Luke Arnold a new sensation

2014-02-03_2258Luke Arnold had always been told he looked like Michael Hutchence.

So when he heard there was an INXS miniseries on the cards, he started sending videos of himself to producers to convince him he was perfect for the role.

At the time he was filming Black Sails in South Africa for the Starz network, but distance was never going to stop him from being seen.

“I’d had my ear to the ground about this role for a long time. People occasionally brought up the likeness between me and Michael, over the last ten years. Pretty much whenever my hair was long and curly,” he told TV Tonight.

“I started sending in tapes before they were even in casting. I was in Cape Town and I sent in some tapes and they asked for more. Eventually we had some scenes and then it got to the point where they wanted me dancing as Michael.

“After a day of shooting in Cape Town I’d set up my camera in the hotel room and mime and dance around.

“So it would have been quite embarrassing if I hadn’t got the role and those tapes are out there!”

Arnold, 29, had just 2 weeks in between the two projects to prepare for the role. Thankfully, he found no shortage of research material.

“I finished Black Sails in Cape Town and had about 2 weeks in Melbourne to wake up every day, spend the morning watching Michael Hutchence clips, dancing around the house,” he says.

“Luckily there’s a lot of stuff out there. There are so many books people have written and interviews, concerts, and videos. We’re overloaded with reference material which is a blessing.

“Movement is the key for me. Everyday it’s through his walk or how he holds a microphone, or walks down the street. By doing that it drops me into the place where I kind of feel like I am in his skin for the day.

“You always felt with Michael that there was no-one else in the room when he talked to you. But the big difference between me and Michael is he always seemed like a guy who had all the time in the world. I sort of bounce between things and rush.

“He was a guy who when he talked to someone he was there 100%. He lived every moment with every person –it was a really beautiful quality. And it came through in his stage presence as well as his likeability, as a guy.”

Born in 1984, Arnold admits he was too young to remember specifics about the band during the height of their career.

“I grew up in an Aussie rock household so it was all Chisel, Oils, INXS, ever since I was little,” he recalls.

“But when I got into them I guess they already had their Greatest Hits out. That said, there were times when I was at Drama school with me and my mate driving around in Perth with New Sensation cranking out of the car.”

Prior to his role on INXS: Never Tear Us Apart and Black Sails, Arnold has appeared on Winners and Losers and guest roles in City Homicide, McCloud’s Daughters, and 4 films that “didn’t all get wide releases .” 2014 looks set to change all that with the profile role of the intense, but tortured, singer.

“For me getting the role is the reward. This is the role you wait a lifetime to play. So it may bring good things but it’s a reward in itself,” he explains.

Joining him as the band members of INXS are Ido Drent as Jon Farriss, Nick Masters as Tim Farriss, Andy Ryan as Andrew Farriss, Hugh Sheridan as Garry Gary Beers, Alex Williams as Kirk Pengilly, and Damon Herriman as manager CM Murphy.

“It was important from the start that we look like a bunch of guys who have grown up together and get on well. That happened pretty quickly. As soon as we got together and hung out we realised that part of the process wasn’t going to be too hard,” says Arnold.

“It’s definitely all about the band but because of who he was and the way he stood out in a certain way with a tragedy around his life, there’s a lot of pressure them.

“The biggest challenge is how much time we’re covering. It’s two decades within the space of 4 hours, across 7 weeks of shooting. Some days are like 7 different time periods within 1 day. So the toughest thing is trying to keep that sense of journey.

“(Michael Hutchence) changes emotionally, physically, sexually through each of these stages, and you try to be accurate to each time in his life.”

The 2 part miniseries also has the blessing of the band, with the Shine Australia production having access to the band’s library, with band members also visiting during filming.

“We had Tim and Jon Farriss down as well as Kirk (Pengilly) and Andrew Farriss as well. It’s obviously a really strange experience for everyone. Not many people in their life have an actor come to them and start asking them about things that they experience,” he concedes.

“It’s been so great having them there and giving their insight into how things work, moments in the script, and like all of us there are so many different sides to our personalities.

“It’s great hearing first hand descriptions of Michael and piecing together who he was when the camera wasn’t rolling.

“They’ve been really lovely.”

INXS: Never Tear Us Apart airs 8:35pm Sunday on Seven.

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