Luck of Jack Irish smiles on Aaron Pedersen

Aaron Pederson knows representation on the screen is important, but he is more content with a good role.

The role of ‘Cam Delray’ is the first TV role Aaron Pedersen has undertaken since the (non) cancellation of Seven’s City Homicide (strictly speaking Seven still hasn’t officially cancelled the series).

Pedersen played Duncan Freeman for four years, but now appears as the streetwise and sometimes enigmatic right hand man to Jack Irish (Guy Pearce) in ABC’s two telemovies.

Based on the books by writer Peter Temple, Jack Irish is a former criminal lawyer now part-time private investigator and debt collector. Irish is an expert at finding people that don’t want to be found and discovering people’s dark and deadly secrets, as well as having to face his own demons.

Cam Delray is wiry, agile, handy with a gun and his fists, doing all the things Jack Irish won’t do.

When TV Tonight visited the shoot late last year, that involved shady doings at a racetrack at Moonee Valley.

“He’s enjoyable. A lot of fun. I don’t have to cut my hair or shave my beard so it’s nice,” joked Pedersen.

“Peter Temple is a good writer and the scripts are really good. But I suppose it was the chance to play someone really different … to have someone who has more to life to him than just a job is kind of nice. He has a good personality too.

“Cam is one of those guys who is pretty much living his life.”

The cast includes some wonderful character actors in both principal and supporting roles: Marta Dusseldorp, Roy Billing, Shane Jacobson, Damien Richardson, Colin Friels, Heather Mitchell, Judi Farr, Terry Norris, Ronald Falk, John Flaus, Steve Bisley, Anthony Hayes, Nicholas Bell -and an acting role by Colin Hay.

The late German actor Vadim Glowna also appears in his final TV role.

“It’s a great opportunity to work with all these fantastic actors and to work alongside Guy. I haven’t worked with him before so that’s nice. But there’s a lot of other collaborative efforts that come into it, the writers and producers. It’s nice to have some work at the back end of the year,” says Pedersen.

“And it’s great to be working with (director) Jeffrey Walker again, he’s an incredible young talent. An old man in a young man’s body!

“He’s been given an amazing opportunity to skipper this ship, which has an amazing cast in it. He works in a very unique way.”

Bad Debts, the first telemovie, is produced by the team behind Rake including writer Andrew Knight, producer Ian Collie from Essential Media. Matt Cameron (Crashburn, Seachange) pens the second telemovie, Black Tide which airs a week later.

Pedersen is also one of the country’s highest-profile indigenous actors. His body of work includes Wildside, The Circuit, MDA, Heartland, East West 101 and even a hosting role on Gladiators.

Aware of the need for representation in the media, he has previously spoken of the need for affirmative action policies to ensure Aboriginal actors appear routinely on TV. At the time of our chat last year the industry was trying to block a plans by the government to increase levels of foreign talent.

If it was a move that worried Pedersen, he wasn’t showing it.

“I worry about this country in other ways. I worry about the state of Australia, but the industry is the industry,” he says pragmatically.

“But the industry will sort itself out. It goes through its phases.”

At least there have been affirmative moves by the ABC, with both Mabo and Redfern Now, including Aboriginal actors, writers, directors and producers for the latter.

“It’s based on The Street which I find to be an extraordinary show,” he acknowledges.

“I hope it’s as strong, if not better.”

Jack Irish: Bad Debts airs 8:30pm Sunday on ABC1.

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