Toby Schmitz (McLeod’s Daughters, The Pacific, The Cooks) will play the lead role in the third Underbelly telemovie That Man Who Got Away.
He will play David McMillan, the only westerner to ever escape Thailand’s Klong Prem prison.
The synopsis describes him as “A Melbourne man from a privileged background, of immense charm and intelligence, who could have been anything, but instead chose a life of crime.
“While still in his early 20s McMillan’s exploits earned him a place on Interpol’s Ten Most Wanted list, but he proved an elusive figure. Aided and abetted by his lover Clelia Vigano, the daughter of respectable Melbourne restaurateurs, McMillan’s ambitions, and ego, were boundless – until the day ‘Lady Luck’ found a new paramour and he found himself a guest of Thailand’s notorious Bangkok Hilton facing a death sentence. But McMillan was no ordinary inmate and became the first Westerner to escape Klong Prem Prison.”
It also features Claire van der Boom as Clelia Vigano, plus Jeremy Sims, Aaron Jeffery, Nicholas Eadie, Brendan Cowell, Freya Stafford, Josh Lawson, John Orcisk, William Zappa, Heather Mitchell and Deirdre Rubenstein.
Ironically, Wikipedia notes that as a child, 12-year-old McMillan even appeared nightly on the Nine Network’s Peters Junior News, presenting news stories for children in a regular 5-minute TV bulletin.
“We’re all delighted with the way that filming has progressed on the Underbelly Files,” said Des Monaghan, Executive Director of Screentime.
“With The Man Who Got Away, we have an incredible, real-life tale of a man who chose to live life on his own terms, despite the often dire consequences.”
Nine Network Head of Drama, Jo Horsburgh, added, “I never fail to be impressed by the depth of talent this country continues to deliver, whether it be in front of or behind the camera, and I am confident that The Man Who Got Away will introduce Australian households to yet another crop of up-and-coming stars.”
Filming begins on the telemovie today, to be directed by Cherie Nowlan from a screenplay by Kris Mrksa. It is produced by Peter Gawler and Elisa Argenzio with Des Monaghan, Jo Horsburgh and Greg Haddrick as executive producers. The film follows production of two other telemovies, Tell Them Lucifer Was Here and Infiltration.
McMillan is currently residing in the UK and is still wanted in Australia for breaching parole.
The UK government refuses to extradite anyone to a country that still carries the death penalty while breaching parole is not an extraditable offence.