Mayhem, Hating Alison Ashley, Dirty Deeds, The Wog Boy and Idiot Box. Internationally he was also the Sound Designer on US films including Man-Thing and George of the Jungle 2.
He has been nominated for, and won, numerous awards from organisations such as the Australian Film Institute, Inside Film, Flickerfest, The Australian Screen Sound Guild and the US Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE).
Liam has recently completed work on Ten Empty and Hey Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger as well as THE TENDER HOOK.
Cappi Ireland (Costume Designer)
Cappi Ireland is a graduate of VCA with a bachelor in Creative Arts.
Cappi has worked in Melbourne and Sydney in the film and television industry for over twelve years working on numerous feature films, telemovies, shorts, television series and TVCs.
Cappi’s film experience is extensive. She has costume supervised various feature films including Rowan Wood’s feature Little Fish and worked as Uma Thurman’s costumer on Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2.
Her feature credits as Costume Designer include THE TENDER HOOK, The Home Song Stories, for which she was awarded an AFI for Best Costume Deign in 2007, Tropfest Feature September, Footy Legends and Manthing.
She has also designed two SBS features; Stuart Mc Donald’s Stranded and Jessica Hobbs’ So Close to Home; an ABC TV telemovie Stepfather of the Bride and Foxtel’s Love My Way TV series. She is currently working on an ABC TV series Very Small Business and will be going on to design Robert Connolly’s feature Balibo and Tony Ayres’s telemovie Saved.
Greg Apps (Casting Director)
After a quarter of a century in casting, it is no wonder IF magazine has described Greg Apps as a ‘casting veteran’. With over 50 feature films to his credit, and countless hours of television, I guess the veteran tag fits.
His film career goes back even further though, starting as an actor in the 70s in Sunday Too Far Away, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and Mad Dog Morgan.
Film casting credits include Mission: Impossible II, Chopper, Romper Stomper and The Interview. TV credits include RAN for SBS and Phoenix for ABC TV.
He is also responsible for starting some famous careers. He cast Russell Crowe in Proof and Romper Stomper, Eric Bana in Chopper, Radha Mitchell in Love and Other Catastrophes and Guy Pearce in the first six films of his career.
Kirsten Vesey (Hair and Make-Up Supervisor)
Kirsten Veysey brings over twenty years experience to her role as Make-up Designer for The Home Song Stories and Personal Make-up artist for Joan Chen. Her film credits include Little Fish, BoyTown, My Brother Jack, Chopper, Oscar and Lucinda and Angel Baby. Her extensive television experience includes Kick, After The Deluge, Started Wife and Halifax FP Series 1-6. She works very closely with her creative team of Andrea Cadzow, Zeljka Stanin and Jodie Hellingman in the projects she undertakes.
FILM FINANCE CORPORATION AUSTRALIA and MANDALA FILMS
WITH PARKLAND PICTURES
Matt Le Nevez
THE TENDER HOOK
Writer and Director JONATHAN OGILVIE
Producers MICHELLE HARRISON and JOHN BROUSEK
Executive Producers JOHN CAIRNS, BJORG VELAND AND MIKE KLEIN
Director of Photography GEOFFREY SIMPSON
Editor KEN SALLOWS
Production Designer PETE BAXTER
Composer CHRIS ABRAHAMS
Sound Designer LIAM EGAN
Costume Designer CAPPI IRELAND
Casting GREG APPS
Hair & Make-up Supervisor KIRSTEN VESEY
Cast in order of appearance
Iris ROSE BYRNE
Donnie TYLER COPPIN
Ronnie JOHN BATCHELOR
McHeath HUGO WEAVING
Art Walker MATT Le NEVEZ
‘The Subjects’ Trumpet ANDRE NOLTE
‘The Subjects’ Bass DANIEL POTTS
‘The Subjects’ Banjo CHRIS WOOD
‘The Subjects’ Drummer BRAYDON CHLOW
Art’s Corner Man JOHN LAKOS
Mike Flynn BRENDAN GUERIN
Referee #1 GRAHAM MURRAY
Daisy PIA MIRANDA
Hackett KUNI HASHIMOTO
Roy BOB MURDOCH
Alby O’Shea LUKE CARROLL
Greyhound Eddie DON BRIDGES
Nurse PHILLIPA BAIN
Delaney MARK RAYNER
Referee # 2 IAN ROONEY
A Tailor BRUCE BARNES
Charlie Walker DAMIEN AYLWARD
Broom Wielder # 1 JARRAH COCKS
Chaff Bag Boxer # 2 GRAHAM JAHNE
Chaff Bag Boxer # 3 CHRIS CHALMERS
Chaff Bag Boxer # 4 CHRIS WILSON
Bicycle Rider PATRICK NICHOLLS
Senator Brown JOHN DICKS
Reporter # 1 FRED BARKER
Reporter # 2 GREG CARROLL
Photographer MARC LAWRENCE
Undercard Boxer # 1 SIROS NIAROS
Undercard Boxer # 2 JESSIE ROWLES
Referee # 1 FRED BARKER
Boxing MC STEWART FAICHNEY
Jimmy KODI SMIT-McPHEE
Stand-Ins JAKE RYAN
Race Caller IAN CRAIG
Production Manager SUE WILD
First Assistant Director MARSHALL CROSBY
Production Co-Ordinator SERENA GATTUSO
2nd Assistant Director TODD EMBLING
Production Secretary DANIEL CARDONE
Travel Co-Ordinator AMANDA WRAY
Producer’s Assistant BECKY HEAD
Production Assistant FIONA STAFFORD
Production Runner CELLA MONAGHAN
3rd Assistant Director MANNY CARICCIOLO
Production Accountant PATRICK NICHOLLS
Assistant Accountant JANE MORONEY
Script Supervisor JANE FORBES
Extras Casting LILLY DAWSON
Location Manager GUY SUTHERLAND
Additional Location Manager JOHN GREEN
Focus Puller ADRIEN SEFFRIN
Clapper Loader MICHELLE MARCHANT
Video Split Operator MONIQUE LEWIS
Additional Split Operator SARAH TURNER
Underwater Cinematography ROGER BUCKINGHAM ACS
Gaffer IAN DEWHURST
Best Boys LEX MARTIN
Electrics ROB DEWHURST
Key Grip ROB HANSFORD
Dolly Grip CHRIS HANSFORD
Best Boy Grips JASON HANSFORD
Assistant Grip MARK HANNEYSEE
Rigging Grip STEVE WELLS
Sound Recordist GARY WILKINS
Boom Swinger MARK WASIUTAK
Film Victoria Sound Department Attachment FABRICE GALLI
Art Director JANIE PARKER
Art Dept Co-Ordinator ANNA MOLYNEAUX
Set Decorator MARION MURRAY
Buyer/Dressers HONI KELLER
Graphic Designer MICHAEL WHOLLY
Props Master HANNAH KNOWLTON
Props Maker CHRIS BRUCE
Stand-By Props BEN BAUER
Stand-By Props Assistant CLANCY BURROWES
Art Department Runner NICK HEPBURN
Film Victoria Art Department Attachment MELISSA PAGE
Armourer FILM GUNS PTY LTD
Vehicle Co-Ordinator SJM CO-ORDINATION
Construction Manager SIMON FIELD
Carpenter SOL SUTHERLAND
Labourers ERIC MERLOT
JEAN-LUC QUANG TRUNG TRAN
Scenic Artist CLIVE JONES
Set Finisher RIC HADDON
Special Effects ABSXF PTY LTD
Special Effects Technicians EUCLA DAVIES
Art Department Additionals AMANDA CROY
Costume Supervisor MICHAEL DAVIES
Costume Stand-By CAROLYN (RUBY) WELLS
Costume Assistant FIONA McKINNON
Costume Buyers KATRINA PICKERING
Jewellery Supplied by JAN LOGAN JWELLERY
Make-Up Designer KIRSTEN VESEY
Hair Designer CHERYL WILLIAMS
Hair & Make-Up Artist ANDREA CADZOW
Hair & Make-Up Assistant DANNI McDOWELL
Stunt Co-Ordinator ZEV ELEFTHERIOU
Assistant Stunt Co-Ordinators GRAHAM JAHNE
Boxing Fitness Trainer PAUL MILLER
Choreographer LUCY GUERIN
Unit Manager MARK (SHARKY) JOHNSTON
Unit Assistants PHIL TAYLOR
Location Runner JOE LOH
Unit Nurse LIBBY EVAN
Safety Officer ADRIAN KORTUS
Cast Driver HANS van BEUGE
Catering HEL’S KITCHEN
Swing Drivers/Security WALTER ZAITZEV
Security FILCON SAFETY GROUP
Studio Manager JOHN CHASE
Travel Service ENCORE TRAVEL
Freight Service REEL FREIGHT
Unit Publicist MIRANDA BROWN PUBLICITY
Stills Photographer CAROLYN JOHNS
Legal Services LYNDON SAYER JONES
Insurance BRIAN HOLLAND INSURANCE
Completion Bond FACB
Assistant Editors MERI BLAZEVSKI
Edit Facilities THE JOINERY
Post Production Script JO STEWART
Daily Rushes DIGITAL PICTURES
Client Service Liaison PAMELA HAMMOND
Rushes Co-Ordination RACHEL McKELLAR-HARDING
Telecine Colourist AMANDA SHORT
VFX Consultants FUEL INTERNATIONAL
On Set VFX Supervisor ANDREAS WANDA
Rushes Liaison IAN LETCHER
Negative Management KEVIN LYNCH
Digital Intermediate Services CINIVEX DIGITAL
Digital Intermediate Producer IAN ANDERSON
Digital Colourist IAN LETCHER
Compositor BRAD FLOYD
Cinevex Digital Crew CAROLYNE WHITELEY
Scanning/Recording ROSS MITCHELL
HD Colourist IAN LETCHER
Title Design ATLAB
Compositor BRAD DUNN
3D Modelling & Animation SIMON ALBERRY
Client Liaison NATHAN SMITH
Archival Footage NATIONAL FILM AND
Additional Archival Footage FILM WORLD AND CINESOUND
Sound Design LIAM EGAN
Re-Recording Mixer PHIL JUDD MPSE
Dialogue Supervisor TONY MURTAGH
ADR Supervisor JENNY T WARD
Sound Effects Editor ALICIA SLUSARSKI
Foley Artist LES FIDDESS MPSE
Foley Mixer MARTIN OSWIN
Foley Editor SAM HAYWARD
Foley Facilitator REDLINE SOUND STUDIOS
Sound Editing and Mixing Facility PHILMSOUND
ADR Facility (Australia) PHILMSOUND
ADR Facility (USA) SOUNDTRACK NEW YORK
Loop Group RMK
Music Licensing KIM GREEN
Original music composed by CHRIS ABRAHAMS
Music Recorded at MEGAPHON STUDIOS
Additional music recorded at SING SING
Musicians JONATHAN ZWARTZ
"Ballad Of A Thin Man"
Written by Bob Dylan
Published by SONY/ATV Music Publishing
Performed by Higo Weaving
Arranged by Chris Abrahams
"I’m Your Man"
Written by Leonard Cohen
Published by SON.AVT Music Publishing
Performed by Hugo Weaving
Arranged by Chris Abrahams
Written by James Osterberg/Ricky Gardener
© 1977 James Osterberg Music/
Mainman SAAG. Admin & Licensed by
EMI Virgin Music Publishing Australia Pty Limited
& AMI Music Publishing Australia Pty Limited
& Hebbes Music Group
All Rights Reserved
The Producers gratefully acknowledge the support of:
City of Bayside
City of Melbourne
Wellington Shire council
National Trust of Australia
Field and Game Board of Sale, Victoria
Gippsland Armed Forces Museum
Neville Gibbons, Rick Hanning, Rory Este
Middle Brighton Baths
Filmed at Ripponlea Estate – A National Trust Property
Australian Workers’ Union
Uwe Scheid Collection
The Family of Harold Cazneaux
National Library of Australia
Greenwood & Freehills
Scaffolding supplied by Showtech Australia
Special Thanks to:
Cinders, Virginia Murray & Brian Lee, Lyn Mactintosh, Anne Tsoulis,
Tamara Popper, Barbara Masel, Markus Lambert, Dai Le,
the Harrisons, the Humpheries, Jane Corbett, Bettina Wilhelm,
Sonja Armstrong, the Topfers, Gary Grant, Damian Trotter,
Duncan Thompson, Tait Brady, Ross Matthews, Madeleine Enfield,
Antonia Batsakis, Lisa Scott, Annabelle Sheehan, Needeya Islam,
Paul McNeil, Keith Saunders, Hamish Ogilvie, Belinda Chayko,
Nick Wagner, Rennie Chayko & Charlie Ogilvie.
Sasha Brousek, Lisa Hilbert.
Travel assistance from
New South Wales Film and Television Office
The Characters and events depicted in this film are fictitious. Any
Similarities to actual persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental.
Copyright in this cinematographic film (including without limitation, the
Soundtrack thereof) is protected under the laws of Australian and other
Countries. Unauthorised copying, duplication or exhibition may result in
Civil liability and criminal action.
© 2008 Film Finance Corporation Australia Limited,
Michelle Harrison, Black Frame Pty Ltd and Mandala Films Pty Ltd
All Rights Reserved