More tears for Matt Le Nevez

2014-04-15_2330For someone whose impact on Australian television last year all but stopped the nation, I’m a little surprised to hear Matt Le Nevez talk himself down.

“It seems to be my story, always the bridesmaid but never the bride,” he says.

While Offspring fans took months to recover from the death of Patrick, surely its impact wasn’t lost on him? No.

“It was fantastic. I couldn’t believe it. It was nice to experience something like that.”

Rather, his mood is the result of the waiting game he finds himself in as an LA-based actor. Le Nevez is still waiting for a profile US role, with Hollywood yet to fall for the charms that kept thousands of Offspring fans spell-bound.

“I’m in the middle of negotiating a couple of things back in Australia and potentially coming back, so we’ll wait and see,” he says.

Thankfully viewers won’t have to wait too long with Le Nevez starring as  wartime cinematographer Damien Parer in ABC’s telemovie Parer’s War, based on his biography by author Neil McDonald.

It’s a project close to his heart, given his grandfather fought in New Guinea. Le Nevez speaks with much respect about the need to tell the story.

“Once I signed on to do it I started doing research and it’s an amazing story. He was the first Australian to win an Academy Award and one of the first to ever shoot this kind of footage. It was so shocking to most people because he was on the front line. Nobody had ever really seen that. Australians hadn’t seen war so close, yet it had been going on a long time that there was a bit of an apathy towards it,” he says.

“He was impassioned to try and tell the real story of the soldiers –our grandparents and great uncles, who sacrificed their lives for us. It’s a beautiful film about an amazing man. I was very lucky to be involved with it.”

The telemovie is set against the romance of Parer’s marriage to his wife Marie (Adelaide Clemens).

“Adelaide is fantastic in it, and I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s not like television, it’s more like a film,” he says.

“Not necessarily because I’m in it, but because Damien’s story needs to be told.

“As times move on stories get so lost so we’re very fortunate the ABC decided to make this because he’s someone everyone should know about.

“The war had been going for so long in North Africa and Australia had been on hard rations, so there was a bit of an apathy towards it. It wasn’t necessarily on our shores. But suddenly the Japanese bombed Darwin and the war was marauding down towards us. Damien had shot stuff in North Africa but with the advent of a much more versatile camera suddenly he could trek up these mountains and shoot these men rather than re-enact them like they used to.

“They had desert fatigues, they didn’t have the right rations and the soldiers weren’t necessarily supported on the ground like they should have been by HQ back in Brisbane.”

The romantic aspect to the story is not without it’s emotional drama, something Le Nevez is used to portraying on screen. Better get the tissues ready again.

“It’s heartbreaking by the end of the movie, to be honest. I challenge anyone to have a dry eye.”

Parer’s War also features Rob Carlton, Alexander England, Luke Ford and Max Dupain. It is produced by Andrew Wiseman of Pericles Films, written by Alison Niselle and Directed by Alister Grierson. Filming took place across 5 weeks on the Gold Coast and Ipswich with key locations at Mt Tamborine.

“It was quite demanding, but I think the exhaustion actually helped the performances. I kind of got a little bit of a taste of how it is for someone like Asher who is in just about every scene on Offspring. I swan in and swan out but in this I was in every scene,” he explains.

Le Nevez, who is nominated for a Silver Logie for Offspring, says the project has also been given the blessing by Parer’s son, which meant the world to him as an actor.

“It’s those sort of men and the films like Damien made that he made that helped my generation to be able to afford the luxuries that we have,” he insists.

“It’s a story about real men and real love in times of war. It brings out the best, and sometimes the worst, in people.

“What we see in this film is the power of love and how passionate he really was.”

Parer’s War airs 8:30pm Sunday April 27 on ABC1.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.