Argue goes loco in sci-fi spoof
David Argue has rediscovered his passion for acting after playing an Australian astronaut in Astro Loco, the debut feature from writer-director Aaron McLoughlin.
The actor who made his name in the 1980s classics Gallipoli, BMX Bandits and Razorback, shot the sci-fi comedy at RMIT University’s studios in Melbourne after taking a self-imposed break .
Explaining the hiatus, he tells IF, “On a couple of projects I felt I was not treated the right way, or the film was shafted.”
Astro Loco follows four misfit astronauts who discover during their mission they have been given one-way tickets and they’re not going home.
“When Aaron sent me the treatment I thought, ‘That’s right out there,’ a bit like Red Dwarf,” Argue says. “My character Lucien is quite angry, he’s not the full astronaut.”
The actor thoroughly enjoyed the shoot, observing, “It was an awakening, my reconnection with the film business.”
McLoughlin is a lecturer in animation and interactive media at RMIT’s school of media and communication. RMIT animation and visual effects students are working on the film in post as an integrated work project.
“I’m a huge fan of David’s,“ McLoughlin says. “I thought it would be good to cast someone who was part of an era of Australian cinema that people fondly remember. I wrote the dialogue for him and he tweaked it in his own way.”
Producer Craig Kocinski says, “David is an amazing actor. I’d never worked with anyone remotely like him. He is totally immersed in making the character authentic.”
The producers are not aiming for a theatrical release in Australia but they have a letter-of-intent from Australia’s Syfy Channel and hope it will be picked up by other Syfy channels internationally; they also intend to release the film on digital platforms.
Argue is the only Aussie astronaut: the others are American, Russian and Chinese, in a deliberate attempt to enhance the international appeal.
He studied at NIDA for two years but deferred his last year to work on the Ten network drama The Restless Years.
He was doing stand-up comedy when he applied for a role in Gallipoli. He won the part of the young digger Snowy after an improvised audition for director Peter Weir.
The shoot was “real Hollywood,” he recalls. “The scenes of landing on the beach were mind blowing."
He played the villain in Brian Trenchard-Smith’s BMX Bandits opposite the teenaged Nicole Kidman, and a kangaroo shooter in Russell Mulcahy’s Razorback.
In Haydn Keenan’s Going Down he had the dual roles of Trixie, a drag queen who OD's, and Greg, a hapless and star-crossed lover who spends the entire film on roller skates.
Among his other credits are Bill Bennett’s Backlash, Stephen Wallace's Blood Oath, Michael Rymer’s Angel Baby and Keenan’s Pandemonium.