TV

Rake's Richard Roxburgh reveals his soft spot for Cleaver Greene: 'It's hard to let go'

The actor confesses the series' end hasn't hit home yet

By Cynthia Wang

When Richard Roxburgh answers TV WEEK's phone call, his hands are covered in glue.

The actor has been installing a child-safety fence at the bottom of his stairs prior to talking to us and he's doing his best not to get stuck to the phone.

Even so, he's enjoying the chance to chat about the fifth and final season of his beloved series, the wicked dramedy Rake, even if he hasn't processed that his days of being irascible Cleaver Greene are ending.

"It's really hard to let it go," Richard, 56, concedes.

"The last couple of weeks filming were really bittersweet, so it hasn't quite hit me."

"I don't think of that as Cleaver's last-ever outing. So I don't know when that's going to actually strike home. That will be an additionally strange revelation."

When Rake made its debut on the ABC in 2010, Cleaver was a morally dubious and womanising defence barrister who could be as clueless about his personal life as he was brilliant in the courtroom.

The show earnt critical raves and was a ratings smash hit, garnering Richard a TV WEEK Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actor in 2011.

"He's such chaotic energy," Richard says of his character.

"The physical comedy seems to be a natural expression of Cleaver's inner turmoil, or the difficulty in trying to restrain a personality that's gigantic."

Richard filming one of his more memorable scenes in Canberra.
Richard filming one of his more memorable scenes in Canberra.

Yet being a political animal this season hasn't curbed any bad habits.

"It's a kind of resting place for Cleaver Greene, the Australian Senate," Richard says.

"Particularly now because of the wild and wacky people who populate that place. They're a perfect kind of sandpit for Cleaver to play amongst."

By contrast to his roguish alter ego, Richard is a family man.

He's married to cookbook author and TV presenter Silvia Colloca, 41. They have two sons Raphael, 11, and Miro, seven, and a daughter, 16-month-old Luna.

"Oh, it's so beautiful," Richard says of having a little girl.

"I mean, luckily she's just an angel of a child as well, but it's quite different."

"Silvia recently went over to work in Thailand for a couple of weeks and took Luna with her, and the oestrogen barometer plummeted in the house."

"I noticed the boys started turning into baby werewolves! I honestly think it's just testosterone in the air. So it does change things for the better."

Richard's next project is a series that will find him spending a few months "in a very cold part of Northern Europe", he hints.

But his family won't be joining him overseas.

"It's a bit tricky with the boys in school," Richard explains.

Last year, Richard reprised his role as crooked cop Roger Rogerson in Channel Seven's miniseries Blue Murder: Killer Cop.

The year before that, he made his Broadway debut in Andrew Upton's The Present opposite his pal Cate Blanchett. He also wrote and illustrated a children's book, Artie And The Grime Wave.

One genre he hasn't yet tackled is reality. Given what he was up to earlier in the day, could a DIY show be on the way?

"If you could have seen me a half an hour ago swearing, cursing and tearing at this child-safety gate downstairs, I think you have your answer there!" he says with a hearty laugh.

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