Hay readies projects on Dugan, Eyre

28 April, 2014 by Don Groves

Young soccer fan in How Much is Enough


Producer-writer-director Rod Hay is developing projects based on one of Australia’s most notorious criminals and a controversial English explorer and colonial governor.

He is adapting his 1992 book Catch Me if You Can: The Life and Times of Darcy Dugan, whose three escapes from jail earned him the nickname of the Houdini of the prison system.

“Dugan is geared initially for a TV series but also with a feature in mind as and when the financial climate will buy into it; discussions are ongoing,” Hay tells IF.

The filmmaker is collaborating with veteran writer Tony Morphett on a TV series about Edward John Eyre (August 5 1815 – November 30 1901), after whom South Australia's Lake Eyre, Eyre Peninsula, Eyre Creek and Eyre Highway from South Australia to Western Australia are named.

As Governor of Jamaica, Eyre ruthlessly suppressed the Morant Bay Rebellion and had many black peasants killed and hundreds flogged. “It was Tony’s original idea, we like each other’s work and decided to get together to expand it further, “ he said.

Hay’s latest work, How Much is Enough, a four-part series which traces the global history of soccer, is airing on ESPN in Australia and globally in the lead-up to the World Cup.

He produced, directed and wrote the series, a massive undertaking which took the best part of 8 months to shoot. “I’ve made many football series and dramas but I’m a football addict and like making docos with a difference,” said Hay.

“The usual 90% on-field action is not my interest; it’s the drama off field with the occasional magic from a Messi or Ronaldo that is the eye-catcher.

“I’ve won many awards and been on a variety of panels. I was president of the Sportel jury in Monaco in 2006 and won the best football film of all time at the FICTS Football Festival in Milan in 2008.”

In Australia Umbrella is releasing the DVD of How Much is Enough in June. The first episode traces the emergence of professional football in the 1880s when football clubs were run by a highly conservative management which controlled their players like personal possessions.

Episode 2 looks at the history of the game in Britain from its amateur origins through to the rise of professionalism, the lifting of the maximum wage and the freedom of movement.

Episode 3 chronicles the game’s rise and demise, the emergence of Africa and the subsequent corruption within the game.

The final episode focuses on the contrast between the finesse and corruption of the Latin American game and features the US and Australasia as the sport becomes a truly global affair.

“With more money and kudos available than ever before, it has become the sport of kings and sponsors, and an industry of controversial entrepreneurs, where heroes can emerge from anywhere, irrespective of their colour, creed or denomination,” he said. “It carries such significance today that a single result has the power to inspire peace or even provoke a war.

“But is it an industry or still a sport, or a hybrid of both? And how complex is the relationship between management and player? Either way, it’s the biggest and most supported game in the world, where immediate success is expected by everyone.”