Matt Le Nevez: Kettering is worth the wait
With its haunting backdrops and moody scripts, Foxtel's new drama is for the sophisticated viewer, says Matt Le Nevez.
Back in 2014 he filmed The Kettering Incident for 18 weeks in Tasmania. When it finally hits our screens on Foxtel next Monday, he assures it will be worth the wait.
“It was a long time coming for us to show this to the world, but you also want a series to come out at the right time,” he says.
“After we screened at MONA, Brian Walsh at Foxtel wanted it to have the best opportunity to find a timeslot. It’s a winter show. It’s very cold, there’s a lot of it at night, it’s a gothic, mystery thriller, so you don’t want to be screening it in summer.”
Waiting also meant the show could screen at Series Mania Festival in France, where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize, headed up by The Sopranos David Chase. Not a bad accolade to have when you’re launching a new series.
Described as “a gripping mystery with otherworldly overtones” it features Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager) who returns to the town of Kettering where her best friend disappeared mysteriously at the age of 14. Theories abound from something sinister to alien abductions. But the community is being torn apart by clashes between environmentalists and loggers and her return after 15 years causes a stir.
“It’s an amazing series It’s a character-based drama at the beginning with a lot of people trying to find their identity and the town trying to find its identity, rekindling it with the logging industry. But then there’s the catalyst of Elizabeth Debicki’s role thrown into the mix, and she shakes the town up,” Le Nevez explains.
Tasmanian writer Victoria Madden (Lynda La Plante’s Trial and Retribution, The Bill, Halifax FP) is co-creator with Vincent Sheehan (Animal Kingdom, The Hunter, The Rover). According to Le Nevez, the end result sets itself apart from other local productions.
“It’s certainly a show that is trying to take its inspiration from some of the Scandi-noir shows out of Denmark and some of the more high-concept stuff that comes out of the United States,” he continues.
“The storytelling and performances are very honest, so I think it has an opportunity to reach a broad audience. But it’s certainly going after a sophisticated television market. A viewer who has watched HBO shows, The Killing or The Bridge. More often than not, I think television can try and be too broad, too vast an audience share and demographic.
“If you can make really high-quality television with a specific audience in mind, then the quality might be so good that it attracts more people in. If you start watering it down to get as vast a demographic as you can, then sometimes it doesn’t work. You end up dumbing the show down too much.”
“Tassie is certainly the star of the show”
Director of Photography Ari Wegner captures the extraordinary landscape of Tasmania. Filming took place across the state including Hobart, The Candlestick, Huon Valley, Collinsvale, New Norfolk, Derwent River and Mount Field.
“Tassie is certainly the star of the show in some respects.
“It’s stunning and it doesn’t cease to inspire when you see it on the screen. It’s gothic, epic and daunting,” he remarks.
“It’s quite fascinating to see these characters in this backdrop because even though there is an element of isolation in a lot of Tasmanian storytelling, with these people in a forest environment there is something slightly oppressive about it because you’re alone.
“What’s fascinating about that state is how beautiful it is, but how intimidating it can be.”
“This is going after a mature audience, a sophisticated style of viewer.”
LeNevez plays Detective Brian Dutch, who grew up in a well-known Tasmanian cop family.
“My character is a homicide detective who used to work in the Drug Squad in Sydney. Now he’s back in Hobart,” he explains.
“In many ways he is soulless, and a wolf in a police uniform. His morals are very ambiguous and I don’t think he really believes in ethics.
“When I read the scripts they were challenging and shocking. Really dramatic and you just didn’t know where it was going. I think watching it for the first time, people will have the same experience. It will certainly challenge some with its concepts, but there is more than enough there for everybody.
“Australian audiences are probably sick of being spoon-fed some drama. This is going after a mature audience, a sophisticated style of viewer. Someone who doesn’t always want to know when the next plot twist is coming.”
Le Nevez, who is currently appearing in Love Child for Nine, will soon appear in TEN’s miniseries Brock, and awaiting his next role.
“I don’t know the release date of Brock. It’s probably around Bathurst. But that was also really exciting to shoot late last year. It has a lot of energy surrounding it, and a lot of goodwill from the many people Peter had met. So it’s an exciting time on screen and off screen,” he adds.
“Hopefully there will be some interesting jobs in the second half of the year!”
The Kettering Incident premieres with a double episode 8:30pm Monday on Showcase.