Dan Wyllie reflects on ‘Romper Stomper’ then and now
Dan Wyllie as Vic in Stan Original series ‘Romper Stomper’. (Photo credit: Ben King).
Dan Wyllie played a dim-witted, racist skinhead nicknamed Cackles together with Russell Crowe as Hando in Geoffrey Wright’s breakthrough 1992 film Romper Stomper.
Some 25 years later in the Romper Stomper series commissioned by Stan, the character now known as Vic runs a white-goods store.
“The fire still burns bright in Vic and he holds dear that period with Hando,” the actor tells IF. “It’s interesting how politically relevant the series is today. Back then racism was directed at Greeks and Italians and Asians and now it’s anti-Muslims or the hordes from Indonesia.”
Wyllie is one of three original cast members who figure in the six-part crime thriller directed by Wright, Daina Reid and James Napier Robertson and produced by Roadshow Rough Diamond’s John Edwards and Dan Edwards.
The others are Jacqueline McKenzie, who returns as Gabe, Hando’s former lover who is estranged from her son Kane (Toby Wallace), and John Brumpton as Magoo.
Vic butts heads with Gabe and with David Wenham as Jago, a right-wing shock jock.
Scripted by Wright, Robertson, Omar Musa and Malcolm Knox, the plot follows Kane, who infiltrates a far-right group named Patriot Blue led by Blake (Lachy Hulme), which clashes with a group of anti-Fascists.
The cast includes Sophie Lowe as Blake’s wife, Lily Sullivan as the leader of the anti-Fascists and Nicole Chamoun.
Wyllie had a ball shooting Wright’s 1992 film, just his second following Mark Joffe’s dramedy Spotswood aka The Efficiency Expert, which also featured Crowe together with Anthony Hopkins.
“Geoffrey created the mechanics of this unwieldy beast of a ride,” he said. “It was so left field it really came out of nowhere, such an electric film.”
The versatile actor re-teamed again with Crowe in The Water Diviner and appeared in Jasper Jones, Tim Winton’s The Turning, Charlie’s Country, Bait, Sanctum and Animal Kingdom.
His numerous TV credits include Offspring, Blue Murder: Killer Cop, Secret City, The Beautiful Lie, No Activity and Gallipoli.
While he’s done few comedies, he says, “I love comedy but I’d rather do drama with a certain lightness of touch. Sketch comedy does not interest me at all. I have always wanted to do a bit of everything. I played a few hoodlums in my youth. Now I can move into playing fathers, maybe uncles, and later judges and grandfathers.”
Like his colleagues Wyllie is passionate about the Make it Australian campaign observing: “With new media springing up I really hope a push can be made to preserve content so it’s not just reality TV and soaps. We have to strive to be unique and not pander to creating quasi-American crap here.”
A Stan Original series, Romper Stomper will premiere on the streaming platform this summer.