Peter Rowsthorn, of Kath and Kim fame, is in Dookie starring in a short-film about the town's railway line.By Alexandra Bolkas
Comedian Peter Rowsthorn earned unexpected fame playing Brett Craig in Kath and Kim.
Rowsthorn said the fame was unexpected because the show almost did not get to air.
He said the ABC kept rejecting Gina Riley and Jane Turner’s scripts.
‘‘It was unpredictable; the girls tried to get it on for a long time, but ABC would never run it because they said it wasn’t funny enough, so they kept on rewriting it,’’ he said.
Rowsthorn said after the knock-backs, the pair decided to approach the show as a drama.
‘‘(ABC’s) drama department said they would do it because of the narrative, but because (Gina Riley and Jane Turner) had been beaten around so much, they didn’t have confidence,’’ he said.
‘‘We knew it was going to be funny, but we acted it more than playing it for its humour and it just went bananas.’’
Rowsthorn is in town to shoot Welcome to Dookie, a Rough Diamond Pictures film about a father and son who decide to film a promotional video about their town in the hope of reviving its railway.
He said he and his agent had not heard of Dookie when forwarded the script from film director Justin Evans.
Rowsthorn said he was drawn to the simplicity and neatness of the short-film’s premise.
‘‘Often if you’re doing short films it’s the best idea if it’s got great clarity and it’s simple,’’ Rowsthorn said.
‘‘And the idea of selling a small little town like Dookie is a nice principle.’’
The Hawthorn fan, who lives in Perth, said he jumped at the chance to film in Victoria during AFL grand final week as he had no doubt his side would be in the premiership decider.
Rowsthorn said his experience on Tropfest short film 2011 finalist The Applicant, with actor Nicholas Bell, led him to take a punt on Welcome to Dookie.
‘‘(The Applicant) was really good fun, we had a fan on the camera because it was overheating, and a couple of young guys just trying to get things done and it ended up being really good,’’ he said.
‘‘I thought ‘Yeah, I’ll do another one of those’.
‘‘You never know what comes of any little project that you do; when we did Kath and Kim we never expected it to be super popular.’’
The former drama teacher said he got into comedy after busking with friends in college.
‘‘We took that act to a comedy club and got booked; before I knew it I was making more money than a teacher can make,’’ he said.
He said the 1980s was a fertile period for Australian comedy with shows such as The D-Generation and Fast Forward.
‘‘In 1983, there were lots of young comedians, like Glenn Robbins, working together and we’d all do sketch shows,’’ Rowsthorn said.
‘‘We didn’t know it then, but it was a really fertile time to be doing comedy and we all pushed each other along and spilled into TV at the end of the ’80s.
‘‘We became known as the Melbourne Comedy Mafia.’’
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