I certainly was. It was very confronting. People forget. It is like a documentary now, because the skinhead gangs were really on the streets of Melbourne. One of my first paying gigs when I was 18, was that I was paid $30 to host a battle of the bands at a pub in Prahran, Melbourne, and a skinhead band was one of the acts performing. They came second. Before I even had a chance to read out the winner by virtual default the skinheads knew they were coming second, they charged the stage and chased me into the back alleys of Melbourne!
Interestingly at the moment in Australia, as with most things in show business, it is quite cyclical so we are going through a big period of sequels and remakes and Romper Stomper does seem like the logical fit. Especially considering the political climate that we are living in. You know Pauline Hanson is back as a force, Donald Trump, who is pretty much a white nationalist, is President of the United States. Despite this, I initially thought I might pass on it simply because of the nature of the character that they wanted me to play. I was hesitant to want to get into that headspace.
No, I am not insane! [Laughs] I know that I'm acting. And any other actor who claims otherwise is bullshitting, quite frankly. When we were shooting Beaconsfield people would say to me that I bet that shoot was tough. I would say are you kidding me? We would get out of that cage for a catered lunch. It's acting. It's fun.
He is the leader of the group called Patriot Blue and unlike the skinheads in the first film, this guy is smart enough to figure out that swastikas don't help you. They've swapped the swastikas for the Southern Cross and they are not talking in terms of racism. They are talking in terms of free speech. He is loosely based on a number of people from Australia and the United States. If you spend five minutes on these people's twitter feeds, it is enough to make you throw up.
I am not surprised that Toby was cast; I was very excited to hear that he had been. I had seen a feature film that he had done called the Boys In The Trees. He clearly has star potential. So when I first read the script I asked John who is playing Kane and he said that it is this young kid Toby Wallace I thought that is a big kick for me wanting to get involved because I want to work with this young guy. He shouldered the responsibility of what effectively is the lead role with incredible maturity. He's also a really cheeky funny guy. He's a big Steve Coogan fan so you'd get a lot of Alan Partridge impersonations on set. He'd switch from the heart of darkness to Steve Coogan with a blink of his eye.
Gee wiz. The catering was really good! [Laughs] I tell you what, I love working. So that's why I pick and choose carefully because it takes a lot of energy to get up at 4am in the morning and do this. On set I think maybe Toby Wallace screaming out "TWAT" in Steve Coogan's voice when he messed up a line! [Laughs] If I am going to give anyone special props to anyone it's to the hair and makeup team because they went above and beyond. Wait to you see it. Everybody's looks are so radical. All the tattoo work, wounds on people's faces. It's a gore fest. There's a lot of blood spilt in this one – it's not your grandparents Romper Stomper that's for sure.