Bill Hunter bio in the works

15 July, 2015 by Don Groves

Actor-director-writer David Field plans to pen a biography of his great mate Bill Hunter.

Field revealed his plans on Facebook, prompting numerous offers of help from colleagues and friends of the much-loved actor who died in 2011, aged 71.


Close buddies for more than 25 years, Hunter and Field often discussed co-writing a book but never got around to it.

“We were having too much fun,” Field tells IF. He may use the title suggested by Hunter, which trades on one of the actor's favourite expressions, “Stand Where and Say What?”

Field first met Hunter, whose credits include Newsfront, Gallipoli, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel's Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, Road to Nhill, Crackerjack, The Pacific and The Cup, at the Belvoir Theatre.

They worked together twice, in Laurie McInnes’ 1993 black-and-white drama Broken Highway and in Alkinos Tsilimidos’s 2004 film Tom White, which starred Colin Friels as an architect whose life unravels after a nervous breakdown.

“He was the dearest friend I ever had,” Field says. “He was a bit like a second father to me. It’s a life we must celebrate.”

Field is appealing for stories from those who knew him well, were colleagues, had a passing experience or can provide other insights or tales.

“The flavour or outcome of the story is irrelevant to my purposes because Hunter was both good and bad. He was above all a larger than life character, iconic and knockabout," he says.

“The book will include many facts about his childhood and his journey toward the business that eventually gave his passion immense pleasure. But it is the stories from actors, directors, producers, grips, gaffers, runners, DOPs, caterers, agents etc, and those that just happen to be dear friends, that I would like to hear from.”

Among those who immediately offered their help or input are Kriv Stenders, who directed him in Red Dog, actors Alex Dimitriades and Gary Waddell and his long-time agent Mark Morrissey.

Meanwhile Field has completed three movies, in each playing very different characters. In writer-director Tony Prescott’s debut feature The Pretend One he plays a cotton farmer in Queensland whose daughter (Geraldine Hakewill) grew up with an imaginary friend (Michael Whalley), whom she invented after a traumatic event.

In Abe Forsythe’s Down Under, a black comedy set during the aftermath of the Cronulla riots, he portrays a gay methamphetamine dealer.

In writer-director Kosta Nikas’ debut feature Sacred Heart he plays a priest who deals with a man who denounces God and his faith after the death of his pregnant wife.

Also Field is co-writing with Geoff Morrell a TV series entitled Leech, based on the true story of a Sydney cop who was transferred to the Illawarra where he was assigned graffiti duty. A murder led to horrific discoveries.

The pair has written a bible and the first episode and Field says the project is attracting the interest of several production companies. Journalist Brett Martin, who broke the story, is a consultant.