Underbelly inspires Dieter Brummer
Dieter Brummer tells TV Tonight that watching former Home and Away colleagues in the first season of Underbelly drove him to returning to the industry.
Dieter Brummer says watching the first series of Underbelly inspired him to make a return to acting.
After years out of the spotlight as an actor, his appearance as Detective Trevor Haken in the second series was his first role in a very long time.
“It literally was watching the first series of Underbelly as a viewer,” he told TV Tonight. “I thought, ‘Finally we’re making some decent Aussie drama.’ It’s gritty and real and obviously developed a good following. And I think viewers want to see Australian content with stories they can relate to rather than purely fictionally-based characters.”
His role as Haken in the second season was so minor his friends joked that he must be playing a mute character, but in the third season, The Golden Mile, he becomes a pivotal figure, playing a ‘Supergrass’ who divulged his secrets to the Wood Royal Commission. The role could effectively revive the career fortunes for Brummer, 33, as the earlier seasons did for former Summer Bay colleagues.
“I figured Les Hill can do it, Daniel Amalm can do it, and so did quite a few people from the first series I had either worked with or known in the past. I think the Australian public enjoys seeing faces that they might not have seen for a long time. Fingers crossed it does well for those of us who have been around for a while or are rehashing our careers.”
Brummer’s star had a meteoric rise from the age of 15 as Shane Parrish on Home and Away between 1992 – 1996. He adorned magazine covers, won Silver Logies and garnered media attention in both Australia and the UK.
But when he reached his 20s he left the industry for more humble pursuits. Some reports seemingly took pleasure in contrasting his TV stardom with a later occupation as high-rise window cleaner.
“It was a pretty intense time coming out of high school to receive all this fame and adulation. As great as it was I wanted to prove to myself I could get my hands dirty and sweat for a buck as easily as standing around on set, being primped and preened,” he says.
“People say that I’m just a window cleaner, in reality it’s substantially more involved than that. Working at heights it’s a relatively specialist trade.”
Brummer says as well as fitting with his earlier skills in rock climbing, it satisfied a desire to live out of the spotlight of a hectic soap lifestyle.
“I just wanted to get a bit of real life experience under my belt, but I’d always intended on coming back to the acting game at some point,” he says.
“That’s come to fruition now, but what the future holds I’m not quite sure. I know that I’ve got something to fall back on rather than going down to my local and asking if they’ve got any shifts pulling beers.
“I was so busy as a teenager I didn’t get to join friends on trips or do a lot of the things my friends got to do. I spent the early part of my 20s catching up on a few years that I’d missed out on.”
Playing Haken in Underbelly, Brummer is partnered with a screen-wife played by Natalie Bassingthwaighte. As a character who started out naively acepting cash in brown paper bags, by the third series he is a lot more relaxed.
“He had to follow suit along with the rest of his colleagues,” says Brummer. “You have to do what the others do. By the end of the third series he’s become quite adept at receiving money. He really came into his own.”
Brummer is also careful about his choice of words, which makes publicising the show a balancing act.
“There’s a lot of legal issues surrounding the programme and what can and can’t be said. Given we are dealing with real life personalities as actors you have to be very cautious about giving your own personal opinion for fear of defamation. It makes it more difficult to talk about than just a fictionally based character,” he says.
“The show’s got to be promoted and publicised, so I’m happy to do my bit. You’ve just got to tread cautiously.”
Underbelly: The Golden Mile premieres 8:30pm Sunday on Nine.