Australia’s favourite family of film turns 20 on 10 April. Back in 1997, The Castle premiered in Australian cinemas and was instantly etched into the national identity alongside the notion of a fair go. The film, which was written in a fortnight, filmed in 10.5 days and produced for roughly $750,000, was the little cinematic battler that made good, eventually grossing more than $10 million in Australia alone.
The Castle starred Michael Caton (Packed to the Rafters, Last Cab to Darwin) as heroic everyman, Darryl Kerrigan. Anne Tenney, who had won an enduring place in Aussie hearts a decade earlier as Molly Jones in A Country Practice, played Darryl’s devoted wife, Sal.
In the current issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, we have reunited Michael and Anne who reveal their favourite memories of the filming.
Both now acknowledge that The Castle’s script was the best they’d ever worked with. Written by Rob Sitch and members of the team behind TV comedy gems like Frontline and the D-Generation, The Castle was a masterful brew of big-hearted Aussie spirit, social conscience and side-splitting one-liners.
"Sal’s a gentle person,” Anne tells The Weekly. "She has this unerring faith in her husband – she adores him – and an unconditional love for her family. The fact that her son, Wayne, is in jail doesn’t faze her – he’s a good boy, The film is a fairytale in a lot of ways."
Michael sees the film’s heart in “Darryl’s impossible optimism – his belief that everything’s going to be all right. I admire that naïve optimism. He’s about to get clobbered. It’s like a car crash coming and he can’t see it.”
Here they are, reunited 20 years on...
Here are some of our favourite quotes from the cult classic film:
1. Darryl Kerrigan: Tell 'em they're dreamin'.
2. Federal Court Judge: And what Law are you basing this argument on?
Darryl Kerrigan: The Law of bloody common sense!
3. Dale Kerrigan: If Dad is the backbone, Mum is the other bones — all of 'em.
4. Dale Kerrigan: If there's anything Dad loved more than serenity, it was a big two stroke engine on full throttle!
5. Darryl Kerrigan: Oh Steve, could you move the Camira? I need to get the Torana out so I can get to the Commodore.
Steve: I'll have to get the keys to the Cortina if I'm gonna move that Camira.
Darryl: Yeah, watch the boat mate.
6. Sal Kerrigan: Good onya darl’!
7. Denis Denuto: It’s the vibe of the thing, Your Honour.
8. Dale Kerrigan: Dad still can’t work out how he got it so cheap. It’s worth almost as much today as when we bought it.
9. Darryl Kerrigan: You can’t buy what I’ve got.
10. Laurie Hammill: You can acquire a house but you can’t acquire a home, because a home is not built of bricks and mortar but of love and memories. You can’t pay for it and you’re just short-changing people if you try.
11. Darryl Kerrigan: That’s going straight to the pool room!
Catch Darryl and Sal's heartwarming reunion and full interview in this month's issue of The Australian Women's Weekly, out now!