Get a load of this: actor Lachy Hulme – made up as the lead for the mini-series Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War – is walking from The Hotel Windsor, where he is filming, to Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar for lunch. As he enters the Melbourne institution, co-owner Sisto Malaspina laughs: “What does your mother say about this!”
Melbourne boy Lachy explains: “I’d been going to Pellegrini’s since I was a kid and had my first taste of coffee from the top of a cappuccino there. Playing Kerry Packer was like putting on a Superman suit. Walking down Bourke St was like the parting of the Red Sea. Ha! I also went into a DVD store to buy a movie that day and the guy behind the counter told me that his dad used to work for Kerry Packer.” What are the chances?
Lachy continues: “I survived playing Blake in Romper Stomper by cracking Rodney Dangerfield jokes in between takes because we all knew we were playing terrible people and had to turn off and muck around to survive. I knew I was going to be an actor even while I was still at school. Wesley College had an excellent drama program, and I was already doing an hour of drama per day and four hours on the weekend. I did a three-week intensive course at the Victorian College of the Arts after VCE, wrote a screenplay which got optioned when I was 19, and was doing Acropolis Now at 20. Being cast in The Hollowmen, which was produced by Working Dog Productions, was great for my career. I’ve been lucky. I’ve never had to ‘look’ for work. There were days I was living on a tin of tuna early on in my career though and I didn’t drive a car because I couldn’t afford one.”
Any of you who have followed Lachy’s acting career will know this 49-year-old is as diverse as they come. Think his Dr Martin Clegg character in Offspring, then his Lord Kitchener in the TV mini-series Gallipoli. A self-confessed “movie addict”, he is on his way to Steve Bastoni’s Peninsula Film Festival – running from March 5-7 – where he will be guest judging for the 10th time, and he’s keen.
Lachy continues: “I spent half my life growing up in Sorrento and Portsea swimming and snorkelling in the rock pools at Diamond Bay and going to Shelley Beach. My grandfather put the flag in the ground in Portsea when he bought The Cutting, and his second wife used to own Stringers. My parents had a place in Melbourne Rd. I used to prepare for shows there but haven’t holidayed on the Peninsula for about 10 years now. Doing the film festival is the highlight of the year because I get to go back. I’m the permanent guest judge; they can’t get rid of me. Steve is like an older brother, and I love celebrating the local talent. There is a ‘holy shit’ moment every year. The quality of work is amazing and I love interacting with the filmmakers.”
Lachy reckons being an actor “is the best job in the world” as long as you remember to have fun and get along. He concludes: “Last time I was doing the film festival I stayed at the Rye Hotel and had fish and chips for dinner near the pier. Not sure where I’ll be staying this time, but I can’t wait.”
Check out our preview of the Peninsula Film Festival in the Arts section of this edition of Mornington Peninsula Magazine to find out more about what goes on. Welcome back, Mr Hulme.