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A real life kidnap attempt on Christopher Skase inspired this action comedy, in which Lachy Hulme plays the man who engineered the failed kidnap, but is still proud of it.

The long curly blond-brown hair is gone, so is the green-snake-skin-on-the-shoulder wardrobe; Lachy Hulme is wearing designer black – a suit and open neck shirt - the hair dark and cropped short in tufts. Lachy has replaced the lair, but the hair is strictly for The Matrix, his next role after playing Peter Dellasandro in Let’s Get Skase.

His onscreen portrait of Dellasandro is "as accurate as I could make it, from his walk to his talk to his wardrobe" says Hulme, who spent six months with the real Dellasandro.

"unassuming and relaxed"

We’re in a Sydney city hotel, talking about the film that tells the story of Dellasandro’s audacious kidnap attempt on Christopher Skase in 1995. Hulme is unassuming and relaxed, looking forward to a six month shoot on the two Matrix sequels. It’s a huge leap, from the adrenaline high of a low budget Australian production to the gargantuan shoot for Hollywood, where some days he has nothing to do.

"Things move at an incredibly slow pace on a big studio shoot when the cameras are not rolling," he says. But he isn’t complaining. "I really wanted it… I really fought for this role, even though it’s only a small part (the role of Sparks). But it doesn’t have the same emotional intensity as the Skase film."

"The Skase film" is an action comedy co-written by Hulme with director Matthew George, retelling the story that Perth entrepreneur Peter Alessandro told them about how he tried to kidnap Skase from Majorca to bring him back to Australia to face the courts.

"then we embellished it"

The film was already in post production when Skase died in mid 2001. "His death doesn’t affect us with the film," says Hulme. "It’s not about Skase but about Peter Dellasandro. But having your villain drop off while you’re making the film probably raises awareness . . ."

Hulme and George had never co-written anything before, so when they started, they sat in separate rooms, occasionally meeting for a coffee. But they soon discovered that it didn’t work like that. "It only worked if we sat in the same room and hammered out every line together. At times it was tough – we’re both opinionated, and we were locked in a hot, stinky apartment. But we also had lots of times when we’d be rolling around on the floor laughing as we tested and discarded ideas."

He says the screenplay took as its starting point "the story Peter told us, but then we embellished it, adding inventions of our own."

They completed 16 drafts of the script, and Hulme would have been happy to keep going to 40. He admires his partner: "Matthew’s got a gift for narrative, so I’ve learnt a lot about movie making." He says his only concern was to avoid boring the audience. "But Matt had enough psychotic actors to help him get the job done!"

"Now it’s over to the Skase fan club . . ."

Test screenings returned 80 and 90 percent approval ratings, and Dellasandro himself, while divorcing himself from the movie, enjoyed it thoroughly. Now it’s over to the Skase fan club . . .

Published October 18, 2001

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Lachy Hulme as Peter Dellasandro

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Lachy Hulme started acting at age 7 and spent the past 10 years on the stage. He starred in Matthew George’s short film, Four Jacks, a dark thriller in which Lachy’s role won him the Best Actor Award in the 2001 Melbourne Underground Film Festival. His first crack at a screenplay was the Canadian made Men With Guns (1997), directed by Kari Skogland and starring Donal Logue and Paul Sorvino.

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